24 January 2012

When all you have is a hammer...

...every problem looks like a nail.

Mark Penn's advice to President Obama on his State of the Union Address, Opinion: Obama must bring back the opportunity society, is the perfect example of the old saw, "when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." Penn is a public relations guy and his article is full advice to push the public's buttons by paying lip service to things we believe but just aren't much good. If Obama were to go to work on Penn's Jobs 1, 2, and 3, he might raise is poll number a bit now but the effort wouldn't do American much good.
Job 1: tell America the economy is on the way back.
OK. The economy is on the way back but the truth is, it's nowhere near as good as it could be and the Republicans are the reason. They've done everything they could to ensure everything Obama did wouldn't work. If Obama tells America the economy is coming back, the Republicans won't have to bear the consequences of their obstructions and obfuscations. Better Obama should say he's managed to stop the slide toward utter collapse but much has yet to be done but, unless the Republicans are stopped, it never will be done.
Job 2: Create opportunity
Forget opportunity. Opportunity in America is dead. The plutocracy have rigged our society so that the only opportunity anyone has is the opportunity he had when he was born. We now are class-based society and even that capitalist tool, Forbes magazine, admits it. In America, The New Class-Society they say:
...social mobility in America, the latest research shows, is less than it was, and considerably less than most Americans believe.
"Why?" you might ask. Forbes continues:
Class is changing yet again, and the new incarnation of the class-society is at its most advanced in the U.S. A good education is now the most important determinate of class, and in America access to good schools--whether private or public--is increasingly reserved for the well-to-do.
So, while Penn's advice might be on the right track and what Americans want to hear, it won't work because most Americans cant' afford good educations and the Republicans never will allow the government to help them. If Obama tries to raise the hope of a good education, he'll be deceiving America. Better he should tell America the Republicans are destroying opportunity in America and, until they're gone, we'll have no more.
Job 3: the deficit.
The deficit is what the Republicans want America to talk about. It's big and it's scary. But, like most paper tigers, it doesn't have teeth or claws. The deficit is not a threat to America. The danger is believing we must ignore our fundamental problems and do something about the deficit.

America's deficit was created by bad Republican policies; Bush's tax cuts, Bush's wars and a Medicare drug benefit designed to subsidize the pharmaceutical industry not serve Americans. Once we take care of these blunders, the deficit will evaporate. Obama should lay the blame for the deficit where it belongs, squarely on the backs of the Republicans.

Mark Penn is a PR guy. He's advising the President to tell America what it wants to hear instead of what it needs to know. That's bad advice.

23 January 2012

The Dishonorable Paul Ryan

When The White House announced President Obama will release his 2013 budget one week afer the legal deadline for release. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said of the delay:
"I am deeply disappointed in this President’s abdication of leadership when it comes to prioritizing Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars. The decision to delay the release of his budget again could not come at a more precarious moment for our fiscal and economic future.."
While Paul Ryan speaks of the President's putative "abdication of leadership," the very act of criticizing the President is an abdication of his duty to his constituents. Instead of devoting his energy to creating public policy which will reverse the many outrages he and his party have committed on the American People, he has chosen to commit another.

Unlike Paul Ryan, President Obama has been working diligently and ceaselessly on the problems America faces. Paul Ryan's scurrilous attack only adds to the President's burden and delays the relief the American People deserve. It poisons the atmosphere in Washington with it's attempt to make a trivial delay seem like an abandonment of responsibility. That's outrageous and and it's unbecoming a member of the US House of Representatives. At least, it would have been in an earlier age.

At one time, members of Congress worked with each other on the problems of the American People. No more. Now Republicans seek only to promote their extremist ideology. Virtually every thing they do is designed to have the maximum partisan political effect.

Paul Ryan is among the worst of the whole despicable bunch. As Chair of the House budget committee, for instance, we might have expected him to do his best to serve all the American People. Instead, he developed a budget, his Road to Prosperity, which was a breathtaking assault on the poor, the sick and the elderly.

This attack on the President for delaying his budget, doubtless to make it more useful to the American People, was beyond the pale. It was one of Ryan's most dishonorable acts.

10 January 2012

Dangerous Ground for Rick Santorum

In New Hampshire voters put candidates to the test, GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is reported to have told a hostile questioner, "But as you know, my faith, my Catholic faith, as well as Christian faith, has a theory called 'just war' theory."

Santorum is on dangerous ground when he speaks of just war. Explicit in the Church's just war doctrine is the expectation the decision to go to war will be made only after "rigorous consideration" of strict conditions by "those who have responsibility for the common good." In other words, the decision to go to war must be made only by elected officials who have made the most deliberate and serious analysis of the situation and in consideration of their duty to the common good. That does not include war-mongering by political opportunists who are willing to pervert the tools of modern communication to achieve their personal goals.