I spent an hour or so today watching and listening to President Obama, courtesy of blackwaterdog's latest diary at Kos. Obama on the View, Obama at two auto plants in Detroit--these were briefly on TV and then talked about a little but shown no place I've seen. And the signing ceremony for the Tribal Law and Order Act probably didn't even make C-Span. But they were all interesting--and all instructive counteractives to the dominant narratives.
On the actual facts, President Obama talked about the decisions he faced when Chrysler and GM were on the verge of going out of business. He could let them fail, as many GOPers wanted. He could just give them government money, as several GOPer presidents did. Or he could impose conditions on government money, giving them incentives to streamline and change, especially so they would be in better position to compete globally with more energy efficicent vehicles.
He took that third course and it has paid off. For the first time in a decade, the Big Three are all profitable, and hiring. Some auto plants have been transformed and saved, with shifts added to meet demand. The money is being paid back. It's a very big success story, and President Obama made a strong statement of faith in the American worker. These were the kinds of events that the Recovery Act needs.
On the View, President Obama said that he was disturbed by the Endless Campaign--it used to be that there was a period of political campaigning, and stretches of time for governing, when the question was what was good for the country instead of only what was politically exploitable. He said that he can appear so calm because he takes the long view--that his job is to look out for the next generation, not the next election. And if he does that job well, the politics will fall into place when the time comes.
This is a perspective that while it may not be the entire picture is at least a very valuable if usually missing part of it. He is certainly right that our hot button politics lurches frequently--consider little more than a year ago, when the pundits were asking whether the GOPers were finished as a party. Today a poll suggests that the Dems may have turned the corner for the next election, that the GOPer surge is waning. But who knows.
Certainly GOPers in Congress are doing nothing but playing politics, as they have been since Obama took office. They've managed to squelch aid to small business and even health care for 9-11 victims. Granted that nearly all politicians are continually compromised, and many are corrupted, in both parties. As long as campaigns are financed as they are today, this is all but inevitable. But there is a difference, and it is that Dems have at least tried to solve problems and make things better, and GOPers have not.
So here is my mid-term perspective. One thing you can always count on about GOPers is that they will overreach--their arrogance quickly comes to the fore. They are riding such a wave of racism, xenophobia and simplistic pandering to the worst in the electorate, that the point of diminishing election returns is fast approaching. They will probably make some gains in November, though it will likely be much more of a mixed bag and a mixed message. Then in 2012, the country will repudiate them with President Obama's reelection, and this period of rampant insanity at the forefront will be purged.
I note also a lot of the comments to blackwaterdog's diary, their gratitude for this perspective and especially their decrying of the relentless negativity of even and especially "progressive" cable TV shows and blogs. I've noted before the fact that every outrageous statement by every Rabid Right nutjob no longer needs the rightwing echo chamber--the progressive media amplifies their message for them. It may get people angry enough to read or listen, and to contribute to progressive politicians and groups. But it just isn't healthy, and it just isn't reality.
Beginner's Mind - Finding a very nice hardback copy of Bruce Chatwin's last book in a bargain bin, a kind of miscellany of previously uncollected pieces called What Am I Doi...
5 days ago