There was nothing big, like tax reform or entitlement reform. There was no comprehensive effort to restore trust in government by sweeping away the tax credits and special-interest schemes that entangle Washington. Ninety percent of American workers work in the service economy, but Obama spoke mostly about manufacturing.Of course, the esteemed David Brooks doesn’t provide sourcing for this claim (figures). However, I think the following should be noted from here…
Instead, there were a series of modest proposals that poll well. In that sense, it was the Democratic version of Newt Gingrich’s original “Contract With America” — a series of medium-size ideas with 80 percent approval ratings.
The truth about the fabled Contract With America is much different than (the portrayal by Jeffrey Goldberg in the New Yorker) in fact, he is propping up a thoroughly discredited bit of revisionist history. Rather than being the catalyst for the Republican’s 1994 victory, as many reporters have since portrayed it, the Contract with America actually made its debut only six weeks before the 1994 election, which makes its effect on the outcome a debatable proposition.From what I read of these things, apparently Willard Mitt Romney is getting plenty of help from the Repug establishment in deflating the candidacy of Baby Newton Leroy (and some corporate media support too, including this shocking bit of actual reporting from Brooks’s co-worker Sheryl Gay Stolberg). So try as BoBo might, somehow I don’t think all the king’s horses and all the king’s men are going to put the disgraced former U.S. House speaker back together again.
What isn’t debatable is that, back in the days before the 1994 election, the Contract’s celebrated “drama and clarity” was lost on the majority of Americans. The fact is, according to an article that appeared in the December 1994/January 1995 issue of Campaigns & Elections, “very few voters were even aware of this contract during the election: just 31 percent had heard of the Contract in a late October  NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
“Moreover, very few Republican candidates ran television ads promoting their signing of the contract, while scores of Democrats ran commercials attacking their opponents for supporting a proposal that would endanger Social Security and Medicare.”
Similarly, a poll taken by New Jersey’s Star-Ledger in Febraury1995 found that 55 percent of New Jersey residents polled “have not read or heard much about” the Contract. The poll also found that “Among those who voted Republican, 55 percent say that the Contract with America was not a reason why they selected their candidate.”
President Obama's State of the Union address was disgusting.Umm…here is more context on what Obama actually said…
The president began with a moving tribute to the armed forces and their accomplishments. But as he has done many times now, he celebrated martial virtues not to rally support for the military, but to cover himself in glory -- he killed Osama bin Laden! -- and to convince the American people that they should fall in line and march in lockstep.
He said of the military: "At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They're not consumed with personal ambition. They don't obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. Think about the America within our reach."
That is disgusting.
What Obama is saying, quite plainly, is that America would be better off if it wasn't America any longer. He's making the case not for American exceptionalism, but Spartan exceptionalism.
Think about the America within our reach: a country that leads the world in educating its people; an America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs; a future where we’re in control of our own energy; and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded.Doesn’t sound so “disgusting” after all, does it?
We can do this. I know we can, because we’ve done it before. At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known.
My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the G.I. Bill. My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.
The two of them shared the optimism of a nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism. They understood they were part of something larger, that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share: the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.
The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
Of course, this is in keeping with the predictable right-wing bloviation on display here…
And does Jonah have a problem with the “within our reach” language? If so, here are more examples from another president (and I’m not checking on Number 43’s veracity here, it should be noted, only the wording)…
For Americans who now purchase health insurance on their own, my proposal would mean a substantial tax savings — $4,500 for a family of four making $60,000 a year. And for the millions of other Americans who have no health insurance at all, this deduction would help put a basic private health insurance plan within their reach.And by the way, do you want to know how our pal Jonah rose to prominence to begin with? Check this out…
It is in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply — and the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power — by even greater use of clean coal technology ... solar and wind energy ... and clean, safe nuclear power. We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol — using everything from wood chips, to grasses, to agricultural wastes. We have made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies in Washington and the strong response of the market. Now even more dramatic advances are within reach.
Goldberg's career as a pundit was launched following his mother Lucianne Goldberg's role in the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, when he wrote about the "media siege" on his mother's apartment in The New Yorker.And Goldberg is the one telling us what is disgusting?
Goldberg has spoken of his mother and the Lewinsky scandal:
My mother was the one who advised Linda Tripp to record her conversations with Monica Lewinsky and to save the dress. I was privy to some of that stuff, and when the administration set about to destroy Lewinsky, Tripp, and my mom, I defended my mom and by extension Tripp... I have zero desire to have those arguments again. I did my bit in the trenches of Clinton's trousers.
"If there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation, and not in Joe Paterno's response."And of course, the remark earned a standing ovation.
Oh, so the investigation is the villain? Not the alleged child-raping activities of Jerry Sandusky, one of Paterno’s coaches? Not “Joe Pa” himself either, of course, for turning the matter over to the trustees and not going public MUCH earlier when the trustees apparently sat on their hands?
Please read this about Nike from October 2009, particularly the following, to understand how Knight allowed those in his employment to be abused, perhaps in not quite as horrific a manner as some of those under Paterno’s charge were abused, but still bad all the same…
… because of the pressure that was placed on Nike by consumers, women workers no longer have to prove they are menstruating to get their legally guaranteed leave. Also, workers are no longer beaten with machetes or threatened at gunpoint for union organizing activity.I’m not going to try and equate Nike’s business practices with the recruiting and coaching activities of Joe Paterno, since I believe there is no comparison. What I’m saying, though, is that, given all this, Phil Knight has no right whatsoever to try and claim the moral high ground here.
However, while we have seen the progress mentioned above, we still have no movement on the two most important issues - Nike workers are still being paid a poverty wage and Nike still refuses to bargain with their workers in good faith.
So, when it comes to demonizing the accusers of Penn State, including Joe Paterno, I have the following advice for Knight: Just (Don’t) Do It.
(Sorry – too easy).