Friday, November 5, 2010

Two Cents Worth, For A Speech

Well, I've used it in reference to teabaggers, so I guess I should use it about our president: the definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing while expecting a different outcome. In the former case, it's the idea that cutting taxes and regulations makes the economy soar like an eagle. With respect to President Obama, it's continuing to think there's a way to negotiate with Congressional Rs. My god, man, they've said their number one priority is to obstruct, dismantle, teabag and sandbag you until you'll be a one-termer.

So his news conference after the election was among the disappointments he's given me, even as I remain staunchly on his side. Here's the speech I'd have written for him, had he asked:

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

Well, now maybe we'll find out. After two years of obstructionism and cynical distortions, and after campaigns in which hundreds of millions of dollars were spent by unknown contributors, running highly dishonest ads, Congressional Republicans will now have to put up. Maybe now some of them will reveal what they're really up to. Maybe now, we'll see if any of them are serious about governing and solving the massive problems they left us the last time they were in charge. Maybe now -- and no one hopes so more than me -- we'll find out if they have ideas that make sense for our people, or if they will continue only with their cynical ploys.

Some will remember -- perhaps even some in Congress -- how I tried to reach out to them after my election. Some will recall the seemingly endless months we gave them to pitch in on health care reform, the gang of six as it was called, striving to incorporate Republican ideas into the bill (which was done) in order to get some to support it (which they didn't.) Some might even remember that when President Bush, a Republican as I recall, proposed the bank bailouts, Democrats like myself joined him to do something very difficult, but necessary, regardless of the political consequences. On that he got, we should remember, more help from our side, than from his own.

In tough times, tough decisions are required, ones that rise above petty partisanship. Now we'll find out if the Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives are up to the task of governance. We'll see if they're as good at moving forward as they've been at holding back.

The very first test is nearly at hand, and will signal what they'll do when they have their majority. At the end of this year, the Bush tax cuts will expire; the Bush tax cuts which have been largely responsible for turning the surpluses of the Clinton era into the deficits that followed. If nothing is done, tax rates will return to those of the greatest economic expansion in recent history, and the first and only balanced budget in modern times.

Republicans, evidently oblivious to the deficits those cuts created but unwilling to state how they'd pay for extending them (in fact, they've clearly stated they neither want nor need to pay for them), have demanded a no-compromise approach: extend the cuts for everyone, forever. I've offered a compromise which will retain the cuts for ninety-five percent of Americans, while returning rates on the most wealthy to the time when the most wealthy were still doing very well indeed. They'll be fine, as they always have, and our deficits will fall by hundreds of billions of dollars, helping us immeasurably to regain our financial footing.

So let's see where they stand. On the one hand is continuation of the budget busting status quo, and on the other, as written into the law by George Bush's own team, is the expiration of those cuts and raising of current rates on everyone. In between is where I stand. In between inaction and indefensible. So let's find out. They can do nothing, which has been their style for the past two years, and the rates will expire as the law now requires. Or they can vote to extend all the cuts, to the detriment of our future. If that's the perilous path they choose, I will veto it, faster than you can say "subpoena power."

Or, they can accept reasonable compromise by extending the cuts to those that need them, and eliminating them for those that don't. Because that's the path best for our country. So, let's see what they've got. Let's see if their on the side of meaningful cooperation for the common good, or on the side of the politics of cynicism and personal power above all.

It'll be a good window into our future. People will be watching. And in two years, they'll be voting again.

Sadly, such in-your-facetude is not Barack Obama's style. He's exactly what he said he was during his campaign; and, despite all the evidence to the contrary, he continues to think he can do business with the likes of John Boner (one of the signs at the rally said "Republican majority gives me a Boehner") and Mitch McConnell, who have pledged, strenuously and smugly, not to.

Imagine what those boys'd hear from Fox "news" and the RWS™ if they did try, in the interest of our beloved country, to work together, actually addressing problems over politics.

Imagine. Because we'll never know.

[Update, 11/6: Well, he sort of made the speech.]


Anonymous said...

GREAT SPEACH.....wish it had been heard.

Anonymous said...

Jeez Sid, your even more boring than the Mullet-Toe in Chief(Peace be upon Him).. I think its those years of being able to bloviate to a captive OR audience that make y'all Surgeons more boring than a power point presentation on MRSA(Which, true story, I thought was "MRS A" first time I saw it on the OR schedule, and I spent like 1/2 an hr tryin to found out who this damn "MRS A" was and why my OR was taped up like a Ted Kennedy crime scene...
OK, I'm just as boring, and I'm nowhere near your word/profundity count...
So let me guess,,there's a "tingle" goin down your leg...
and makin a yellow puddle on the OR floor...
seriously, didn't y'all ever teach a class??
OK I only teach one, the "Airway" portion of ACLS, and ya gotta
1: Tell em' what your gonna Tell em'
2: Tell em
3: Tell em what you just Told em'
4: Ask if there's any stupid questions, then leave before they can ask any stupid questions

at least thats how I do it...


Anonymous said...

Dr. Sid,
Not really related to the political talk that drives you so mad and bores me to tears, but thought this was worth sharing.

I found an interesting article with some sullying data regarding our economic recovery under Obama's policies compared to all other post-war recession recovery rates. Maybe you can take a look at the data and see if you feel it's valid? I think it is. Try to ignore the snarky title and look at the graphs/data.


p.s. Random Fact of the Day:
No president has ever lost re-election after losing the house or senate in the midterms.

Sid Schwab said...

PT: glad to hear from you.

It's hard to ignore the snark, when it stoops to the tired and entirely untrue and completely silly (ie, Foxobeckian) meme that he can't speak without a teleprompter. So the rest is suspect, too. Like saying the stimulus didn't work. It did, according to virtually all economists, the CBO, etc. Did it work enough? Evidently not. Can anyone say how much worse we'd be without it? No. Was TARP Obama's plan as the snarkist says? No.

The economists I respect have said now, and said at the beginning, that the problem with the stimulus is that is was too small, not too big. I happen to agree. And I'm a biology major.

I guess you can argue that the money to automakers was a bad idea, although I'm pretty sure it'd been disastrous had they failed. And the snarkist ignores the money the gov't will make when it sells its stock.

Can't really evaluate data like that: are we really comparing apples/apples? I don't know, and there are no data presented by which to compare. Is this recession the same as the others in magnitude? I don't think so.

I'm aware of your random fact. I, for three, hope it holds true.

Anonymous said...

Gee, is the teleprompter thing just a Fox creation? I thought I'd seen it elsewhere...

Oh well--I guess those are just other right-wing outlets, huh?


Sid Schwab said...

Any reader of this blog will know I believe our entire media spectrum are lazy at best, and, in the case of Fox, shameless liars and propagandists at worst. That others pick up the stupid meme does not make it so.

If you have watched interviews of Obama when serious matters were the subject, you'll have seen a person deeply informed and able to speak spontaneously at length and in depth, unlike his predecessor.

Pundits pick up themes and go with them, and in doing so they embarrass themselves. Obama, like an actual human, has flubbed a few lines. But his ability to speak spontaneously on very complicated subjects is unseen since, well, Clinton; and before that, since Roosevelt. Eisenhower, I'll admit, wasn't bad. Nixon, too.

So, my bad. The only people who couldn't speak without a teleprompter or 3 by 5s were GW and GHW Bush, and Ronald Reagan. They made it an art form.

Anonymous said...

I don't know--Matthews used to get a thrill up his leg.

"You go to a meeting with him, I'm told, businessmen are invited to meet him at the White House, he hauls out the damn teleprompter and he reads it to them. Well, why even bring people into the room, just have the teleprompter. I sense it's getting between him and us and I thought that speech last night was a terrible -- well, a great example rather -- of him using the teleprompter instead of his heart and his mind. He was reading words to us that any president could have written, had written for him and delivered."

This is not a Fox news meme--it's the simple truth.

Does that hurt too much? You need to face the truth, if you don't mind me saying so.


Anonymous said...

And are you really saying that the stimulus worked? Unemployment is 10%, when Obama promised no more than 8%. He said he had the amount of stimulus just right. That's how we should measure it. He got just what he wanted (no Republican "obstruction" from the super-minority party, huh?) and he failed.

But my family still (blindly) believes like you do. Sigh.


Sid Schwab said...

Complete and utter bullshit. If you don't mind me saying so.

Watch this.

Or this.

Or this.

Or this.

I could go on.

Has he failed to communicate well on some occasions? Sure. Do people wish him ill? Of course. But to deny that the man knows of what he speaks, in great detail, far more than George Bush or Ronald Reagan, and can speak about it spontaneously in deeply thoughtful ways, is simply to deny reality and to be overtaken by... well... you put a name on it.

Don't like Obama? Fine. Don't like his policies? Okay. But to rely on such superficial bullshit is an embarrassment. And not to me.

Sid Schwab said...

And, yes, I -- along with virtually all economists -- am saying the stimulus worked. It wasn't enough, because he kowtowed to Rs; it was too much devoted to tax cuts, because he cowtowed to Rs; it should have been more directed at infrastructure. I've said that, as have others.

But did it work? Well, only if you believe in facts, which, clearly, teabaggers don't.

How's the Orange Pekoe this time of night?

Sid Schwab said...

More up-to-date graph.

Anonymous said...

Here's the salient chart (make sure you look at figure 1):

Obama's $800 billion figure:

"Asked if the figure shoud be $800 billion and not more, Mr. Obama said: 'Well, I gave you a range. I think we’re in range.'”

Obama's tax cut:

"...give 95 percent of working Americans a tax cut."

This was a campaign issue--a fervent promise. Not kowtowing to the super-minority Republicans. His compromise to them was "I won."

Maybe these are the economists you have great faith in:,8599,1910208,00.html

"Without the stimulus, the two economists predicted, the unemployment rate would rise to around 8.5% by the middle of this year; add the stimulus, and that rate would drop by half a point."

What did obama himself say of a "recovery" with n jobs?

I can see you like this guy, but are you really so immune to the facts? He's a failure, and the whole country just rendered this judgment.

If only my husband would catch on...


Sid Schwab said...

It's as if we're talking on two different planets, Bj.

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