Commentary Magazine


Posts For: January 25, 2011

LIVE BLOG: ‘The Whims of the Stock Market’

What? Criticizing the stock market? I thought the stock market was effectively justifying his policies!

What? Criticizing the stock market? I thought the stock market was effectively justifying his policies!

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LIVE BLOG: ‘Excessive Spending’

He’s against it, except for his own, which was the most excessive in American history. And he’s willing to “look at other ideas … like medical malpractice reform.” To look at them. And then look the other way.

He’s against it, except for his own, which was the most excessive in American history. And he’s willing to “look at other ideas … like medical malpractice reform.” To look at them. And then look the other way.

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LIVE BLOG: Freezing Spending

The call for a spending freeze will entail “painful cuts.” Stuff Obama likes such as “community action programs” and stuff the generals and admirals like. But again, a couple of sentences later, we’re getting the weasel words: “Let’s make sure what we’re cutting is really excess weight.”

The call for a spending freeze will entail “painful cuts.” Stuff Obama likes such as “community action programs” and stuff the generals and admirals like. But again, a couple of sentences later, we’re getting the weasel words: “Let’s make sure what we’re cutting is really excess weight.”

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LIVE BLOG: Insurance

“What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition.”

How dare the industry that is defined by assessing and managing risk assess and manage risk.

“What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition.”

How dare the industry that is defined by assessing and managing risk assess and manage risk.

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LIVE BLOG: Health Care

Okay, we’re back to the old partisanship. Democrats stood and applauded Obama’s mention of his health-care law. Republicans sat in stony silence. As they should have. And the divide grows deeper as Obama continues to campaign for it from the podium.

Okay, we’re back to the old partisanship. Democrats stood and applauded Obama’s mention of his health-care law. Republicans sat in stony silence. As they should have. And the divide grows deeper as Obama continues to campaign for it from the podium.

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LIVE BLOG: Unnecessary Regulations?

Obama: “To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I’ve ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people.”

Translation: I will talk about ending regulation, but I will regulate anything that moves if I feel like it.

Obama: “To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I’ve ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people.”

Translation: I will talk about ending regulation, but I will regulate anything that moves if I feel like it.

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LIVE BLOG: The High-Speed-Rail Myth

Obama is mixing rhetoric about the Internet with talk about high-speed rail. But does anyone other than mass-transportation true believers really believe that high-speed railroads will replace or even compete with cars? This is another “investment” that can be analogized with the race to the moon.

Obama is mixing rhetoric about the Internet with talk about high-speed rail. But does anyone other than mass-transportation true believers really believe that high-speed railroads will replace or even compete with cars? This is another “investment” that can be analogized with the race to the moon.

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LIVE BLOG: Civility in the Room

The atmosphere in the room actually does seem less partisan than usual. Lawmakers who abstain from clapping or giving standing ovations are not as noticeable. That could be because of Republicans and Democrats sitting next to each other, but might also be due to the tone of the speech, which has been pretty vague/uncontroversial so far.

The atmosphere in the room actually does seem less partisan than usual. Lawmakers who abstain from clapping or giving standing ovations are not as noticeable. That could be because of Republicans and Democrats sitting next to each other, but might also be due to the tone of the speech, which has been pretty vague/uncontroversial so far.

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LIVE BLOG: Illegal Immigration

Both parties applauded Obama’s passage about immigration. I guess most Republicans were applauding his line about enforcing our laws, and most Democrats were applauding his call for allowing students who are not legal to stay. That’s the neat thing about being on both sides of the same issue.

Both parties applauded Obama’s passage about immigration. I guess most Republicans were applauding his line about enforcing our laws, and most Democrats were applauding his call for allowing students who are not legal to stay. That’s the neat thing about being on both sides of the same issue.

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LIVE BLOG: To Stand or Not to Stand?

The mixed seating is making it hard on some members to know whether they should stand or even applaud. During the passage on teachers, some seemed as if they weren’t sure whether they were applauding patriotic sentiments about teaching or veiled praise for the teachers’ unions. The rule seems to be: when in doubt, applaud, but only stand if everyone else is doing it.

The mixed seating is making it hard on some members to know whether they should stand or even applaud. During the passage on teachers, some seemed as if they weren’t sure whether they were applauding patriotic sentiments about teaching or veiled praise for the teachers’ unions. The rule seems to be: when in doubt, applaud, but only stand if everyone else is doing it.

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LIVE BLOG: Everybody Hates Oil Companies

The first true potshot from the podium was aimed at oil companies and the removal of various subsidies given them. Everybody hates oil companies.

The first true potshot from the podium was aimed at oil companies and the removal of various subsidies given them. Everybody hates oil companies.

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LIVE BLOG: Transportation

Russia has better roads than the United States?

Russia has better roads than the United States?

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LIVE BLOG: Contradiction II

This:

None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from.

And this:

We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.

Sounds like he’s decided the next big industry is clean energy, doesn’t it?

This:

None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from.

And this:

We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.

Sounds like he’s decided the next big industry is clean energy, doesn’t it?

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LIVE BLOG: Obama Is His Own Dick Morris

Stop giving tax breaks to oil companies! Let’s have lots of good energy by 2035! Help a roofer!

Stop giving tax breaks to oil companies! Let’s have lots of good energy by 2035! Help a roofer!

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LIVE BLOG: The Difference Between Genuine Investment and the Stimulus

The president’s talk about the government’s role in the race for space is intended to make the link between his “investments” in “clean energy” and that great American achievement. But unless his “clean energy” spending actually leads to something that both works and is economically viable, the analogy will break down. It’s fine to talk about electric vehicles as the “Apollo Projects” of our time. But Apollo actually took us to the moon. All “clean energy” has given us so far is the ethanol boondoggle and other projects that haven’t done the job.

The president’s talk about the government’s role in the race for space is intended to make the link between his “investments” in “clean energy” and that great American achievement. But unless his “clean energy” spending actually leads to something that both works and is economically viable, the analogy will break down. It’s fine to talk about electric vehicles as the “Apollo Projects” of our time. But Apollo actually took us to the moon. All “clean energy” has given us so far is the ethanol boondoggle and other projects that haven’t done the job.

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LIVE BLOG: Obama on American Exceptionalism

President Obama is still talking American greatness: “What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.”

Bill Kristol first noted this change in Obama’s references to America in early January.

President Obama is still talking American greatness: “What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.”

Bill Kristol first noted this change in Obama’s references to America in early January.

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LIVE BLOG: Contradiction

How does Obama square this:

Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation.

With this:

Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology — an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Sounds like the federal government will be fighting free enterprise for the wheel.

How does Obama square this:

Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation.

With this:

Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology — an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Sounds like the federal government will be fighting free enterprise for the wheel.

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LIVE BLOG: We’re Pretty Good, After All

Finally, Obama sounds impressed by his country:

Remember — for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth.

This is a welcome shift from the two-plus years of hearing about how we’re okay but nothing to brag about. Doubtless, he’s realized that the national confidence-suppression workshop gave us a complex we can now ill afford if we hope to excel.

And then this declaration of American exceptionalism:

What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea — the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That is why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here.

It’s been a long time coming.

Finally, Obama sounds impressed by his country:

Remember — for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth.

This is a welcome shift from the two-plus years of hearing about how we’re okay but nothing to brag about. Doubtless, he’s realized that the national confidence-suppression workshop gave us a complex we can now ill afford if we hope to excel.

And then this declaration of American exceptionalism:

What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea — the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That is why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here.

It’s been a long time coming.

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LIVE BLOG: Obama’s Account of Lifetime Employment

The argument that people could once expect a job for life but no longer can was a cliche at the time of the 1981-82 recession! That was 30 years ago, for God’s sake. Think of Bruce Springsteen’s song “My Home Town.” And his excitement over the possibilities facing us, which are very real, nonetheless makes him sound a little like George Clooney’s outplacement consultant in Up in the Air.

The argument that people could once expect a job for life but no longer can was a cliche at the time of the 1981-82 recession! That was 30 years ago, for God’s sake. Think of Bruce Springsteen’s song “My Home Town.” And his excitement over the possibilities facing us, which are very real, nonetheless makes him sound a little like George Clooney’s outplacement consultant in Up in the Air.

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LIVE BLOG: Yes, America Is Still Great

Obama’s rhetoric about America’s continuing greatness is welcome and very much to the point, especially in contrast to the whining about China that we hear from people like the New York Times‘s Thomas Friedman, who seems to envy its autocracy.

Obama’s rhetoric about America’s continuing greatness is welcome and very much to the point, especially in contrast to the whining about China that we hear from people like the New York Times‘s Thomas Friedman, who seems to envy its autocracy.

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