another speech

The Prez delivered another speech today, this time at the Associated Press Luncheon, and there is a transcript of the whole thing, along with a couple of follow-up questions here. It’s worth a look.

It’s taken three years for him to start doing what no small number of us were screaming at him to do two-and-a-half years ago and more, which is basically telling it like it is — the GOP is now a crazy and dysfunctional bunch of ideologues who would, today, be perfectly incapable of nominating someone like  Ronald Reagan. Or even Barry Goldwater for that matter.

Finally, at long last, he’s sounding like he gets it. But he sounded like he got it during his campaign for ’08 also, so we shall see, but at least he’s calling out the trickle down advocates;

In this country, broad-based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few ….. And yet, for much of the last century, we have been having the same argument with folks who keep peddling some version of trickle-down economics.  They keep telling us that if we’d convert more of our investments in education and research and health care into tax cuts — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger.  They keep telling us that if we’d just strip away more regulations, and let businesses pollute more and treat workers and consumers with impunity, that somehow we’d all be better off.  We’re told that when the wealthy become even wealthier, and corporations are allowed to maximize their profits by whatever means necessary, it’s good for America, and that their success will automatically translate into more jobs and prosperity for everybody else.  That’s the theory.

What was so hard about that, Barack? Finally. Jesus. Onward;

Now, the problem for advocates of this theory is that we’ve tried their approach — on a massive scale.  The results of their experiment are there for all to see.  At the beginning of the last decade, the wealthiest Americans received a huge tax cut in 2001 and another huge tax cut in 2003.  We were promised that these tax cuts would lead to faster job growth.  They did not.  The wealthy got wealthier — we would expect that.  The income of the top 1 percent has grown by more than 275 percent over the last few decades, to an average of $1.3 million a year.  But prosperity sure didn’t trickle down.

Instead, during the last decade, we had the slowest job growth in half a century.  And the typical American family actually saw their incomes fall by about 6 percent, even as the economy was growing.

Glad you noticed. You obviously didn’t read my letter, or you would have talked about this non-stop, as would all your operatives, since day one — and you would have fired that piece of shit Chief of Staff who called me and my friends “fucking retards” on the spot. Publicly. Oh well, spilled milk and all that. Welcome home. Now sit the fuck down over there and listen up….

… Look, people get all that. Sure, there are some who don’t, but they’re not going to support you anyway, now or ever. There’s even a healthy portion of the TeaPeople who get that, as do OWS, and the both of them sure as hell get this next part;

It was a period when insurance companies and mortgage lenders and financial institutions didn’t have to abide by strong enough regulations, or they found their ways around them.  And what was the result?  Profits for many of these companies soared. But so did people’s health insurance premiums.  Patients were routinely denied care, often when they needed it most.  Families were enticed, and sometimes just plain tricked, into buying homes they couldn’t afford.  Huge, reckless bets were made with other people’s money on the line.  And our entire financial system was nearly destroyed.

So we tried this theory out.  And you would think that after the results of this experiment in trickle-down economics, after the results were made painfully clear, that the proponents of this theory might show some humility, might moderate their views a bit.  You’d think they’d say, you know what, maybe some rules and regulations are necessary to protect the economy and prevent people from being taken advantage of by insurance companies or credit card companies or mortgage lenders.  Maybe, just maybe, at a time of growing debt and widening inequality, we should hold off on giving the wealthiest Americans another round of big tax cuts…..

…..But that’s exactly the opposite of what they’ve done.  Instead of moderating their views even slightly, the Republicans running Congress right now have doubled down, and proposed a budget so far to the right it makes the Contract with America look like the New Deal.

Right, now whittle that down to a pithy phrase, and nail it to the wall. “It’s the economy, stupid.” is already used up, so y’all are going to have to work on it. You have people for that. If you get stuck, leave a message here in the comment thread and we’ll help you out.  See if you can work the word “predatory” into things on down the road too. People get that in a big way. Trust me.

While we have you here, Mr P., run on down to the DoJ and get the morons down there to go after the whiz-kids who bundled all those mortgages  in RMBS instruments without proper documentation, then started inventing it on the spot so as to repossess. If they need help, have them call the kids at the German Bank  HSH Nordbank, since they got tired of waiting for your sorry ass and are now suing Barclay’s over this whole mess. Basically they sold RMBS (Residential Mortgage Backed Securities) that were not backed by mortgages but by, wait for it, nothing, since the transfer paperwork was nonexistent.

That’s for starters. Then tell Tim Geithner, who is already making noises about the perils of too much “austerity” (you’ve had him hopping all over Europe, taking it all in, so he won’t be hard to convince) to come out blasting about just how malevolent these Norquist/Randian assholes really are. He’s been one for long enough he understands that territory well.

You need weapons, and you’ve finally stumbled on the obvious one;

For generations, nearly all of these investments — from transportation to education to retirement programs — have been supported by people in both parties.  As much as we might associate the G.I. Bill with Franklin Roosevelt, or Medicare with Lyndon Johnson, it was a Republican, Lincoln, who launched the Transcontinental Railroad, the National Academy of Sciences, land grant colleges.  It was Eisenhower who launched the Interstate Highway System and new investment in scientific research.  It was Richard Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency, Ronald Reagan who worked with Democrats to save Social Security. It was George W. Bush who added prescription drug coverage to Medicare.

There you go — you take saner Republicans from the past (do you have any idea how hard it was for me to write “saner Republicans” in reference to Nixon and Dubya? You couldn’t possibly, but I’m here to help and willing to make sacrifices) and you bundle them up into a big fucking club and you start beating them with it. Today and every day for the rest of the year without respite. You take that club and you bitch-slap that asshole Ryan (who Tengrain calls that “blue-eyed Snidely Whiplash wannabe”) with it daily. You make it clear, also daily, just how far the “center” has now been dragged to the right, and thus what used to be thought of as “centrists” now have to be Pol Pot to occupy the middle ground. You make it clear that the “center” is no longer habitable by reasonable people. Most Americans are reasonable people, at least most of those who you will need to pound the streets to get you elected again.

Damn right I’ve got more suggestions, but I don’t want to bewilder you too much too soon, but there is one more thing: you do all this for the rest of the campaign season, and with a bit of luck (nothing too crazy happens to the economy, or Iran, or whatever) you get re-elected. Fine.

Then you quit trying to work with what’s left of these assholes and you throw the ball right at their goddam head. Ditch the “pre-emptive compromise” strategy. It won’t work with people who are trying to kill you. Sane remnants of the GOP are already beginning to utter “now, er, wait a minute” kinda things about Norquist’s “pledge”. Amplify all that, and use it. Set the stage now for Willard’s arduous trek back to a politically plausible etch-a-sketch image of himself by littering the path with indelible vignettes from his journey into wingnuttistan. God knows, he’s provided you with enough of them. Unlike him, you don’t have to make anything up.

You’re welcome.

 

31 Responses to another speech

  1. NatashaFatale says:

    Nobody has ever believed in the gulf between campaining and governing as much as Obama. You could not hear this between his innauguration and right now because it is campaign-mode Obama, pure and simple. Doesn’t make it right, doesn’t make it wrong, but it is how he is.

  2. gunnison says:

    Nat

    Nobody has ever believed in the gulf between campaining and governing as much as Obama.

    Something similar was in my mind when I mentioned the ’08 campaign rhetoric.
    Don’t know how valid it is, but I’ll float the theory that he really believed DeeCee is populated with enough people to make his “consensus” facilitation approach from his earlier community experiences actually workable. That his willingness to compromise enshrined in his approach would be respected rather than exploited as weakness.

    In fairness, he did campaign on the idea of “post partisanship”, and his speech to the convention in ’04 (was it?) was all about that “we should all be singing kumbaya” thing.

    I mean, if he didn’t believe that, then what the hell was he thinking?

  3. NatashaFatale says:

    I suspect that after Harvard and the Law Review, and especially after the U of C, he thought he knew what a conservative was: those fussy guys in the bow ties who will argue earnestly for hours on end, never change their minds about anything, but are always there to help you change that tire even when it makes them late for dinner. People who can be thicker than posts but simply don’t know how to lie. And I can see him figuring that he could find enough in Congress like that that they could sit down together and slice up the legislative pie in ways they could all live with. I can hear him asking himself, After all, how many like that do I need?

  4. Bluthner says:

    Nat,

    Exactly. As if he was back in Weimar, having spent his whole life in the company of Junkers and didn’t get that the brownshirts were a different kettle of (stinking) fish altogether.

  5. Elena says:

    Brilliant, brilliant article Gunny. I’m in a rush now but wil have more to say later.

  6. Squirrel says:

    Sad, isn’t it?

    I kind of agree with Nat, but only half way. How much of the blame for it can really be laid on the people he gave jobs to? Emanuel struck me as nothing more than a machine politician, a manipulator who totally failed to understand that there was a bunch of Republicans and Blue Dogs that weren’t manipulable in the old ways.

    But it has looked for an awfully long time that Obama is only (underneath) a campaigning politician.

    We used to draw some comparisons with Tony Blair. Breath of fresh air, dynamic, a social conscience infusing politics, etc. etc. Then we realised Blair talked a lot about high principles and social morals, but didn’t give a damn in the end whether they actually entered into practical politics (i.e. keeping the job for as long as possible) or not.

    Though. for all he reneged on a number of things, there were at least still a few ‘socialist-ish’ principles he did stand by. (Though probably because he thought they were only just pap to the masses to keep them quiet and weren’t worth too much hassle over.) And we then didn’t have any alternative; we all feared a return to the old days when Labour was nearly split beyond repair. And then he resigned and left us with a collapsed party balloon anyway, god rot his soul for the sabotage his acolytes did.

    But what is Obama other than a kind of voice-over for a series of campaign commercials? What, in practical terms is he actually offering Democrats that could get them elected, that would reverse the rightward drift of Congress? Nothing, really, that I can see.

    (Obviously, there’s no way I’d write this on CiFA — imagine the flak I’d get from ngavc v2 — but well before the ACA was half way through being screwed, it looked fairly obvious that Obama. as a practical politician able to practise politics, was thoroughly unschooled and, alas, was, and is, utterly incompetent at it.)

    The enthusiasm for Obama in Europe was really, I think, because we all saw much of the world veering right, and we thought “If that bastion of capitalism really can elect a) a guy who’s black and b) a guy who is liberal with a tinge of pink, there’s hope yet that it’s temporary and reversible.

    Of course, I still believe it could be. I have to. As a friend of mine keeps saying to her husband (who was once a Tory and whom she calls a ‘born again socialist’ when a bit exasperated. we Euro-socialists are used to reversals and having to renew the battle almost from scratch again. But it does seem a shame that Obama capitulated while the opposing army was only getting its baggage together, and could have been scattered easily.

    I saw a clip from Romney’s speech last night on the CBS evening news. (If you can call it ‘news’!) Obama is probably very, very fortunate it’s going to be him he’s running against. When you see him on a bigger screen than you do watching YouTube or whatever, he is so off putting. It’s not just his wooden mannerisms or his lack of expression or mechanical smile; what is really damning visually is that his eyes sneer at you. Have you noticed?

  7. Pornstar says:

    Maybe it’s springtime, but i’m finding it hard to be arsed about politics these days. I’m looking forward to the PA primary – because i want to see Ricky get clobbered by his own state (if he makes it that long) – then i think i’m done until October.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/rick-santorum-mitt-romney-pennsylvania-polls_n_1404648.html

  8. Squirrel says:

    Anyone seen this, btw?

  9. Squirrel says:

    Pornstar:

    May be Spring where you are, we’re having another bloody winter here. . .Think we’re on our fourth this year now. Couple of weeks of Spring in January, couple of weeks of summer in March . . .And we’re in a drought. Ads on the buses all over London asking us to use less water. (I presume Thames Water’s new desalination plant out in the estuary is working overtime; it’s like the Thames Barrier that was supposed only to be needed once every few months and now goes up and down like a yo-yo.)

  10. Squirrel says:

    The ‘Death Panel’ is back?

    “To control Medicare costs, he [Obama] has created an unelected, unaccountable panel with the power to prevent Medicare from providing certain treatments. The result will be fewer treatments and services available to patients in need.”

    [Romney]

  11. Pornstar says:

    Squirrel –

    It’s spring, and way too early this year. Was a very mild winter here, and the cherries and magnolias are in full bloom now. And i’m in the northeast too. Something seems very wrong about this.

  12. MadameMax says:

    Squirrel–– Not only do Romney’s eyes sneer (and I haven’t seen him on anything other than a Youtube clip, so enlarged I imagine it must be really ghastly), but his voice is shifty-eyed. I get the creepy shivers whenever I hear him on the radio.

  13. sibusisodan says:

    Good summary, gunny. It reads like the opening salvo in a sustained offensive.

    As you’ve said, it’s not enough to say that trickle-down doesn’t work. So what’s the alternative?

  14. Squirrel says:

    Madame, it really is. I hadn’t realised until last night. They are dead. I haven’t seen eyes like that, really (except once) since my nursing days when I had to stare down a psychopath every now and then.

    (And believe me, staring people like that down when you’ve got hazel eyes like me ain’t easy. It only worked — I discovered — because of their initial surprise that they”re looking into eyes that really are mostly green that they won’t have seen very often before.)

  15. sibusisodan says:

    I haven’t seen eyes like that, really (except once) since my nursing days when I had to stare down a psychopath every now and then.

    You must have been one scary baby…!

  16. gunnison says:

    squirrel
    Good NYT link on chicken from factory farms.
    We’ve done a few pieces here about the food supply chain and agriculture (the most recent is here)— as a cook myself it’s a passion of mine anyway — and inevitably will do more.
    I’ve plopped that NYT piece on the desktop for inclusion in the next foray into that territory.

    gracias

  17. NatashaFatale says:

    Sib asks, “So what’s the alternative?”

    I have no idea but I do know some things about what it will look like if it ever shows up again.

    It will somehow persuade a majority of voters that we need a political attention span longer than the duration of one live blog. Squirrel remarked, “I saw a clip from Romney’s speech last night on the CBS evening news. (If you can call it ‘news’!)” There was a time when a network bearing that very name spoke, every night, about where we’d be in two years, six years, ten years. Not coincidentally, people absorbed that and talked about things like putting a man on the moon within a decade (just think! I may live to see it!) Now the only thing that will happen within a decade is balancing the budget with fairy dust.

    The era of instant political gratification may have started with Ronnie and Maggie but it has only grown more intense. 9/11 did not exactly help. Now wars can be fought in six weeks, even if they do actually do go on forever (but all that’s on another channel). You can dynamite the whole financial structure of the world but all it takes to restore it is confiscating somebody else’s pension and shutting down Congress, because what have they ever done for me?

    Instant gratification has moved in and taken over both parties now – oh yes it has: where have we heard, if we just dump Planned Parenthood, we’d be a lock for the next election? — and neither party alone can put an end to it. Even if one of them managed to fix itself, they’d never convince the other’s voters to be relearn patience just because the other party says so. Meanwhile, people watch the so-called news for hours on end, and never manage to quite put their fingers on what it could be that they miss so much.

  18. KevinNevada says:

    Gunnison: good article, and the most recent post too.

    Here is something: people read a lot less, even with the Internet, which promotes a quick-peek style of info-input instead of a careful sit-down reading of something. Newspapers are dying, libraries are gradually emptying except for students doing homework, and book chains are going bankrupt. Only a fraction of the adult population reads for pleasure.

    And the marketing of the books does not promote stuff that means very much. The quality of what is called “literature” is pathetic these days. A few “authors” get one thing after another printed, but only a few.

    One thing I’ve noticed: in just ten years, the sales of new real science fiction, the non-fantasy stuff, has declined at warp speed. The good authors are still being bought and sold but only in used stores, not much in new. They don’t even get shelf space in the big-box stores.

    One bit of hope, for example in this wacky city that I inhabit: within five miles of my house there are four used books stores and every one of them has a good SF section.

    But, but, but . . . . my mom is still active (at 90+!) in her ‘friends of the library’ in the conservative burg in CA where I grew up. The donated books for their sales include almost no SF at all. Some fantasy, but nothing at all involving real science (authors like Brin, or Bear, or Benford, real SF).

  19. Squirrel says:

    sibusisodan says:

    You must have been one scary baby…!

    I was very loveable . . .still am . . .but I trained as a psychiatric nurse in a secure hospital. It’s had its uses since occasionally :-)

  20. Di-Ohso says:

    Squirrel:

    That’s a seriously scary article right coming right after a link I’d just read on Facebook about margarine.

    Not sure if it’s true or not, but the guy reckoned it was originally invented to be fed to turkeys to fatten them up, but it killed them. He reckons it’s not so good for humans either.

    It originally looked like lard and was tasteless, so they added colouring and flavouring, did a bit of marketing and made/make a lot of money!

    If it’s true, I don’t feel so bad about having always eaten butter.

  21. Squirrel says:

    Di-Ohso

    Nope, it’s vegetable oil (palm oil once) and skimmed milk. Used a lot in Britain during WW2 when people used it to eke out the butter ration. (I don’t think margarine was rationed.) A lot of older people (my own grandmother being one) habitually mixed the two 50/50 for many years after the war, both for using on bread and for baking.

  22. Di-Ohso says:

    Squirrel:

    Thank goodness for that!

    I’m making my own butter these days…It’s dead easy, and a bit cheaper than store bought. I end up with butter milk as well, which then goes into a batch of sultana scones.

  23. Cochise says:

    Thanks RS

    With the fate of us working stiffs health care in the hands of the SCOTUS that tip on the chicken couldn’t have come at a better time. It sounds like a complete health care plan in a chicken fillet. Antihistamines, ibuprofen, Prozac and a little arsenic to put the pink back in my cheeks. Hell if that won’t do the trick it’s time for some country music and a pistol.

    Good things DO come to those who wait.

  24. Cochise says:

    Gunny

    It’s articles like this one that keep me coming back. I know you had fun writing it cause it’s a hoot to read. Well done, really.

    Now unless you can look out your window and see the enchanted castle with some wizards hanging out on the front porch, you might consider the possibility of an alternative outcome.

    I’m considering employing the religious rights sex policy when it comes to politics, you know, legs closed, hand over my butt and just saying no. Might look kinda snappy if the OWS crowd were to adopt it in their marches this summer.

  25. Expat says:

    Good staking of your position Gunny. Perhaps this election will be a choice between two clear alternatives honestly presented. We can but hope.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Expat:

    the contrast between BHO and The Jellyfish (now confirmed as limp, by his own dear spouse!) could not be greater.

    We know this, because the right-wing trolls infesting such places as the DB threads under Tomasky’s recent pieces are asserting, loudly, that “there is no difference“. This line of thought can only benefit the candidate who panders to power, who is for – and of – the 0.001 Percent. Those bastards have already signaled their intention to double down on the economic violence towards the rest of us. (It is called the “Ryan Budget Plan”.)

    Now, I am not sure if BHO really means what he said in this speech, and in the even greater speech he gave in Kansas a few weeks ago. But he is saying these things, and therefore, forcing a discussion of these issues, which the supposedly ‘liberal’ media barely cover as subjects in any given day. So if a candidate is talking about what really matters to most of us, well that really does help most of us.

    My feet will be on the street this October. And I live in a swing state, which just about always votes with the winner in Presidential elections. (Nevada broke that string just once, ever, in 1976.)

  27. KevinNevada says:

    Sorry, gang, mis-used the ‘captcha’ feature; that “anonymous’ post is mine.

  28. Squirrel says:

    Kev,

    he is saying these things, and therefore, forcing a discussion of these issues, which the supposedly ‘liberal’ media barely cover as subjects in any given day.

    And it looks as though the so-called ‘liberal media’ is still ignoring those issues.

  29. Bluthner says:

    It occurs to me that the President mostly only attacks Republicans when he’s campaigning, because when he’s not campaigning he’s actually trying (albiet failing mostly) to get at least SOME Republicans to vote for stuff. And when you are trying to get them to vote for stuff, attacking them isn’t ever going to be a winning strategy.

    Which might suggest that either he hasn’t noticed that the way things have developed, partisan campaigning now a.) NEVER stops anymore, and b.) is the only politics that remain in this country.

    Maybe he has finally figured out that only hope any President who is not a suited up Ryan/Norquist brownshirt has of governing in this country is forming some kind of coalition between the Democrats and the Bluedog Democrats and maybe one or two RINOs. So campaigning every day of the year maybe has less of a downside than he once thought.

  30. gunnison says:

    EP

    Good staking of your position Gunny.

    As the Prez would say —let me be clear — it’s my “position” only in the sense of what I’d enjoy seeing him do, and even that may now be too much for the present policital climate to support.

    My actual position, in terms of what I think needs to happen to avoid one hell of a train wreck for our progeny (maybe sooner), is more complex and completely heretical, especially from the perspective of an Austrian school afficionado such as yourself.
    But you knew that, of course.
    :)

  31. Expat says:

    True – I tend to have a more organic, let nature take its course view :)

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