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Nebraska Attorney General compares poor people to raccoons

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Do you know who Jon Bruning is? If you said the Tea Party-backed Nebraska Attorney General running to unseat Democratic Senator Ben Nelson next year, congratulations. You win all the riches of the internet. Well, Bruning's got a long, hard, road ahead of him if he keeps comparing people on welfare to raccoons.

Bruning's gaffe came during a speech about a local construction project that was stopped so as not to harm an endangered species of beetle. Sounds like an odd choice for a political allegory, but okay.

"So the biologist has to go out there, and he sets these traps. They put a rat carcass in the bottom, and the beetles crawl up and they fall into the bottom of it. And they put all these buckets up and down the side of the road and they capture all the Burying Beetles. The biologist goes out in the morning, grabs the beetles, and they take them two miles down and they gently let the beetles out. So that the beetles will survive."

Brief pause commemorating the first use of the phrase "rat carcass" in a political speech. Okay, moving on. Bruning's now citing a previously unforeseen problem that "the biologist or EPA or whoever it is," hadn't thought of.

"The raccoons figure out the beetles are in the bucket. And it's like grapes in a jar. The raccoons, they're not stupid, they're going to do the easy way if we make it easy for them — just like welfare recipients all across America. If we don't send them to work, they're going to take the easy way out."

Look, it's not that Bruning's point isn't a common, conventional wisdom-type argument against welfare, because it is, but that's a debate for another time.

It's just that, well, raccoons have a long-entrenched cultural history as thieves, and "coon" is a racial slur for… you know what? Never mind.