A defense of President Obama | Arkansas Blog

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: , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

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

Readers also liked…

  • Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel applauds Trump's EPA choice of climate change denier Scott Pruitt

    Dustin McDaniel gives the thumbs up to a man set to dismantle EPA regulations.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Latest Obamacare repeal bill would hit Arkansas treasury hard

    The latest effort to undo Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy legislation, would shift federal support for health coverage to a block grant system to the states. Bad news for Arkansas.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Winds, race and an open line

    • My power went out at 3:30 am this morning in the midst of one of…

    • on July 21, 2018
  • Re: Winds, race and an open line

    • I don't relish the idea of Trump's head being snapped off by hanging. Treason is…

    • on July 21, 2018
  • Re: Winds, race and an open line

    • Low-energy Drumpf. @NBCNews President Trump has arrived at his New Jersey golf club, marking his…

    • on July 21, 2018

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation