Monday, October 15, 2007

Fixing to see what they call a fiscal showdown in Washington

In a news-humor podcast, John Oliver of the Daily Show suggests that Bush should get the Nobel Peace Prize for the usefulness of Turkey to the Iraq war having retroactively made the Armenian Genocide never happen.

Bush gave another speech on economics today, in Rogers, Arkansas. He had to. “One of the things the President has to do is travel around the country explaining the situation and why things are happening, at least from my perspective. I’m looking forward to explaining it.”

He also explained his job: “The job of the President is to make sure that we don’t overspend, and at the same time keep taxes low.” Just like it says in the Constitution. But some people don’t like that: “Now, that’s not what the leadership in the Congress wants me to do. ... And so you’re fixing to see what they call a fiscal showdown in Washington.” What form will that fiscal showdown we’re fixing to see [note to White House transcriber: surely that should be “fixin’ to see”?] take?: “So I’m looking forward to getting back to Washington and remind people in the United States Congress that they said they were going to do a better job with getting these bills to my desk, and I’m going to remind them they hadn’t got one yet.”

Bush, 10.15.07   1

He said that while he vetoed S-CHIP, there’s still Medicaid: “So if you hear rhetoric out of Washington saying we’re not taking care of poor children in America, they’re just not reminding you of the fact that because of your generosity, we’re spending $35 billion a year.” I so hate it when he talks about government spending like it’s an act of charity and its recipients are second-class citizens.

Bush’s rhetoric about S-CHIP contains more outright, easily disprovable lies than just about any other subject. He did not support the program when he was governor of Texas, he tried to cut it back. The current bill doesn’t really extend eligibility to families earning $83,000. Which he contrasts with 500,000 children who are eligible for the program but aren’t in it, as if he has ever done or proposed anything to remedy that.

Then it was on to the Q&A. First question: where could the questioner’s 15-year-old look for truthful information about candidates, programs, etc. That’s a really interesting question, isn’t it? Goes to the basis of what it means to be an active citizen. Bill Clinton would have loved this question and spent 20 wonkish minutes answering it. Bush: “I guess if I was advising a 15-year-old child where to seek the truth, I would say go to your mother and father, is where I would ask them to seek the truth. (Applause.) And that’s really one of the questions our society faces: Will a mom and dad be available for a child? Now, we all have different views of the truth; that’s fine, I understand that. But the most important responsibility for a mom and dad is to really love that child with all their heart and all their soul and all their might.”

Asked how roads will be funded when increased fuel efficiency standards reduce the amount of gas tax collected, he called for building toll freeways for trucks parallel to all the existing freeways.

On No Child Left Behind, IN OTHER (INCREDIBLY CONDESCENDING) WORDS: “I don’t think it’s too much to ask -- unless you don’t believe every child can read, has the capacity to learn to read, I mean. In other words, if you believe certain children can’t learn, then I can understand why you support a system that just shuffles them through.” Indeed, he says, under NCLB, “that achievement gap is beginning to grow.” I assume he meant to say shrink. And as long as I’m quoting Bush talking in an ill-educated fashion about education: “I believe it’s necessary to make sure we got a educated group of students”.

“There are not a lot of Americans who want to pluck chickens,” he sagely informed one questioner. “But if you find somebody who’s got a hungry family, it’s amazing how hard they’ll work,” making his guest-worker program sound really just incredibly sinister.

IN OTHER WORDS: “And on the one hand, that means finding these people before they come and hurt us. In other words, defeat them overseas so they can’t come here to hurt us.”

Bush, 10.15.07   2

Asked about Burma, he said Aung San Suu Kyi is “a classic example of why the world needs to work together to help save society.” He IN OTHER WORDSed on the subject: “Sometimes international bodies are non-consequential. In other words, they’re good talking, but there’s not a consequence. At some point there has to be consequences.” However, “sanctions don’t mean anything if we’re the only sanctioner.”

Evidently, “the quality of health care in America is fabulous compared to the rest of the world. It really is.”

HE CAN STATE HIS POLICIES SO CLEARLY BECAUSE HE HAS SUCH A FIRM GRASP OF THEM: “I believe government ought to incent people to go -- to be able to have available -- ought to incent -- ought to change the system to make sure an individual can get into the marketplace and be able to better afford private insurance. Rather than help people through public policy -- government programs, is to encourage people through private insurance.”

I’LL BET YOU’D LIKE TO HEAR THAT IN OTHER WORDS: “Either way, it’s all intended to get people into the private markets. In other words, the incentive has got to be not to be part of government.”

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