Tuesday, July 26, 2011

So the President Gave a Speech Last Night

The transcript of Obama's speech is here. I liked this part:
Most Americans, regardless of political party, don't understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask a corporate jet owner or the oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don't get. How can we ask a student to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries? How can we slash funding for education and clean energy before we ask people like me to give up tax breaks we don't need and didn't ask for?

That's not right. It's not fair.
And I liked that he made the point it's Republicans who are refusing to compromise. But that's about it. Because the point I believe he ought to be making is that AUSTERITY IS GARBAGE. But instead it's all about how we've got to wear grown-up pants and tighten our belts and eat our peas and get real about our spending, oh noes deficits, compromise and bipartisanship, because no one remembers Americans "who held fast to rigid ideologies and refused to listen to those who disagreed. ... We remember the Americans who put country above self, and set personal grievances aside for the greater good. We remember the Americans who held this country together during its most difficult hours; who put aside pride and party to form a more perfect union. That's who we remember."

Yeah, I'm not actually sure that's true. I don't remember Rosa Parks or Harvey Milk for their ability to compromise with the people who disagreed with their "rigid ideology" about their right to exist as equal human beings in a country that promises that equality. I get that Obama wants his legacy to be as The Grand Compromiser, but that is not the only sort of person this nation remembers.

Or needs.

Anyway, Boehner gave a rebuttal (sure), the transcript of which is here, and, spoiler alert, it's garbage. I can't imagine his attempt to make Obama look like the unreasonable one is going to get any traction with anyone who doesn't already reflexively hate Obama and presume bad faith at all times.

This isn't going to end well for any of us, because we are not a nation in need of austerity; we are a nation in need of spending to promote job growth and infrastructure renewal and energy independence.

But I think, and hope, that it's really not going to end well for the Republicans, and deservedly so. It doesn't bode well for them that this morning the Times editors have penned a piece titled "The Republican Wreckage" which begins with the stark line: "House Republicans have lost sight of the country's welfare."

Indeed.