Obama Defends His Stimulus Package At The Energy Department This Morning

David Neiwert put this up at Crooks and Liars. There is a video over there, too. I’m glad to see Obama addressing some of the Republican obstructionist nonsense. Now if Reid and Pelosi would get on the Change bus we might be able to get something done before most of us are living in a box next to an old van down by the river.

‘Are these folks serious?’ Obama rips into stimulus-plan critics
Speaking before the Energy Department this morning, President Obama made a stirring defense of his stimulus package, and nailed his critics’ ears to the wall:

As we are meeting, in the halls of Congress just down the street from here, there is a debate going on about the plan I have proposed, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. This isn’t some abstract debate. Last week we learned that many of America’s largest corporations are planning to lay off tens of thousands of workers. Today we learned that last week the number of new unemployment claims jumped to 626,000. Tomorrow we’re expecting another dismal jobs report. On top of the 2.6 million jobs that we lost last year, we’ve lost half a million jobs each month for the last two months.

Now, I believe that legislation of such magnitude as has been proposed deserves the scrutiny that it has received over the last month. I think that’s a good thing, that’s the way democracy is supposed to work. But these numbers that we’re seeing are sending an unmistakable message, and so are the American people. The time for talk is over. The time for action is now. Because we know that if we do not act, a bad situation will become dramatically worse. Crisis could turn into catastrophe for families and businesses across the country, and I refuse to let that happen.

We can’t delay, and we can’t go back to the same, worn-out ideas that led us here in the first place. In the last few days we’ve seen proposals arise from some in Congress that you may not have read, but you’d be very familiar with, because you’ve been hearing them the last ten years — maybe longer. They’re rooted in the idea that tax cuts alone can solve all our problems, that government doesn’t have a role to play, that half-measures and tinkering are somehow enough. That we can afford to ignore our most fundamental economic challenges — the crushing cost of health care, the inadequate state of so many of our schools, our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.

So let me be clear: Those ideas have been tested, and they have failed. They have taken us from surpluses to an annual deficit of over a trillion dollars. And they have brought our economy to a halt. And that’s precisely what the election we just had was all about. The American people have rendered their judgment. And now it is time to move forward, not back. Now is the time for action.

The whole talk, in fact, was strikingly energetic, even inspiring — especially for those of us waiting to see him come out fighting against the Republican ankle-biters he has to deal with. Later on, he lashes Republicans and their talking heads for how decidedly unserious their entire approach has been:

Now, I read the other day that critics of this plan ridiculed our notion that we should use part of the money to modernize the entire fleet of federal vehicles to take advantage of state-of-the-art fuel efficiency. This is what they called pork. You know the truth. It will not only save the government significant money over time, it will not only create manufacturing jobs for folks who are making these cars, it will set a standard for private industry to match.

And so when you hear these attacks, deriding something of such obvious importance as this, you have to ask yourself: Are these folks serious? Is it any wonder we haven’t had a real energy policy in this country?

No doubt the Republicans will be howling about how this ends “bipartisanship.” Let them.

They are going to howl. It’s a given. That’s what they do.

Thom Hartmann Comments

Saw these over at Thom Hartmann’s blog

Reclaiming the Issues: Bring Back the Elites

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Friday suggested that Barack Obama is “elite” in part because Obama was wearing sunglasses:

Can Barack Obama, a man of elite education if not elite background,break into the middle class and talk regular? Can he talk to regular people in their kitchens tonight, in their living rooms?

[…]

Everybody thinks Barack is too cool. In other words, there he is with the shades, getting on the plane. A little bit too elegant, a little bit too proud of his own bearing. Is that a problem, that he’s just too cool for words. In other words, elite.

Chris Matthews is wrong. [more]

and

How Wall Street Can Bail Itself Out Without Destroying The Dollar

For Grover “Drown Government In The Bathtub” Norquist, this bailout deal will work out very well. At a proposed cost of $4,780 per taxpayer, it’ll further the David Stockman strategy of so indebting us that the next president won’t have the luxury of even thinking of new social spending (expanding health care, social security, education, infrastructure, etc.); taxes will even have to be raised just to pay for the bailout. It’ll debase our currency, driving up commodity prices and interest rates, which will benefit the Investor Class while further impoverishing the pesky Middle Class, rendering them less prone to protest (because they’re so busy working trying to pay off their debt). It’ll create stagflation for at least the next half decade, which can be blamed on Democrats who currently control Congress and, should Obama be elected, be blamed on him. [more]

Who Is Really Ahead in the 2008 Presidential Race?

I know we gravitate to and find reassurances from stories that confirm our opinions, world views and biases (confirmation bias). Having issued that caveat, I note that Mr. Nickolas also includes some of that ‘data’ stuff to support his observations and being one of those acolytes and supporters of the scientific method and reasoning hegemony that seeks to crush all things cute and fuzzy, that appeals to me. The data-based logic, not the crushing of cute and fuzzy things.

I have been troubled by the seemingly constant pundit ‘narrative’ that the Presidential candidates are essentially tied in the polls (except, see Rachel Maddow) when this election cycle, to me, feels like the incumbent Bill Clinton running against Bob Dole in 1996. My most reliable barometers are fairly close to the trunk of the family tree and they are all lamenting the imminent passing of Republican power, for perhaps a generation. (Note: Nickolas’s article was also on The Huffington Post.)

Despite Media Narrative, Obama Leads By Over 100 Electoral Votes By Independent Groups [Mark Nickolas’s blog]
With all the breathlessness over the minute movements in the irrelevant national polls, the one thing no one seems to be noticing is that the electoral map is still trending very poorly for John McCain (R).
I realize that it cuts against the media narrative right now to focus on anything that doesn’t suggest a dead-heat, but it’s quite instructive to see how the independent groups (and even right-leaning ones) currently see the state of the race through the only prism that matters — the Electoral College:

                     Obama  McCain    Margin

Real Clear Politics   322    216    Obama +106
Electoral-Vote.com    316    209    Obama +107
FiveThirtyEight.com   303    235    Obama + 68
Pollster.com          284    147    Obama +137

AVERAGE               306    202    Obama +104

[more]