Back in 2013, I old-fartishly complained about the declining complexity of State of the Union Addresses: Obama is a highly literate and thoughtful guy, yet this speech adhered to the depressingly low standards of American public discourse. It was written at a 10th grade level, slightly below the 11th grade level of his 2009 speech, and even more below the 12th grade level of Clinton’s 1993 state of the union. At least it was above George W’s 9th grade level speech in 2001. (See here for the texts of all State of the Union… Read More
Just added to my radio archives: July 18, 2013 Kathi Weeks, author of The Problem With Work, on less work, more money • Steve Horn, author of this article, on the Obama-linked liberal foundation at the heart of public school privatization
[From my radio commentary this week.] A few words on the State of the Union address. What a plodding, tedious affair—enlivened only by its unresolved contradictions. Obama spoke against austerity—“we can’t just cut our way to prosperity,” the qualifier “just” being a tipoff that a confidence trick was being perpetrated—but quickly made it clear he wanted to cut Medicare and Social Security, lest, as he put it, “our retirement programs…crowd out the investments we need for our children, and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations.” In the euphemistic language… Read More
This is a lightly edited version of my radio commentary from today’s show. First, I should say that while I am not a Democrat, and never had much hope invested in 2008’s candidate of hope, I do think we’d be marginally better off if Obama won. One reason we’d be better off is that when a Democrat is in power, it’s easier to see that the problems with our politics—the dominance of money and state violence—are systemic issues, and not a matter of individuals or parties. That’s not to say there are… Read More
Republicans and business interests have been relentless in their whining about how B. Hussein Obama has the “job creators” cowering under a reign of terror, what with his socialist policies and hostile rhetoric. But how have the monied been voting their approval or disapproval in one of their favorite venues, the stock market? There, Obama’s approval rating looks even higher than Gallup’s version. Obama is now in the 40th month of his reign. Compared with the same spots in other presidential terms since 1945, Obama’s stock market is the third best, beaten… Read More
So it looks like Obama plans to sing from the Reagan songbook for his campaign—specifically from the “Morning in America” pages. In case you were too young the first time around, or now are too old to remember, the original went something like this: The logic is this: Reagan got re-elected during the recovery after a deep recession, so Obama can do the same. Also, Reagan whipped Grenada’s ass and Obama killed Osama. Foreign victories don’t count for much in election campaigns but economic conditions count a lot. So how bright is… Read More
I’m going to be on Al Jazeera English around 9 AM New York time discussing Obama’s jobs plan, such as it is. Watch here.
I just read this in a magazine: “Obama will also need a push from the progressive base that elected him in 2008….” Wow. Sad. Give it up, guys. He’s just not that into you.
Maybe there really is something to Obama’s background as a community organizer after all. For some reason, I picked Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals off the shelf a little while ago. I got the book years ago, when I thought I might write a piece on the unfortunate influence of Alinsky and community organizing on the American left, but abandoned the project because I couldn’t bear to read Alinsky’s prose. But as it happens, I opened to this passage, titled “Compromise,” on p. 59: [T]o the organizer, compromise is a key and… Read More
Financial Times – April 16, 2010 Republicans are in the White House From Mr Doug Henwood. Sir, Clive Crook’s call (April 12) for a revival of an old-style GOP opposition is a little strange, since Barack Obama himself is a liberal Republican. Or maybe not so liberal a Republican. Consider the healthcare bill. The individual mandate has its origins in the Nixon administration’s response to Teddy Kennedy’s single-payer bill in the early 1970s. The insurance marketplace has its roots in the American Enterprise Institute’s response to Bill Clinton’s healthcare scheme. Speaking of… Read More
More nuggets from Obama’s interview with the freshly renamed Bloomberg BusinessWeek, now under new management. The irony is, is that on the left we are perceived as being in the pockets of big business; and then on the business side, we are perceived as being anti-business…. You would be hard-pressed to identify a piece of legislation that we have proposed out there that, net, is not good for businesses…. We are pro-growth. We are fierce advocates for a thriving, dynamic free market. Some scene-setting from the piece: As Obama defended himself against charges he… Read More
[Not retrieved from the future. Most of this was delivered on WBAI last night, but the bits about the employment report and liberal disillusionment were written for tomorrow morning’s KPFA version.] Things today… Two stories on the front of Thursday’s Financial Times tell you a lot about life in today’s USA. Above the fold—a phrase that probably doesn’t mean that much to anyone under the age of 35—the lead story tells us that the Bank of America is about to pay back the $45 billion the U.S. government lent to it when… Read More