On Sunday, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz converged on Washington, D.C., to co-headline a protest against the federal government's closure of the World War II Memorial. It is perhaps not surprising that one of the more cynical and patently ridiculous statements made by a politician during the shutdown emerged out of that occasion. (It IS mildly surprising that Sarah Palin didnt say it.) Cruz, the junior senator from Texas asked the crowd "a simple question" that in fact included a very complex layer of sophistry. "Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?”
Let's unpack that:
1) Ted Cruz, prom king of the Tea Party, is a major reason the government is shut down.
2) The memorial is closed because the government is shut down. That's why veterans — and everyone — can't get it.
3) Barricades don't really cost money to erect in this day and age. The Park Police, particularly in D.C., probably have lots of those laying around and stuck them up before the shutdown began, kind of like a "gone fishing" sign for the collapse of democratic process. It's not as if they welded them by hand with the molten tears of people forced to sign up for Obamacare. If the government did "spend money" on them, it's in the past tense. It's not an ongoing activity. Also, it probably cost like ... maybe a hundred bucks, total?
4) The Park Police are, in fact, monitoring the memorial, but it's mostly to keep the protesters (protesting its closure) under control. The Park Police are not being paid for this (even though protesters chanted "You work for us"), because they've been furloughed. Thanks largely to the intractable Ted Cruz.
5) No one is targeting veterans by closing the World War II memorial and only the WWII memorial. There's a whole bunch of other stuff that's not open right now, guys.
6) Are monuments REALLY the most alarming thing that's been threatened by the shutdown? Domestic violence shelters, to name just one thing, may have to shut down soon.
7) See No. 1. Really, just read No. 1 over and over again.
Noreen Malone is a staff writer at the New Republic.