The Republican presidential contender debate Wednesday evening is over and the president's big speech on the economy that followed it Thursday night is over and two things are certain.
The market remained steady, even gaining a bit, after the GOP debate Wednesday, and it is tanking once again after our president outlined his latest and greatest plan for recovery on national television Thursday night.
All morning I have listened to various commentators, some of whom are trying to cut the president some slack by saying that he said some nice and hopeful things, while the more honest among them are saying his speech was just more empty promises and blame shifting. Regardless of your point of view on his speech, which frankly, wasn't all that good even from a technical standpoint, the market is dropping like a rock today.
Yes I know that Stuart Varney says today's market problems are a response to issues in Europe, particularly Greece, but still, it seems that every time Obama speaks the market tanks.
Essentially the president said he wants to put more people back to work on roads and bridges which is great if you are in the road or bridge business. He also wants to cut taxes for everybody except the highest level producers which seems great except he wants the people who actually work the hardest and create the most jobs to pay even more, so people who pay little or nothing can continue to pay little or nothing.
On top of his negative effect on America's business climate, he also wants Congress to make his proposal into law, he wants Congress to do it right now, and once again read it later. And ... he wants Congress to figure out a way to do it!
The issue here is that Congress is not tasked with doing the president's bidding, he is tasked with making his staff do his bidding. That's not disrespectful, it's just the way our government works.
If a Congressman or Senator has an epiphany he or she is required to tell their staff to get hopping on making sure it isn't just a pipe dream. If the president sees a light bulb go on over his head, he is similarly required to tell his staff to get it done.
But if Congress determines that the president's numbers are just so much pie in the sky promises with no solid accounting behind them and won't work, guess who gets blamed? The way the president delivered his speech last night it will suddenly become the fault of Congress that the plan he outlined isn't being enacted.
He is hoping that by this time next year the voters will forget what he asked for and he will be in a perfect position to blame the Republicans in Congress for his inability to deliver on anything. His administration is one of failed policies and grandiose statements but little in the way of real accomplishments so his real task is to confuse the issues, confuse the voters and try to look good while he's doing it.
After watching the GOP debate Wednesday night, despite the best efforts of the moderators to trip up the candidates or portray them in unflattering lights, it was glaringly obvious that what Newt Gingrich said was true ... every single person on that stage is better equipped to be president than the current occupant of the White House.
Speaking of the debate, if I was running any of the campaigns except Mitt Romney's or Rick Perry's I would scream bloody murder for a better position on the stage next time. NBC put Romney and Perry in center stage, next to each other, and did its best to make the entire debate all about them, with a little window dressing from each of the other candidates.
But Gingrich was wise to them and in one of the best comments of the night refused to answer a set-up question - one of many - and called out moderator Brian Williams for his blatant efforts to get the GOP contenders bashing each other.
There were some really good moments for some of the candidates who didn't get all the air time they would have liked, including Gingrich who continues to show he really does get it, and Herman Cain who again showed a rock solid grasp not only of economics but of politics too. If Cain can't get the nomination I hope he is seriously considered as the VP running mate or perhaps a cabinet position.
Ron Paul did not have a good night in my opinion, not did Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann or Jon Huntsman. Maybe in the next debate their positions on stage can be shuffled and they will be more visible and not trying to say everything all at once.
I think the best part of the night, after Herman Cain remarked that if God requires a 10 percent tithe then the United States government should be happy with 9 percent, was the audience's response when Williams tried to corner Perry, the Governor of Texas, on that state's death penalty.
The thrust of Williams' question was whether Perry loses any sleep at night worrying if the state has executed innocent people during his terms as governor. But Williams prefaced his comment by saying how many people that is, 234 death row inmates exactly, and the audience erupted with applause and a few cheers as he was speaking. That response was obviously discomforting to Williams.
I guess some of these ever so arrogant journalists really don't understand that lots of people disagree with them and don't really care what they think. I was really proud of Perry sticking to his guns on that subject too ... no pun intended.
All in all, I believe the two nights of politics showed that when the mainstream media gets involved in running the whole show - Republicans debating and Obama pontificating - the American people lose.
Nonetheless, over the course of the two nights we got a glimpse of what might be possible in the GOP debate, and we got a good review of current reality in the White House. I don't think NBC intended either outcome.
Friday, September 09, 2011