Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

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: , ,

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

  • The homeward bound open line

    I'm off to the airport for a flight home to Little Rock. See you in the morning.
    • Dec 27, 2014
  • The lonely progressives

    A Nebraska liberal writes of the plight of the lonely progressives in a state dominated by Republicans. Sound familiar?
    • Dec 27, 2014
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Opinions split within GOP on "law and order" issues. Where will Asa stand?

    The New York Times reports that some Republicans are trending away from the lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key approach to criminal justice embraced by the party's old guard, in part out of a recognition that minority votes matter now more than ever. Asa Hutchinson wants to reach out to black voters — what better place to start?
  • Humanists sue over Baxter County nativity scene. Looks like another winner

    The Baxter Bulletin reported today on a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Baxter County resident over the Nativity scene that has been erected on the Baxter County Courthouse lawn for decades by local lawyer Rick Spencer.
  • Live: Weedhorse, Flat Top Tony and John Neal Rock and Roll at Revolution (Photos)

    I arrived at The Rev Room Friday at 7:15 p.m., as a bartender was setting up for a busy night. I saw Mark Colbert (soundman) and Mark Sadler (lighting) and we talked shop a while. I saw Samantha "Sam" Allen (venue manager) and we caught up as well. Soon I met and interviewed Richie Barnard, the website coordinator for the Little Rock Scene, whose 10 Year Anniversary we were here to celebrate.
  • Here's to Hutchinson, McCain and American revulsion at torture

    On Nov. 16, 1776, Gen. George Washington stood on the Jersey Palisades and peered across the Hudson River through his telescope as the British tortured American militiamen who had surrendered and then put them to the sword. Hearing the screams of his men, according to an aide, Washington turned and sobbed "with the tenderness of a child."
  • Easy on the pay raises

    An independent commission appointed by the governor, legislative leaders and the chief justice began work last week to fulfill part of Issue 3, the constitutional amendment that eased term limits, banned lobbyist gifts to legislators (sort of) and provided a mechanism for pay raises.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The homeward bound open line

    • doigotta......we are also suffering the repercussions of those who chose to celebrate Christmas by going…

    • on December 27, 2014
  • Re: The homeward bound open line

    • Dang. This weather makes me crave a BIG Hershey bar. Either that or a bottle…

    • on December 27, 2014
  • Re: The homeward bound open line

    • Apparently the wind power transmission line has passed environmental muster. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/e… Federal regulators say construction…

    • on December 27, 2014

Blogroll

 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation