Last fall, Republicans attempted to block a jobs bill proposed by congressional Democrats that would have prevented tens of thousands of teachers across the country from being laid off. Though Democrats were able to overcome Republican objections and pass the legislation, many conservatives were less than enthusiastic about saving teachers’ jobs.
One such voice was former pizza executive and current Republican presidential frontrunner Herman Cain. Cain, a radio host in Atlanta, Georgia for three years, blasted the proposal to save teachers’ jobs during his radio show on Aug. 11, 2010. The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO mocked those who “[d]idn’t want to lay off teeeeachers” and called the move a “$26 billion bailout of teeeeachers.” Cain then went on to deride then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, referring to her as “Princess Nancy”:
CAIN: You heard about the $26 billion bailout of teeeeachers. Didn’t want to lay off teeeeachers. Here’s what I want to share with you in this segment tonight. It’s called, “beneath the $26 billion bailout.” [...]
What I want to do this segment is peel back the onion on the $26 billion bailout that they rushed back to Congress in an emergency session called by “Princess Nancy!” “This is an absolute national congressional emergency!” They rushed back to pass this $26 billion emergency jobs bill. It was a $26 billion spending bill.
Listen to it:
Cain’s dismissal of the teachers’ jobs bill as a “bailout” is absurd for two reasons. First, Cain was among the 2008 bailout’s biggest supporters. Second, ensuring that educators continue to receive a paycheck isn’t a “bailout,” it’s a salary. Wall Street bankers deserve to be rescued, in Cain’s worldview, but attempts to save teachers’ jobs are met with scorn.
Considering the rhetoric Cain has employed regarding the recent Wall Street protests — “if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!” — it’s no surprise that the former pizza executive would mock attempts to save teachers’ jobs.
Later in the segment, Cain went on to further mock the proposal to prevent teacher layoffs. “Now they say that this was supposed to save teachers’ jobs! Duh duh duh da duh da! The federal government to the rescue!” Cain yelled in an impersonation of the Superman theme. “We can’t let kids show up for schools, and not have teachers!” Cain said, facetiously. Watch it:
Despite Cain’s taunts, the bill was instrumental in protecting thousands upon thousands of teachers’ jobs that were threatened because of state and local budget shortfalls.