Everybody, it seems, wants to believe Obama isn't a corporate puppet sell-out. Bob Herbert, who has been very tough on Obama's willingness to give Wall Street anything it wants while refusing Main Street more than the absolute minimum of what it needs, "finally" hears what he's been wanting to hear for a long time.
On Labor Day afternoon in Milwaukee, President Obama finally began to vigorously push the kind of high-profile, rebuild-America infrastructure campaign that is absolutely essential if there is to be any real hope of putting Americans back to work and getting the economy back into reasonable shape over the next few years.
a speech that was rousing, inspirational and, at times, quite funny, the president outlined a $50 billion proposal for a wide range of improvements to the nation's transportation infrastructure. The money would be used for the construction and rehabilitation of highways, bridges, railroads, airport runways and the air traffic control system.
Mr. Obama linked the nation's desperate need for jobs to the sorry state of the national infrastructure in a tone that conveyed both passion and empathy, and left me wondering, "Where has this guy been for the past year and a half?"
After noting that nearly one in five construction workers is unemployed, Mr. Obama told the crowd, "It doesn't do anybody any good when so many hard-working Americans have been idle for months, even years, at a time when there is so much of America that needs rebuilding."
The U.S. once had the finest infrastructure in the world, he said, "and we can have it again."
I luv it when Barry promises shit like this. He always sounds so sincere. But somehow it just never really materializes, you know? I mean, we heard all this during his campaign and periodically afterward but most of the so-called "stimulus" money meant for infrastructure improvement hasn't been dispersed. Some $700M, a drop in the bucket compared to the nearly $3T ladled out to Wall Street, is still sitting. In a bank. Earning interest. For the bank, probably.
IOW, Bob wants very badly to believe in Barry but unfortunately Barry has a history that makes him hard to believe. We've heard all this before. It wasn't true then and it most likely isn't true now. David Dayen at FDL isn't saying outright that BO is lying his ass off - he left that to me - but he's fairly clear that BO's swell speech seems to promise a lot more than it actually would deliver. (H/T Mark)
Taking on a populist tone in advance of midterm elections that look gloomy for the party in power, Obama said that "for generations, it was the great American middle class that made our economy the envy of the world. It's got to be that way again." He denounced the trickle-down theories of the past, the policies of "rewarding greed and recklessness," and put forward the infrastructure strategy as part of a "new foundation" for economic growth in the short and long term. While he said that the Recovery Act kicked off these investments, in areas like the smart electrical grid and broadband Internet rollout and high speed rail, one in five construction workers remain out of work "at a time when there is so much of America to rebuild."
Later in the speech, Obama engages in some fiery rhetoric, specifically saying Republicans are running on "No We Can't", specifically charging that they would rather score political points than solve problems, specifically echoing Ted Kennedy: "what is it about working men and women that they find so offensive?" He's definitely in campaign mode, actually mentioning who broke the economy ("I'm not bringing this up to re-litigate the past; I'm bringing it up because I don't want to re-live the past") and saying they have no new ideas to offer but tax cuts for millionaires and ending of all regulation. He added a nice little rousing slogan at the end, saying that Americans don't quit and "we will rise or fall together - as one nation, and one people." All very inspiring.
The reality of what he's running on is quite a bit smaller than the campaign rhetoric.
Read the post for specifics of why, the point is this is the same old New Democrat kabuki. Make the promises before the election, after the election you do nothing to fulfill those promises, then in the next election you make the same promises all over again, blaming the GOP for your failures. It's a humdinger of an election strategy, a win-win for everybody who counts and the peasants take the brunt of the hits, as usual.
So why are we still listening to this crap and responding as if it meant something? Once the mid-terms are done, it will be as if this "program" never existed. Which, of course, it didn't.