February 24, 2009

Post Non SOTU speech reaction

I have to chuckle at our stupid troll. I have been called a lot of things over the last few years at this blog, but being called a Republican is not one of them. You have to give him credit for that. He may not be able to read, or construct a coherent sentence or paragraph, but he can produce wingnuttery of impressive proportion.

Ok, I watched this speech, and I must say that I was very impressed. Yeah, there were a few silly things in there (the mentioning of "clean coal") but I was stunned at Obama's political ability to frame issues. Rachel Maddow called it "post partisan" and I think, for the most part, that she is right on.

On the other hand, am I the only one who thought that Jindall's speaking style was patronizing and overly simplistic? "Americans can do anything?" Seriously? Not only that, but invoking, as an example of government corruption, the response to Katrina? And then saying that tax cuts are still the answer? Perhaps then Governor Jindall should turn down all the stimulus money coming his way.

Yeah, I doubt that.

And finally, this as my most recent challenge. Obama mentioned several ways that government has actually invested in something bigger than ourselves, and how that investment has paid off in such huge ways. GI Bill. Interstate Highway. Going to the moon. Any idea, off the top of our heads, how many millions in jobs or homes or new technologies that have come from those investments?

Where are the Republican investments? Since Reagan, we have not seen a willingness to invest in anything save the military (which has, to be fair, also produced new (and peaceful) technologies) and instead have spent the last 25 years blaming government. If the Republicans in leadership today, were in charge during all of those previous investments, where would we be today? Would we have interstates? Anything?

18 comments:

steves said...

Obama, as can be expected, gave a great speech, but I thought it was a little short on specifics. I suppose this can be expected, as he is trying to continue to build support for the Stimulus. I am glad he mentioned helath care, which was a major campaign issue, but relatively ignored up until now. All in all, a good speech.

I do have some concerns about Biden being "in charge". I have never hid the fact that I don't like him, so I posted something on my group blog and asked my lefty friends to alleviate my fears. For the most part, they did. Ulitimately, Obama is still going to be the one pushing and promoting the Stimulus. They also pointed out the political realities and that Biden was the only real choice.

Jindal was terrible. I have some firends in Lousiana and from what I hear, he has done a good job managing the state. I have read some other impressive things about him. That being said, he looked and sounded terrible. If he doesn't seriously improve, there is no way he can be a serious contender. There are other issues, but I will leave them out for now.

Perhaps then Governor Jindall should turn down all the stimulus money coming his way.

He has indicated that he will turn down some of it because he says the requirements going along with the money will actually be more costly to his state in the long run. I don't know enough of the details to offer any decent analysis.

Where are the Republican investments? Since Reagan, we have not seen a willingness to invest in anything save the military

This is a bit of a stretch, don't you think. Republicans have been willing to invest in infrastructure since Reagan.

Streak said...

Steve, from what I heard, Jindal and others are turning down a very small percentage of the money--something that some Democrats are not sure they even can do. Whatever they are doing, it looks all the world like grandstanding to me.

As for Republicans and investment, that is what I am asking. All I have heard from Republicans over the last 25 years is that government is the problem and taxes are evil. I am sure they have funded some highway bills along the way, but can you point me to any new investment in anything big that could benefit the entire country? Any moon project or GI bill or something? (I get the feeling that Republicans think American's middle class just magically happened, rather than benefitting from subsidized higher education, subsidized home ownership, strong union wages, etc.--all things Republicans oppose now, don't they?)

I just keep coming back to the idea that cutting taxes and hating government is not an economic policy. It isn't a governing principle either. And I am wondering where Republicans are on this?

LB said...

Regarding Republican investments, I recall Bush several times pushing for a return to the Moon and even getting to Mars by 2020. Of course the investment in this project is no where near the emotional or financial scale of the 1960s space.

But to put it in perspective, if we are honest with ourselves, the space race wasn't really about space, but it was about Communism. The whole goal was to catch up to and surpass Russia and beat them to the moon. It wasn't a specifically targeted economic investment.

Streak said...

LB, fair enough. I have to say (and my bias against Bush is clear and established) that I saw nothing genuine in those calls. Your point on the purpose of the moon shot is a good one. My point is that there are some things that are worth investing in for the broader good. I get the feeling if the GOP of today were in charge, we would have no national parks, no national forests, no interstate highway system, no assistance for, well, anyone.

I keep saying this, but it is still true, just repeating the mantra of low taxes and that government is the problem is not a way to govern.

Monk-in-Training said...

My take on the Bush call to go to Mars, is that he DID make the call and then didn't do much on the follow through.

The other items you mention, Streak are accomplished facts, called for and follow through completed.

Even WWII which was ran by Democrats was more successful than the Iraq destraction could ever have been.

I was once one of the proud Regan Republicans, but what have we actually done? Sure lower taxes, and less regulation, but the end result was deficits, bad meat in my store, and my 401K looking like pocket change.

... just sayin.. ;)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
steves said...

but can you point me to any new investment in anything big that could benefit the entire country?

You know that I am no fan of Bush, but among other things, he increased funding for the National Science Foundation. The Medicare Drug Act he pushed had a total cost of around 7 trillion and was endorsed by the AARP (which is hardly a lapdog of the Republicans). There are more examples, especially if you want to go back to the Reagan Administration.

While there are Republicans that think gov't is bad, they are few and far between and I don't see them in my state. I also have a hard time with a blanket statement that the Republican Party wouldn't fund any national (non-military) program that would benefit this country.

Even WWII which was ran by Democrats was more successful than the Iraq destraction could ever have been.

Vietnam, which was mostly run by the Democrats was hardly a major success, nor was Somalia or our ignoring the genocide in Rwanda. Neither party can certainly claim all around success in this area.

Streak said...

I think you completely undersell the numbers of Republicans who think government is bad. At least, I might add, among the elected officials in Washington from the Red states. Most of them bash government programs with great glee.

as for Bush and his investments, just check out how popular that medicare bill is with the Palin/Jindal Rpublican base, and I would bet you dollars to donuts that those National Science foundation monies didn't go to climate change or evolution research. The scientists I know spoke of grant money simply drying up over the last 8 years, especially for those in the biological sciences.

Blanket it may be, but I am still looking for some interstate highway act investment, and not seeing it from Reagan/Bush republicans.

steves said...

Most of them bash government programs with great glee.

Some programs deserve to be bashed. I worked in the public sector and saw wasteful, useless programs. Maybe you don't mind pissing away your tax money, but I prefer it be spent on things that are beneficial and effective.

Blanket it may be, but I am still looking for some interstate highway act investment, and not seeing it from Reagan/Bush republicans.

7 trillion for Medicare isn't a significant investment? This is way larger than the funds that go to build highways. FWIW, Bush funded the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) fully every fiscal year he was in office. Since you keep bringing this up, can you point me to some evidence that the Republican Base wants to gut the Interstate Highway System?

Streak said...

Steve, I have acknowledged that there are bad government programs. That is very different from saying, as Reagan did, that "Government is the problem." I hear Republicans (at the national level) often say that government is always worse than the private sphere. Jindal himself bashed government in his response. I don't think I am making this up.

As for Medicare, please go poll the Palin Jindal sector and tell me how many people are happy with that. What is more, while I will concede that Republicans have come up with big amounts at times, the ones you mention are to fund existing programs, and in the case of Medicare, Bush was trying to coopt some of the Democratic base. BTW, I have never said that Republicans would defund federal interstates, but again, tell me of items like this that Republicans would invest in? Where are Republicans on green technology? Or investing in urban living?

I am perfectly willing to say that recent Republicans have been quite good at wasting money and spending, but investing into something that might impact the lives of GIs, or college students, or to invest in something broader than just the immediate future--I don't see much of that from the Republicans. And like I said, while you obviously don't agree, Republicans in Oklahoma, and Washington spend most of their time talking about how government can't do anything well.

After Jindal's bizarre rant, btw, I am thinking of suggesting that we defund hurricane research. If monitoring volcanoes is stupid, then why are people in Michigan paying to watch for hurricanes that won't hit them? Why burden teh taxpayers with useless government programs to watch for hurricanes and volcanoes and tornadoes?

steves said...

Streak, I feel like we are either just going around in circles or have wandered off topic a bit. I also get the feeling that I have offended in some way, or at least irritated you.

If your original point was to say that the modern era Republicans haven't made any major investment of some sort in the nation, I just don't think tha is accurate. I gave some examples and you have countered with asking about funding in specific areas, such as green technology and urban living. I can find some Michigan examples pretty easily, but would have to dig around more for a national example. I don't see the point, as you would likely just ask about another area.

If you point was to say that the Republicans have failed to fund some things that you think are important, I think you are obviously correct. They have refused to fund things that I think are important.

I don't think it is fair to say that government is always the problem, but I also think it is unfair to think it is always the best solution. I prefer a more pragmatic approach and I always think that the public should demand a high level of accountability from these expenditures.

Streak said...

Steve, no, you have not offended, and I am sorry you think so. I appreciate your comments here. If I have expressed annoyance (and it is minor) it is in response to the suggestion that I am saying that government is always the answer. As I have written here and elsewhere, I wish we would adopt the Canadian attitude of "not loving government, but not hating it either." That seems a good middle ground.

As for investment, I think my question is, do you see Republicans (at the national level) creating Medicare (or its equivalent) now. I understand Republicans nationally funding existing programs, but are they creating anything new that will further the public good? I accept, of course, that Republicans in Michigan are a complete different breed than those in Oklahoma, and hope you do too, but also would note that the Republicans in Washington seem to be more like ours than yours.

That make sense?

steves said...

If I have expressed annoyance (and it is minor) it is in response to the suggestion that I am saying that government is always the answer. As I have written here and elsewhere, I wish we would adopt the Canadian attitude of "not loving government, but not hating it either." That seems a good middle ground.

I know that you don't believe that gov't is always the answer. I apologize for implying that was your stance. The middle gound makes sense and most Americans are probably in this spot.

The distinction you make between existing programs and new programs is important. It is much harder to remove an existing programs that people depend upon. I don't know if I can answer your question. I am probably biased towards answering what I would like the Republicans to do. If I tried to remain as objective as possible, I would guess that some Medicare type program would be fine, as would some form of Medicaid. Universal health care...not likely.

Streak said...

And maybe Universal health care is not a good idea, I don't know. I certainly think we should move toward that, for a lot of reasons. For one, I think it frees up the market for job seekers, and allows people to leave marginal jobs or go out on their own without having to worry about their health care. I know that has been a concern for us more than once.

But overall, I just see national Republicans saying stuff like Jindal--mocking volcano monitoring and saying that the government always does things badly and worse than the private sphere. Incredibly hard to pull off when the private sector of our investment community just about single handedly caused our economy to nosedive.

steves said...

I wonder the same thing about Universal Health Care. I htink there can be some significant improvements made. I thought Edwards had some good ideas way back when he was still running. We'll have to see what Obama can come up with.

The more I learn about the economic crisis, the more complicated it becomes. The private sector certainly shoulders a great deal of the blame, but the government is also heavily involved.

Streak said...

I understand. I think government made some huge errors. Chuck Shumer shielded the rating agencies who had some of those derivatives rated at the highest level. And we should have reigned in some issues with Freddie and Fannie (though I still don't think that was the major problem). For me, the problems of government in this crisis were mostly (mostly) in not doing what they were supposed to do, rather than in doing too much.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
steves said...

For me, the problems of government in this crisis were mostly (mostly) in not doing what they were supposed to do, rather than in doing too much.

In my not so expert opinion, I think you are correct. I am hoping there is gneuine oversight this time and not just lip service.