Harry Reid: Budget Cuts Mean The End Of Cowboy Poetry, Or Something

In case there was any doubt that the Democratic leadership is not serious when it comes to budget cuts, I give you Harry Reid:

“The mean-spirited bill, H.R. 1, eliminates National Public Broadcasting,” said Reid in a floor speech. “It eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. 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.”

Two questions come to mind.

First, which part of the Constitution authorizes the Federal Government to subsidize poetry, of the cowboy variety or any other kind?

Second, did Harry Reid really say that “tens of thousands of people…would not exist” if there was no cowboy poetry festival.

And, an observation; if the Nevada GOP had picked a decent candidate last year, this numbskill would be back in Searchlight right now.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Ben says:

    First, which part of the Constitution authorizes the Federal Government to subsidize poetry, of the cowboy variety or any other kind?

    The Spending Clause.

  2. wr says:

    Yes, Doug, Harry Reid meant those people wouldn’t exist, not that the tens of thousands of people wouldn’t come to this unpopulated part of his state, so they wouldn’t spend money there and help create jobs.

    I suppose there’s an argument against the NEA and NEH. If you believe that the only purpose of government is to kill people who talk different than us, I guess you wouldn’t understand why the people would choose to fund the arts.

    But if you’re planning to attack politicians whose beliefs you don’t like based on poorly constructed sentences, you are no more serious as a political analysts than the idiots who run around screaming “57 states!”

  3. john personna says:

    Apparently the cowboy poet groupies are a fecund bunch.

  4. Matt B says:


    I hope that this is more than a little tongue-in-cheek.

    In previous articles you’ve critiqued Tea-Partiers for mistaking political promises and posturing for reality, and yet you seem to be falling into the same trap. During budget negotiations, should we take any stump speech seriously?

    Can we know if Reed really feels that way about Cowboy Poetry? Or might he just be stumping there to set a position that he can walk back to NPR/PBS/CPB funding?

    Can’t say I know one way or the other. But the speech above seems pure political theatre to me at least.

  5. epistorese says:

    Wait a second! From what I’ve been reading in the comments, Doug is supposed to be the leftist stooge for the socialist takeover of the nation. He can’t call Harry Reid a “numbskull.” It’s not allowed!

  6. kkatz says:


    I read this article and was astounded, there is a recession record unemployment and funding cowboy poetry!