Monday, June 16, 2014

A defense of President Obama

Posted By on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 7:10 AM

You'd be laughed out of your average Arkansas coffee shop for saying what Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times today. But, as we've said before, faith and conventional "wisdom" override facts around here all the time.

Health care reform, after a rocky start, is showing every sign of success. Climate policy is a real and bold start on a planetary crisis. And Krugman doesn't mention the booming stock market amid other signs of incremental economic recovery after the Bush disaster.

So why the poor reviews?

A larger answer, I’d guess, is Simpson-Bowles syndrome — the belief that good things must come in bipartisan packages, and that fiscal probity is the overriding issue of our times. This syndrome persists among many self-proclaimed centrists even though it’s overwhelmingly clear to anyone who has been paying attention that (a) today’s Republicans simply will not compromise with a Democratic president, and (b) the alleged fiscal crisis was vastly overblown.

… There are, I suppose, some people who are disappointed that Mr. Obama didn’t manage to make our politics less bitter and polarized. But that was never likely. The real question was whether he (with help from Nancy Pelosi and others) could make real progress on important issues. And the answer, I’m happy to say, is yes, he could.

But whatever you do, don't try to confuse the Obama naysayers with facts. Another good example was a report in the Times today on the suburbs full of transplants that helped power Eric Cantor's defeat in Virginia and seem likely to topple Thad Cochran in Mississippi. There they sit, amid suburbs full of gifts from pork barreling Republicans (think highways and waste treatment plants) and gripe about pork barreling and federal debt.

In recent decades Mr. Cochran, a six-term veteran, has used his senior status on the Appropriations Committee to make these very neighborhoods possible: He steered nearly $80 million to DeSoto County to help build new wastewater treatment facilities to meet the growing demand that has come with the surge in commercial and residential construction.

Mr. Cochran’s backers note that the earmarking of such money — now taboo in the Tea Party era — has kept utility bills in the county reasonable and prevented higher local taxes.

“People in DeSoto County, many of whom work in Memphis and have not been there very long, they don’t know about Ingalls shipyard, they don’t care about Columbus Air Force Base, Meridian Naval Air Station, the Army Corps of Engineers center in Vicksburg, the Stennis Space Center,” said former Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who backs Mr. Cochran, reeling off places and projects that mean precious little to many voters here.

This is at play in Arkansas this year. A steady diet of billionaire propaganda — issued in the name of lowering their taxes and their regulation — has convinced many voters that debt is the problem in the U.S., not lack of opportunity or infrastructure or education. They may well vote for the Just Say No candidates like Tom Cotton and Asa Hutchinson. And rue the day later.

Tags: , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (13)

Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Reality TV: Watching burglary live in LR

    A home surveillance system helped a Pinnacle Valley home owner get photos, but not immediately catch, burglars who stole two firearms Wednesday morning.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • The Trump open line.

    Here's your open line. I hear there's a new president.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • The dark roots of 'America First'

    Donald Trump employed the phrase "America First" in his inaugural speech and it's now featured prominently in a list of initiatives on the new Trump White House website. (Gone from the website are Obama-era references to "climate change."
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The Trump presidency begins with populist themes

    • That't the point, Maxifer. I am waiting, too. Some of the stuff he has talked…

    • on January 20, 2017
  • Re: The Trump open line.

    • Trump and Miss Slovenia exited the limo and walked for a block so surrounded by…

    • on January 20, 2017
  • Re: The Trump open line.

    • "Kellyanne Conway deserves a raise for guaranteeing that Trump would not be the most embarrassing…

    • on January 20, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation