22 September 2011

#GOPDebate: Bottom line - Perry is Done

Well, I laid out my live thoughts on Twitter, and there is not much I would change.

Michele Bachmann was entirely ignored. She went back to her most successful tack by attacking Obama in her few opportunities, but was forced by the questions to return to the Gardasil issue. While the issue is legitimate, her previous statements have been  - to put it charitably - stupid.

Gary Johnson, in limited chances, put out some very strong opinions, and for those who said they wanted something new in these debates, he brought it. He'll submit a balanced budget year one, and he'll veto any deficit spending. The handyman can!

But to me the big story is that Rick Perry has been incredibly weak in every debate appearance. I think he's done. I'd be shocked if he wins a single primary. Yet somehow, his weakness makes the entire field, which I once defended, seem even weaker than it did before Perry's entry.

And that worries me.

Palin time?

11 September 2011

Some scattered thoughts on 9/11

At the time we all said, "this will change everything." Ten years later, it doesn't seem like it did.

It doesn't seem like a new wave of patriotism was suddenly hammered into us by the magnitude of the attack.  A young man I worked with at the time actually said, when asked if he was thinking about enlisting, "it isn't my fight." And that was in the days just after the attacks; the days of our great national unity. Much has been written rightly praising the brave and patriotic young people who have enlisted in our all-volunteer military since 2001, but the facts are these: with a population 31% larger than it was in 1985, we have 35% fewer people serving on active duty in our military.

Go ahead and praise the actual individuals who take up arms for their country, but be careful when you rhapsodize about a "9/11 generation." Young people today are far less likely to enlist in the military than they were even 25 years ago, and the population as a whole is largely indifferent to the idea of defense spending cuts. There are a lot of reasons for those things. The size of the military is determined by Congress, not by the number willing to serve. As for spending, it may be that many Americans have simply concluded that the War on Terror is over, and we won. Nevertheless, you simply cannot say that Americans as a whole, or her younger generation, have any greater commitment to national security – whatever their reasons – than they did before 9/11.

It doesn't seem like the old political battle-lines about foreign policy have shifted, either. It seems, at times, that 9/11 has just become another event for both sides to use as a cudgel against the other – even today.

The "blame America first" crowd hasn't shifted their accusing finger away from their own country so much as narrowed their focus to point only at certain Americans; to include their innocent fellow citizens among the victims of all that is wrong with America. Even the crackpots who immediately said "we brought it on ourselves," or "we deserved it" have never had to apologize, or ever even leave the mainstream. Many of their arguments, instead, were incorporated into the foreign policy of one of their acolytes, who was swept into the White House by "the 9/11 generation."

It doesn't seem like our people rededicated themselves to the nation's founding ideals, or to the ethic President Kennedy evoked when he exhorted us to ask not what our country could do for us, but what we could do for our country. In 2008, it seemed the prevailing sentiment was "can't this country do more for me?" And we elected the man who said "yes, we can;" who said, rather than rededicate the nation to its founding principles of liberty, he would "fundamentally transform it." He won.

It doesn't seem like our national resolve, so strongly felt ten years ago, to rebuild a taller, shinier building in Lower Manhattan prevailed in any meaningful way against our bureaucratic and regulatory overlords. Ten years on, and still no building stands at "Ground Zero."

Meanwhile, over in the Middle East, it seems that despite the "Freedom Agenda" of the last administration, anti-Israel, anti-American, Islamicism appears to be ascendant even in nations once in the vanguard of peacemaking. Here at home, we are asked to celebrate this as the "Arab Spring."

We sure showed them, didn't we?

08 September 2011

Obama's #Jobspeech, annotated...

Obama's tripe is so old and recycled, it's hard to come up with fresh smart-aleck comments, but here goes (this is a living document - I may come back later and add more comments):

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse.

It was so terribly urgent, I felt it was absolutely necessary to golf on Martha's Vineyard for a couple of weeks, then take a week or two writing this recycled speech.

This past week, reporters have been asking “What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”

But the millions of Americans who are watching right now: they don’t care about politics.

Buck up, Mr. President. At least all those reporters still care about you.

They have real life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by – giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.

How common is that really? I mean people having kids when they are 47 or older, then postponing retirement to put them through college? Because if you are 65 when your kid graduates high school, it seems like you decided to put off retirement a long time ago. But hey, Obama's in touch with the problems of the common man.

Have you seen the price of arugula lately?

These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off. They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share – where if you stepped up, did your job, and were loyal to your company, that loyalty would be rewarded with a decent salary and good benefits; maybe a raise once in awhile.

And a gold watch at retirement?

Aren't these guys the ones who always accuse Republicans of idealizing the 1950s?

If you did the right thing, you could make it in America. 

But for decades now, Americans have watched that compact erode. They have seen the deck too often stacked against them. And they know that Washington hasn’t always put their interests first. 

The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours. The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.

I think if you asked the Founding Fathers where "security" and "fairness" ranked, you might get a different impression about what defined this nation from its beginning.

Those of us here tonight can’t solve all of our nation’s woes.

Bestill my heart! There are limits to his power? Is he just tuckered out from stopping the rise of the ocean?

Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives. 

I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away. It’s called the American Jobs Act.

Because "Son of Stimulus" didn't play well withe focus group, and we thought "Puppies, Candy Bars and Babies" was a little over-the-top.

There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans – including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything.

The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working. It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed. It will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business. It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services. You should pass this jobs plan right away.

 Don't delay! Operators are standing by!

Everyone here knows that small businesses are where most new jobs begin. And you know that while corporate profits have come roaring back, smaller companies haven’t. So for everyone who speaks so passionately about making life easier for “job creators,” this plan is for you.

Pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, small businesses will get a tax cut if they hire new workers or raise workers’ wages. Pass this jobs bill, and all small business owners will also see their payroll taxes cut in half next year. If you have 50 employees making an average salary, that’s an $80,000 tax cut. And all businesses will be able to continue writing off the investments they make in 2012.

Wait - including corporate jets? Why, yes, now that you mention it...

It’s not just Democrats who have supported this kind of proposal. Fifty House Republicans have proposed the same payroll tax cut that’s in this plan.

And just because it didn't work before, is no reason to stop doing the same thing over and over.

You should pass it right away.

Thousands - Democrats and Republicans just like you - already have!

Pass this jobs bill, and we can put people to work rebuilding America. Everyone here knows that we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over this country.

I did not know that. And I drive a lot.

Our highways are clogged with traffic.

So let's get rid of all the friggin' HOV lanes. You do know they increase congestion, right? Oh wait, we were talking about creating jobs, not getting to work on time...

Our skies are the most congested in the world.

This is inexcusable. Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic superpower. And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads?

Hold on! China's rise isn't our demise!

At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America?

There are private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work.

Seems like just last fall somebody was telling us that there's no such thing as shovel-ready projects. But now there are just legions of workers, leaning on their shovels, waiting for a shovelful of money from Washington so they can get started.

There’s a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America. A public transit project in Houston that will help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country. And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating. How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart? This is America. Every child deserves a great school – and we can give it to them, if we act now.

The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools. It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows; installing science labs and high-speed internet in classrooms all across this country.

Wow, those places sure ran down quickly after they were repaired in the last stimulus bill.

It will rehabilitate homes and businesses in communities hit hardest by foreclosures. It will jumpstart thousands of transportation projects across the country. And to make sure the money is properly spent and for good purposes, we’re building on reforms we’ve already put in place. No more earmarks. No more boondoggles. No more bridges to nowhere. We’re cutting the red tape that prevents some of these projects from getting started as quickly as possible. And we’ll set up an independent fund to attract private dollars and issue loans based on two criteria: how badly a construction project is needed and how much good it would do for the economy.

This idea came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat. The idea for a big boost in construction is supported by America’s largest business organization and America’s largest labor organization. It’s the kind of proposal that’s been supported in the past by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Also supported in the past by Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike: the Iraq War, Guantanamo Bay detentions, and raiding the Social Security Trust Fund. All good ideas?

You should pass it right away.

If you dial the number on your screen right now, you'll also receive a set of steak knives!

Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work.

It's the week after Labor Day. Thousands of teachers already went back to work.

These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher. But while they’re adding teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves. It’s unfair to our kids. It undermines their future and ours. And it has to stop. Pass this jobs bill, and put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong.

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get extra tax credits if they hire America’s veterans. We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, and risk their lives to fight for our country. The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home. 

Did he just propose defense cuts? I mean, Ron Paul just wants to take away their air conditioning - Obama wants to lay them off?

Pass this bill, and hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people will have the hope and dignity of a summer job next year. And their parents, low-income Americans who desperately want to work, will have more ladders out of poverty. 

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job. We have to do more to help the long-term unemployed in their search for work. This jobs plan builds on a program in Georgia that several Republican leaders have highlighted, where people who collect unemployment insurance participate in temporary work as a way to build their skills while they look for a permanent job. The plan also extends unemployment insurance for another year. If the millions of unemployed Americans stopped getting this insurance, and stopped using that money for basic necessities, it would be a devastating blow to this economy. Democrats and Republicans in this Chamber have supported unemployment insurance plenty of times in the past. At this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again – right away. 

Pass this jobs bill, and the typical working family will get a fifteen hundred dollar tax cut next year. Fifteen hundred dollars that would have been taken out of your paycheck will go right into your pocket. This expands on the tax cut that Democrats and Republicans already passed for this year. If we allow that tax cut to expire – if we refuse to act – middle-class families will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. We cannot let that happen. I know some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live. Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes, which is why you should pass this bill right away. 

This is the American Jobs Act. It will lead to new jobs for construction workers, teachers, veterans, first responders, young people and the long-term unemployed. It will provide tax credits to companies that hire new workers, tax relief for small business owners, and tax cuts for the middle-class. And here’s the other thing I want the American people to know: the American Jobs Act will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for. And here’s how:

The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next ten years. It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas. Tonight, I’m asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act.

Here's how it will be paid for: it's very simple. You will figure that part out.

And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan – a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run.

I think he almost literally just said he would gladly pay us Tuesday for a hamburger today.

This approach is basically the one I’ve been advocating for months. In addition to the trillion dollars of spending cuts I’ve already signed into law, it’s a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending cuts; by making modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid; and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share. What’s more, the spending cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on our economy, or prevent us from helping small business and middle-class families get back on their feet right away. 

Now, I realize there are some in my party who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid, and I understand their concerns. But here’s the truth. Millions of Americans rely on Medicare in their retirement. And millions more will do so in the future. They pay for this benefit during their working years. They earn it. But with an aging population and rising health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program. And if we don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won’t be there when future retirees need it.

Wait - didn't Obamacare already "bend the cost curve?"

We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it. 

Boy, that sounds a lot like "we have to burn the village in order to save it."

I’m also well aware that there are many Republicans who don’t believe we should raise taxes on those who are most fortunate and can best afford it. But here is what every American knows. While most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most affluent citizens and corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets. Right now, Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary – an outrage he has asked us to fix.

If that's true, Warren Buffett is a tax cheat. I'm just sayin'...

We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake, and everybody pays their fair share. And I believe the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that, if it helps the economy grow and gets our fiscal house in order.

Yes, I'm sure they would be willing to do just that if it helps the economy grow and gets our fiscal house in order. But that's kind of the catch, isn't it? That's the part we disagree about, isn't it? I mean, we all understand that somebody, somewhere, still has money in his pocket. We just don't all think the economy would perk up if they would just stick it in an envelope and send it to Washington.

I’ll also offer ideas to reform a corporate tax code that stands as a monument to special interest influence in Washington. By eliminating pages of loopholes and deductions, we can lower one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Our tax code shouldn’t give an advantage to companies that can afford the best-connected lobbyists. It should give an advantage to companies that invest and create jobs here in America.

Let me break this down for you: we must create a new series of loopholes and special favors to replace the old ones. I don't believe there is anything wrong with special favors and I also believe tax incentives work. Just need to turn the dials, pull the levers, etc, until things are "fair." And we will keep on changing the tax code and loopholes and subsidies as often as I think we need to. In the past, both Republicans and Democrats have voted to make changes in the tax code, so this should not be controversial.

So we can reduce this deficit, pay down our debt, and pay for this jobs plan in the process.

And have our cake, eat it, too, and put a pet unicorn in every yard and a fairy in every rose garden. Now how much would you pay? Pass it now!

But in order to do this, we have to decide what our priorities are. We have to ask ourselves, “What’s the best way to grow the economy and create jobs?”

Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because we can’t afford to do both. Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? Right now, we can’t afford to do both. 

This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math. 

Here is some more simple math: taking every dollar from every "millionaire and billionaire" in America won't pay for the hole you've already dug. But at least digging holes of debt is a shovel-ready project. I'll give you that.

These are real choices that we have to make. And I’m pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It’s not even close. And it’s time for us to do what’s right for our future. 

The American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away. But we can’t stop there. As I’ve argued since I ran for this office, we have to look beyond the immediate crisis

Hold on just one minute. If we look beyond the current crisis, won't we risk letting it go to waste?

and start building an economy that lasts into the future – an economy that creates good, middle-class jobs that pay well and offer security. We now live in a world where technology has made it possible for companies to take their business anywhere. If we want them to start here and stay here and hire here, we have to be able to out-build, out-educate, and out-innovate every other country on Earth. 

Who's the "we" that needs to "outbuild and out innovate?" And who's the "them" that will stay here if "we" do that? Aren't those companies that can start up anywhere the ones doing the building and innovating? Shouldn't we be trying to figure out why it isn't attractive to do that here? Like maybe the grandstanding, class warfare and ever-changing list of favors in the tax code? Things like "The American Jobs Act?"

This task, of making America more competitive for the long haul, is a job for all of us. For government and for private companies. For states and for local communities – and for every American citizen. All of us will have to up our game. All of us will have to change the way we do business. 

My administration can and will take some steps to improve our competitiveness on our own. For example, if you’re a small business owner who has a contract with the federal government, we’re going to make sure you get paid a lot faster than you do now. We’re also planning to cut away the red tape that prevents too many rapidly-growing start-up companies from raising capital and going public. And to help responsible homeowners, we’re going to work with Federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4% — a step that can put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket, and give a lift to an economy still burdened by the drop in housing prices. 

For what it's worth, first-time buyers are not at all burdened by the drop in housing prices. But hey, you can't make an omelet without cracking a few eggs. I mean, who do you trust to pick winners and losers anyway?

Other steps will require Congressional action. Today you passed reform that will speed up the outdated patent process, so that entrepreneurs can turn a new idea into a new business as quickly as possible. That’s the kind of action we need. Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea – while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition. If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers.

Except for those damn South Korean teachers. They can drive Hyundais.

I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with three proud words: “Made in America.” 

Isn't that stamped on all of our T-Bills? There are plenty of those in China. Oh, I see what you did there. This plan just might work...

And on all of our efforts to strengthen competitiveness, we need to look for ways to work side-by-side with America’s businesses. That’s why I’ve brought together a Jobs Council of leaders from different industries who are developing a wide range of new ideas to help companies grow and create jobs. 

Already, we’ve mobilized business leaders to train 10,000 American engineers a year, by providing company internships and training. Other businesses are covering tuition for workers who learn new skills at community colleges. And we’re going to make sure the next generation of manufacturing takes root not in China or Europe, but right here, in the United States of America. If we provide the right incentives and support – and if we make sure our trading partners play by the rules – we can be the ones to build everything from fuel-efficient cars to advanced biofuels to semiconductors that are sold all over the world. That’s how America can be number one again. That’s how America will be number one again. 

Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy. Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations. 

Well, I agree that we can’t afford wasteful spending, and I will continue to work with Congress to get rid of it. And I agree that there are some rules and regulations that put an unnecessary burden on businesses at a time when they can least afford it. That’s why I ordered a review of all government regulations. So far, we’ve identified over 500 reforms, which will save billions of dollars over the next few years. We should have no more regulation than the health, safety, and security of the American people require. Every rule should meet that common sense test. 

But what we can’t do – what I won’t do – is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy. We shouldn’t be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards. America should be in a race to the top. And I believe that’s a race we can win. 

In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everyone’s money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own – that’s not who we are. That’s not the story of America. 

Yes, we are rugged individualists. Yes, we are strong and self-reliant. And it has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and envy of the world. 

But there has always been another thread running throughout our history – a belief that we are all connected; and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.
We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. But in the middle of a Civil War, he was also a leader who looked to the future – a Republican president who mobilized government to build the transcontinental railroad; launch the National Academy of Sciences; and set up the first land grant colleges. And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set.

Ask yourselves – where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways and our bridges; our dams and our airports? What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges? Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the GI Bill. Where would we be if they hadn’t had that chance?

I might be mistaken, but I think he just proposed another World War so a new generation can go to college on the GI Bill.

How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip? What kind of country would this be if this Chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? How many Americans would have suffered as a result?

"What kind of country would this be if this Chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? " *Sigh* I just had to repeat that line. Indeed, what kind of country would it be? Freer? More prosperous? Solvent?

No single individual built America on their own. We built it together. We have been, and always will be, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all; a nation with responsibilities to ourselves and with responsibilities to one another. Members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities.

Except for our fiscal responsibilities.

Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight is the kind that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past. Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight will be paid for. And every proposal is designed to meet the urgent needs of our people and our communities.
Declarations of war have been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past. That doesn't mean every declaration of war should be passed immediately, without debate.

I know there’s been a lot of skepticism about whether the politics of the moment will allow us to pass this jobs plan – or any jobs plan. Already, we’re seeing the same old press releases and tweets flying back and forth. Already, the media has proclaimed that it’s impossible to bridge our differences. And maybe some of you have decided that those differences are so great that we can only resolve them at the ballot box.

But know this: the next election is fourteen months away. And the people who sent us here – the people who hired us to work for them – they don’t have the luxury of waiting fourteen months. 

Stop the presses! I think he just offered to resign!

Some of them are living week to week; paycheck to paycheck; even day to day. They need help, and they need it now. 
I don’t pretend that this plan will solve all our problems. It shouldn’t be, nor will it be, the last plan of action we propose. What’s guided us from the start of this crisis hasn’t been the search for a silver bullet. It’s been a commitment to stay at it – to be persistent – to keep trying every new idea that works, and listen to every good proposal, no matter which party comes up with it.

Yes, listen to every proposal. The dismiss it with something glib, like "I won."

Regardless of the arguments we’ve had in the past, regardless of the arguments we’ll have in the future, this plan is the right thing to do right now. You should pass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country. I also ask every American who agrees to lift your voice and tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now. Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option. Remind us that if we act as one nation, and one people, we have it within our power to meet this challenge. 

President Kennedy once said, “Our problems are man-made – therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants.” 

These are difficult years for our country. But we are Americans. We are tougher than the times that we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have been. So let’s meet the moment. Let’s get to work, and show the world once again why the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

Obama to Send Congress “The American Jobs Act” (NOT "stimulus")

ABC News reports that Obama will send Congress “The American Jobs Act.” Let me be perfectly clear: it is definitely not a "stimulus bill."

From the article:

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley said on “Good Morning America” the specifics “will create jobs. They’ll get teachers back to work. First responders back to work. Construction workers, it will get money into small businesses. And the  American people will see a tax cut with a payroll extension.”

Let's break that down a bit: It's the week after Labor Day. I am pretty sure teachers have all gotten back to work already. First responders back to work? What does that mean? 9/11 put first responders to work. I don't like the sound of that.

But I get it - "Hey, public sector unions, I got your back."

The more curious part of Daley's remarks was this:

”It will help the long-term unemployed and help small businesses hire veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at a time where there is a growing unemployment rate among veterans.”

Are they saying that the recently announced drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan is going to make unemployment worse? That's pretty interesting, but consistent with Liberal thought. After all, they still think WWII was the best "jobs program" ever...

07 September 2011

Some scattered thoughts on the #ReaganDebate

Well, we all expected tonight to be the Rick Perry show, and it was. Brian Williams did a quick search on the Huffington Post and Paul Krugman to find a few ways to question the Texas record. Mitt and Huntsman had a few pre-scripted zingers.

What surprised me is how unprepared Perry seemed in response. There are good answers to all the dumb statements about the Texas record, but he came across as if he'd never heard the criticisms. Maybe dealing with Texas wildfires over the last couple of days reduced his prep time, but nobody was asking him about events of the last week; they were asking about his record over the last ten years.

Mitt needed to let go of his defense of RomneyCare, but at this point he is just too invested in that line of argument. Turning his back on RomneyCare would open up the old "flip-flopper" line of attack. And that, my friends, is why Mitt Romney will never be President.

Perry, similarly, needs to stop defending the Gardasil thing. When he says "I hate cancer," he might as well say "I love puppies." It would be equally relevant. His Gardasil executive order was indefensible in every way. For Parry, unlike Romney, it is still not too late to just say "I was wrong," and let it go.

Newt had some good, fiery answers. I will never vote for him for president.

Huntsman's only good moment was when he blasted those idiotic candidate pledges. Other than that...um, blue sky, weak core, China. He has some solid hair, though. I'll give him that.

Ron Paul is our lovable crazy uncle, and, as always, he made some good points, but he also trashed Reagan at the Reagan Library. He can't win (and he shouldn't.) I wish he would go away.

Perry's best answers were when he defended, and repeated his charge that Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme. Still, I expect Perry's poll numbers to drop a bit after this. What I don't know is whose numbers will improve.

Rick Perry is Fed Up. My book review...

Rick Perry's Fed Up! has plenty to like and a bit to dislike for almost everybody, but because campaign books are tough to read, I read this one, so you don't have to.

The first thing that must be said is that this book, written long before Perry admitted he intended to run for President, was clearly written as a campaign book. It isn't a call to arms - it's a call to vote. Obviously, Perry's attacks go most heavily after Obama, but he also has some digs at his predecessor in the governor's office, George W. Bush, and spares his party no criticisms. A sampling:

"Both Democrats and Republicans share the blame, from Lyndon B. Johnson...to my friend President George W. Bush..."

"Indeed, this big-government binge began under the administration of George W. Bush..."

"The branding of Compassionate Conservatism meant that the GOP was sending the wrong signal that conservatism alone wasn't sufficient or, worse yet, was somehow flawed and had to be rebranded. For the first time, we were acting like liberals who call themselves progressives, running away to some degree from who we were, and what we stood for. The result is an ongoing and near-complete capitulation to the federal welfare state."

He also offers some pre-emptive defenses of some expected attacks on himself and his record, explaining how states rights arguments were mis-used in the civil rights era. It came across to me as a passage inspired by Rand Paul's remarks on the 1964 Civil Rights Act during his 2010 campaign.

Perry also pre-empts liberal attacks on him for accepting Federal dollars even as he decries the Washington leviathan. Here, his arguments resonate, and we can expect them to be repeated. There are no Federal dollars, he argues, it all comes form the states. It is a difficult balancing act to decide when to accede to extortionate demands of Congress in order to get back the very dollars the state paid in to Washington, and when to decide to let the state's own dollars go.

Much has been made of Mitt Romney's subtle attacks on Perry in recent weeks, but Perry was jabbing at Romney months ago in this book, recounting the poor results (longer waiting times, out of control costs and rationing boards) of RomneyCare, even as he praises the experiment as an examples of states as "laboratories of democracy." "Is it any wonder," Perry asks, "that this is the state from which [Obama appointee and rationing enthusiast] Dr. [Donald] Berwick hails?"

Tea Partiers will find little to disagree with in Perry's prescriptions - he quotes all the right people and makes no effort to defend the GOP's mistakes. Mainstream Republicans, though, will find comfort in his assessment that the GOP can be fixed, and is still the best alternative between the parties.

Perry's main argument for his own candidacy boils down to one question that he says is one of the most important we can contemplate, namely, "Who gets to decide how we live?"

Perry says it's you.