Harry Reid blasts ‘mean-spirited’ Republicans who want to cut taxpayer-funded poetry festival

Amid calls for cuts to the federal budget, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defended the National Endowment for the Arts during a floor speech Tuesday, calling Republican proposals “mean-spirited” and saying events like government-funded poetry festivals should not be sacrificed to reduce the deficit.

“The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1, eliminates National Public Broadcasting. Now, that is really saying a lot, madam president. It eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said. “The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.”

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, held in Elko, Nevada since 1985, brings in thousands of performers, artists and poets for the week-long festival. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution in 2000 honoring the event.


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  • Jess Thinkin

    I can just hear Harry’s hissy now –“You’re MEAN”. I always thought boy’s grew out of those terms (if they ever used them to begin with) by the time they were five. But then I grew up and found some were still being liberally used by political liberals – as in; “That’s MEAN spirited”. What blows my mind is that adult men actually vote for other “men” who still use that expression in the common lexicon of their public pronouncements.

  • Sproing

    This is a picture perfect example of just how we got into this fiscal mess in the first place. Hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, are spent every year on what are essentially ‘feel good” projects that are funded by millions of taxpayers for the enjoyment of thousands.

    Even back in the day of the monarchies support for the arts was pretty much left up to those wealthy enough to ‘sponsor’ (IE:support) their local starving artist in residence.

    I’ve heard the argument all my life that the arts need our support in order to make us a more civilized people, etc. Well BS to that. I don’t find it the least bit civilizing to support some nitwit who portrays Christ or Mary smeared with excrement, or a film made basically promoting the assassination of a President. There are hundreds of very wealthy people in this country who are capable and willing enough to support true artists who may need a helping hand getting noticed and that’s enough. We don’t need to also saddle the taxpayer to satisfy some socialites dream of an artistic America, at least not when we’re facing a fiscal crisis that we must get under control or leave our children ready to call us the “Selfishiest Generation”.

    We’ve pissed away the fortune our parents and grandparents bequeathed us. Do we also want to piss away our children’s and grandchildren’s??

  • tatersalad

    Here is you typical Barack Obama supporter:


    ………and then we have this:



    This is why the country is in the mess we are in. These are the typical people who support and vote for Democrats. Why do they vote this way. A simple answer of one word: “Entitlements”. The Party of Free!


    Video – Your typical Union member which Barack Obama backs 100% is seen threatening a Tea Party member at a rally:

  • southernandproud

    How did this man get re-elected? Oh, I know… Unions!

  • Dave J

    Are there not enough poetry lovers in America to fund it with private money? Is this another Vanity festival for Harry Reid and friends to attend, laugh at us and have wine on our dime? I suspect it would have to be funded by tax payers! I love poetry enough to buy my own ticket Senator Reid, you should do the same and get your hands off the tax payer piggy bank.

  • MrBigW

    Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.”

    WoW Can someone tell me what happens at this festival that creates tens of thousands of people ??? Sounds like burning man and woodstock combined…..lol…


  • lonecracker

    “Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist.”

    Oh, the tens of thousands of people who go to the poetry festival would still exist but the festival wouldn’t. I think Harry got a little confused.
    And I am of the opinion that if the tens of thousands who go to the festival want it to continue, they should pay for it. The only problem is that if the patrons had to fund it, it would have collapsed the second year that it was presented. And I kinda like that cowboy poetry but I wouldn’t support it in any way, shape or form. If it can stand on its own merits, it will succeed. I suspect most of the folks who attend functions such as this go because it is probably free or a minimum entrance fee, there is a lot of alcohol flowing and it is a good pick-up place.