Matt's opinion

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Part 2 of 2

Because this will post on top of the start to this post, go read the bottom one first. It'll start making sense when you get to the end of it.

I'd like to take a few minutes to discuss the State of the Union address given by President Bush this past Tuesday night.

Did anyone else notice that the President didn't have that same cocky attitude he always does? The pundits all say he sounded conciliatory (sp?), but I think it was something else. I think he sounded like an animal who just got shot in one leg and was limping around patheticly to try and gain sympathy and sound strong at the same time. He did however continue to beat the issues of Iraq and the NSA wiretapping like the now dead and rotting horse he always does. The bright points of the speech, I thought, were his proposals for 2 initiatives: creating more AP math and science teachers, and creating viable alternative energy options in 6 years.

I have the most problems with the second initiative. First, setting a goal for beyond your Presidency is such a cop-out. Do what you will now, you can't set policy for after you've left because inevitably the next guy comes in and doesn't follow up, so you're creating expectations you can't reach from the start. Second, if the President really wanted viable alternative energy options he could have put them in his energy bill that got passed last year. Oh wait, that energy policy was written by the very oil and gas companies the President now says we're addicted to. One other thing, coal is not a viable alternative energy source. We currently use quite a bit of coal in this country and getting away from it will be just as difficult as petroleum. I don't think this initiative will get beyond some appointed council recommendation (that will be ignored), if it gets that far.

The first initiative sounds like the most promising to me. Of course I'm a little biased towards the need for more better paid teachers. I think it will fail for two reasons:
1. The No Child Left Behind act crippled state and federal budgets, so there's really no money left to hire anyone without new grant money that will be available over the long term, which leads to my second reason...
2. Because Bush wants his tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans made permanent the funds for long term grants, or overall education for that matter, just isn't there without cutting something else. Bush is already signing a law this week that will cut college student loans and Medicaid. The point is to spend money more wisely in education, not just blindly cut programs.

I could go on for hours about the speech, but I want to cut that off and talk about the Democratic response. The response was given by the new Gov of Virginia Tom Kaine. I was disappointed as soon as the speech started, when he described his missionary work in some country I don't care about. The American people aren't idiots, you're just trying to pander to conservatives because it worked in your campaign for gov. The Democrats don't realize that these opportunities to speak to America should be without campaign slogans, like "We can do better".

The Democratic message overall was much stronger than it has been in recent weeks, criticizing the President in a much more moderate tone. The problem is, as always, that the speech didn't come up with any counter proposals to help move the nation forward. How will Democrats do better? The answer isn't the typical diatribe about healthcare or outsourcing or social security it's relating those issues to everyday people and not using campaign slogans while doing it.

If I were a Democrat running for office this election year here's what I would do:
-Talk about the contradictions in Republican Policy
-The need for better education and the cuts in education funding
-The failed Medicare Part D role-out that has confused so many seniors and looking at how to make individual state options simpler
-The mismanagement of Katrina (NOT mentioning the word crony)

-Talk about how to fix the problems in the country:
-It's all about education. Get rid of No Child and replace it will more comprehensive program or just fully fund No Child
-Create a personal interest in rebuilding the Gulf Coast
-Reform Medicare Part D to more equal coverage between plans available in a certain state and then let companies compete to provide those standards at the lowest cost
-Start a real alternative energy program, don't just talk about it. Start investing in hydrogen cars and make deadlines for their incorporation into the market. Get the US automakers involved to create jobs. Make money available through the SBA for loans to people starting businesses in related jobs like gas stations that need to convert fuels, auto parts manufacturers, engineering firms and city planners to look at risks/infrastructure concerns.
-Biggest of all: NO GAY MARRIAGE TALK, the public just isn't ready yet. This will take up time from talking about more important issues

If you don't have a plan then you don't win. It'll be fun to come back in November and see how my strategy played out.

Any comments?

2 Comments:

  • comments? sure! Ones that dont' hit below the belt? uh...well, we'll try. (and for the record, i didn't mean Matt's belt, i meant the gov in general).
    First off, I didn't watch the state of the union, so i can't comment on all. Why didn't i watch? Well, I decided watching "The Island" would be a much better use of my time (I was right). Matt, I think you would enjoy this, amazing writing. Kinda a "1982" spinoff if you look at it from the right angle. Acting could've been better, but still a good flick. But that's for post 1 of 2. Ahh, reeling myself back in....
    Anyway, just going off matt's responses to it, i have to offer one small disagreeance: The 6 year energy goal. Should it have been done before? yes. But either way, the reason he is instituting it with a way to effect the other presidencial term is because deep down he (bush, whoever lobbied enough, etc- Matt, that was a joke, calm down about the lobby thing) feels that it is something highly important that should be started immediately. It just takes more than 2 years to implement. It may very well be him trying to leave a positive mark on his final term, but either way, the energy situation is not something that should be left up to becoming someone's campaign "promise" or for someone else to implement as they see fit.
    Think of it this way. You're going to retire. You know you're on your way out, there's no stopping it. But then you see that a few years after you're gone your company that you care about (he may have made bad decisions in the past, but to say he doesn't care about America is false) will go under. That is unless you implement a plan that you feel will work. Can you leave it to the next guy to fix? sure. But what if he can't fix it? You have the way to solve it, why not implement it now and make it so when the next guy comes in, all he has to do is maintain the current plan to keep the company prospering. Wouldn't that be better?
    Back to you, Matt
    -Justin

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:43 PM  

  • Justin says- this just applies all too well:

    "The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. "
    -Dave Barry

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:42 PM  

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