Wednesday, February 25, 2009

President Obama proposes; Governor Jindal closes; Two leaders who do America proud would have been interesting if MSNBC's Rachel Maddow had interviewed RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Fox's Sean Hannity had interviewed Ana Marie Cox. Isn’t there a producer in TV land who can think of that? Really, must I do everything here?
...Indeed, Gov. Jindal left this journalist wondering how different the 2008 Presidential race and outcome might have been if McCain had had the intelligence and imagination to pick Governor Jindal instead of Governor Palin as his VP candidate. It was said that Jindal was...
State of the Obama Economy

Obama gave a speech to the Congress and Nation last night that might be called the State of the Obama Economy. It was the Bush economy. But, Obama owns it now. It was a well-delivered and nicely structured talk, somewhat similar to a high school civics lecture. The President didn’t get too detailed on the economic history of the Bush era, but argued regulations were avoided as people sought short-term gain over long time prosperity. Arguably, he is right as far as he went. Of course, as to who actually did the most damage, that I am sure would be disputed by many.

Obama’s 2004 U. S. Senate race themes

When Obama ran for the U. S. Senate in 2004, first in a tough primary-- then in an easy general election—his themes were jobs, healthcare and affordable, quality education. Although the nation was having boom times in 2004, many in Illinois were lagging in their economic fortunes—thus his attention to jobs. Now, Obama’s stimulus plan, whose passage has dominated the first thirty days of his Presidency, is largely about jobs, or so he argues.

Unclogging credit; plumber Obama

Obama also argued last night that the government has to get credit flowing, and it would do this thru creation of a large lending fund, a housing plan and “doing something,” to build confidence in the banks. His point was that it was not about helping banks, per se, but about getting banks to lend, which would help Main St., which would help people, or so he argued.

In short, Obama never did spell out what he would do to get credit flowing. Instead, he essentially said, having done that, we can turn to increasing the supply of renewable energy, which will create more jobs, as will investing specifically in wind and solar power.

Autos and $50/month tax cuts

Additionally, Obama will create more jobs by a re-tooled, “re-imagined,” auto industry. And, those tax cuts for families earning less than 250 K per year will put more dollars in your pocket, assuming that is, you are not one of those “wealthy,” entrepreneurs that does not deserve a tax cut. Of course, President Obama glossed over the notion that such entrepreneurs might be job creators.

Fixing Healthcare and the network nattering nabobs

Having fixed the economy, the financial sector and then energy, Dr. Obama moved on to cure the “crushing cost of healthcare.” Of course, Dr. Obama (or President Obama) didn’t really outline a healthcare innovation plan. And, none of the network analysts seemed to notice this. Not Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics Joe Stiglitz or WSJ edit board economist Stephen Moore on CNN, nor Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, nor Hannity on Fox. Kind of a basic point, but it was missed by all. Instead, Obama spoke in generalities of his already passed legislation to provide health insurance for eleven million kids, investment in electronic health records and a new effort to seek a cure for cancer.

But, what specifically was the healthcare reform coming from Dr. Obama? He didn’t say. He sort of alluded to a blue ribbon commission of businesses, workers, doctors and healthcare providers. Is this Hillarycare reform process redux? Obama didn’t say and again, nobody noticed or cared.

The Promise of education spending, with a dab of reform

Finally, Obama was onto expanding the “promise of education.” The Democratic Congress cheered as Professor Obama [yet another hat for the President] spoke of more money for early childhood education, colleges, teachers, etc. But once Professor Obama mentioned education reform, the Democratic applause died down. And, when he spoke of incentives for teacher performance, rewards for success and an expanded commitment for charter schools, it was as if Democrats had had their hands tied. Indeed, at this point, it was left to the Republicans to clap for Obama and they did some of that, but their heart really wasn’t it.

There were some more generalities about Medicare and social security reform—and some introductions of people in the crowd to send tingles up Chris Matthews’s leg—but that was essentially it for Obama. If you have liked what Obama has done in the first thirty days, or so, of his Presidency with his 800 billion dollar stimulus legislation, and generalities about the spending of the second 350 billion dollar tranche of the 700 billion dollar Bush-Obama bank bailout and the spending of another trillion or so by Obama on the banks (without much detail) and spending and something to reduce foreclosures, then you will have liked Obama’s State of the Obama Economy speech. If not, you won’t. But, there was not a lot new to see here. Time to move on, so to speak.

Endless rambling commentary from the chattering class.

Of course, there were interminable hours from CNN (Stiglitz, Moore, Pamela Gentry from BET, Ed Rollins and David Gergen with Anderson Cooper), [Rollins and Gergen must each be over one hundred years old, by now, but CNN simply won’t tire of having them on to say nothing], Fox (Hannity and Greta with the likes of Rove and Michael Steele), MSNBC (Rachel Maddow interviewing the likes of Air America’s Ana Marie Cox—if Cox had nodded in agreement one more time with Maddow, I think her head would have fallen off; and, of course, that giant sucking-up sound you hear is Olbermann discussing Obama). You know, it would have been interesting if NSNBC's Rachel Maddow had interviewed RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Fox's Hannity had interviewed Ann Marie Cox. Isn’t there a producer in TV land who can think of that? Really, must I do everything here?

Governor Jindal, as a closer.

And, it was left for Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal to close. It is a tough job for anybody to follow the pomp and circumstance of the President, and to do so in about ¼ of the time and with about 1/100 of the resources of the Presidency. Notwithstanding that and the cheap shots taken at Jindal by Maddow and Cox, Jindal did a nice job.

Americans can do anything.

For starters, Jindal had a good theme. He is an immigrant who learned early on, “Americans can do anything.” That’s similar to that idea of many immigrants—the nice thing about America is that, in the end, it always gets it right. Like 230 years after the birth of the country, it elects an African-American President. And, the opposition party elects an Indian American immigrant as its spokesman for the night. You see what I mean.

America’s "can do," attitude

Jindal captured the spirit of America: it is not the bureaucracy of government that will solve things, but the “can do,” attitude of the individual, American spirit. Jindal argued that the Republicans did not simply oppose Obama’s stimulus plan, but had a stimulus plan of their own that would create more jobs by lowering income tax rates for working families, cutting taxes for small businesses, giving tax credits for home buyers, etc. and all of that would be done at a lower cost to the taxpayers.

Affordable private sector healthcare

Governor Jindal argued for universal access to affordable healthcare coverage and against universal government run healthcare. Like Dr. Obama, there were few details from Dr. Jindal.

School vouchers

On education, Jindal argued for new charter schools and scholarship (voucher) programs that give parents the chance to send their children to the private or parochial schools of their choice—not unlike the choice that Barack and Michelle Obama exercised to send Malia and Sasha to Sidwell Friends school for $57, 000 per year. And, Professor Jindal lectured that he had succeeded with a very similar voucher and charter school plan in the Katrina recovery.

The Mc-Cain-Jindal ticket that wasn’t

Yes, overall, Jindal was a bit short on detail, but not dramatically more so than Obama. Indeed, he left this journalist wondering how different the 2008 Presidential race and outcome might have been if McCain had had the intelligence and imagination to pick Governor Jindal instead of Governor Palin as his VP candidate. It was said that Jindal was on McCain's Veep short list. Unfortunately for McCain and the Republican Party, the list wasn't short enough.
"Public Affairs," is a weekly political interview show airing in Chicago on CANTV, in the Chicago metro area, Aurora and Rockford on Comcast and also often on the Illinois Channel. You can watch the shows, including archived shows going back to 2005, here.
Recently posted shows on the Public Affairs YouTube page include shows with 5th Cong. Dist. Republican Primary Candidate Greg Bedell, 5th Cong. Dist. Democratic Primary candidate Tom Geoghegan, 5th Cong. Dist. Democratic Primary Candidate Charles Wheelan, State Senator Kwame Raoul on impeachment(D-Chicago), Democratic political campaign consultant Pete Giangreco on Blago's impeachment and the way in which the Obama Administration will operate, a recent Bill O'Reilly segment w/Berkowitz on Obama, shows with State Rep. Julie Hamos, (D-Evanston) newly minted State Rep. Mark Walker (D-Arlington Heights), essentially the first Dem to represent his district since the Civil War, on the connection between the mess in Springfield and in Cook County government, Chicago Alderman Manuel (Manny) Flores (D-1st Ward, Wicker Park) on impeachment of Rod, Chicago issues and a possible run to replace 5th CD Cong. Emanuel and much more.