White House press secretary Jen Psaki quipped earlier this week that it was really Republicans who wanted to defund the police. Of course, she tried to hide behind the “some might say that,” but since she’s the one who said it, that wasn’t really going to work.
Surprisingly, that argument hasn’t popped up a whole lot of places. Probably because it’s an idiotic idea to take and none of the people who could push it will even try since they all talked about how we should defund the police.
However, Psaki found herself on the spot having to defend her claim.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday could not name one Republican who said they wanted to defund the police.
Instead, she doubled down on her assertion that Republicans defunded the police by voting against the American Rescue Plan, adding that for decades, they tried to cut funding for the COPS program.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday doubled down on her assertion that Republicans defunded the police by voting against the American Rescue Plan, adding that for decades, they tried to cut the COPS program.
Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy asked Psaki, “You mentioned at the last briefing that you think Republicans wanted to defund the police because they did not support the American Rescue Plan. Which Republican ever said that they did not like the American Rescue Plan because they wanted to defund the police?”
Of course, Psaki couldn’t do it.
Instead, she pushed back with decreased funding for the COPS program and the American Rescue Plan. Now, both of those sent money to local governments for law enforcement, sure, but Psaki is reaching to say this is an effort to defund the police in totality.
However, the opposition to the American Rescue Plan had nothing at all to do with policing and everything to do with all the other crap piled into the bill. Still, it’s a common tactic among some to load a bill with tons of crap, then blame the opposition for opposing the one tiny nugger of decent spending buried within.
But what about the COPS program? Why would that be an issue?
Here’s what the Heritage Foundation wrote about it back in 2008.
Created in the middle of President Bill Clinton’s first term, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program promised to put 100,000 new state and local law enforcement officers on the street by the year 2000. Critics said that COPS would fail to meet this goal. Critics also said that state and local governments would do what they always do when the federal government subsidizes any responsibility of state or local governments— stop paying for it themselves. The critics were right on both counts.
Another fundamental goal of the COPS program was to promote “community policing” throughout the nation. Although COPS certainly did not hinder the spread of community policing, the evidence does not support claims that it substantially advanced it. Instead, the independent actions of police chiefs have been the most important factor in the adoption of community policing, and federal grants were largely unrelated to those decisions.
Simply put, COPS didn’t really work as advertised. About all it did is shift a portion of cities’ law enforcement budget from being funded by the local government to being paid for by the federal government. These local governments could pay for it, but once Uncle Sugar stepped in, they felt they no longer had to.
Then there’s the fact that it just didn’t work as advertised.
But nothing is as permanent as a government program, so Psaki can’t fathom the idea of COPS not continuing to be funded in perpetuity as a significant driver of funding for local law enforcement.
Yet local law enforcement is funded from multiple levels. A reduction in funding from one source doesn’t automatically translate to reduced funding overall. It comes in part from federal programs–not just COPS, but dozens of other programs–but also from state and local sources. Any of those can be stepped up to cover the difference.
Psaki knows that cutting a given program with a history of not producing the results they want is a far cry from “defund the police,” but she knows her party is vulnerable on this topic, especially amid a violent crime surge. She’ll do anything to deflect that criticism from her party. Yeah, including the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” defense, apparently.
Don’t let her get away with it.