Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jobs We Can Believe In

The landscape is bleak. We see a progression of crumbling bridges, collapsing dams, breached levees, decaying roads and desiccated farmlands. Stagnant water, wastewater, solid waste, hazardous waste. Dissolve to: abandoned homes, withering parks, collapsing schools, broken rails.

Sound like a depressing movie you don’t want to see? Neither do I. It’s no movie, it’s America. It isn’t over in two hours and you can’t walk out on it.

We have been looking at America’s vexing infrastructure—from afar and for far too long—and missing the blighted forest for the illusory trees. Ready for your close-up, America? We need a new New Deal. Yes, New Deal—the dirty words Republicans would be titillated to hear and Democrats are afraid to say even under their breath.

Accepting the Democratic nomination for the presidency (July 2, 1932), Franklin Delano Roosevelt mentioned a New Deal for the American people for the first time. While depression-struck Americans in soup lines blamed their suffering on an alphabet soup of villains they identified as the three Bs—brokers, bankers, and businessmen, FDR set his sights on what he defined as the three Rs—relief, recovery and reform, the latter to alter and improve the financial system to preclude another economic collapse. He took to the radio to talk to the American people—to allay their fears, to rebuild their confidence, to explain what went wrong and how it might be corrected. Heartened and assured by the president’s “fireside chats” as if he were speaking individually to every man, woman and child, a needy nation eagerly waited for and welcomed them. Worth noting: the New Deal and its programs, as The Library of Congress “Learning Page” points out, “set a precedent for the federal government to play a key role in the economic and social affairs of the nation.”

In his State of the Union speech just two weeks ago, President Obama cited “the times that tested the courage of our convictions…” Like the Great Depression. He continued, “And despite all our divisions and disagreements, our hesitations and our fears, America prevailed because we chose to move forward as one nation, as one people. Again, we are tested. And again, we must answer history's call.” He subsequently added, “…it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength. And tonight, tonight I'd like to talk about how together we can deliver on that promise. It begins with our economy.” The president pledged to make “a million jobs the overwhelming priority for the coming year.”

We are privileged, I would even say blessed, to have an educated, articulate man for president. So what does the opposition hear? House Republican leader John Boehner called the president’s goals “job-killing policies.” I quote Bertrand Russell: “A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”

So, only yesterday, as the New York Times reported, President Obama and Republican leaders seemed to agree the two sides “might be able to work together [on] jobs creation.” But before you could say “brain-dead,” those “leaders” voted to block the president’s choice for the National Labor Relations Board. Labor, as in work! The same people who think Democratic is a three-syllable word ending with a “t” must think jobs and labor are antonyms, not synonyms.

Who could object to creating jobs, reducing unemployment and rebuilding America? We know who.

Maybe the solution to the Republicans' inability to grasp a thought as vital as this one is to write “jobs” on the palms of their hands.


  1. The instant I received a notification about your most recent entry (which I agreed with, thoroughly), I was glancing over my final draft of 5 Widely Believed Facts About WW II (That Are Bullshit) for (which should be online momentarily). One example that struck a particular chord with me personally was the entirely baseless and politically-motivated smear that FDR deliberately allowed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to galvanize support for war. I do not know if this section made the final cut, but I am willing to risk sounding repetitive on an worthy subject. The crux of this "bullshit" issue was that it was nothing more than a callous partisan move supported by Congressional Republicans and GOP presidential candidate Gov. Dewey (of our own New York, no less) to use against FDR in the 1944 elections. Although Army Chief of Staff Gen. Marshall repeatedly made it clear that these rumors were baseless and, more importantly, dangerous to the war effort (at the time, Japan did not know their codes had been broken), it took more than several attempts for Dewey to eventually scrap his plan to use this lie in his campaign.

    This is what disheartens me: how the Republican Party is willing to go to "win the day" through the slow-death of their adversity, even if it means at the expense of their own people. I have put my fullest faith in President Obama, and have repeatedly held out hope of a bipartisan cooperation between Democrats and Republicans; a second "Era of Good Feeling". Unfortunately, this seemed too bold for modern times, or at least too "arrogant" for beltway Republicans. Every time I see the Democrats reach across the aisle to offer their peers an olive branch, it is the Republicans that repeatedly meet them with a bayonet through the heart.

    We do need a second New Deal, and I believe the GOP will stop at nothing to see it killed. Why? Because they have made their own citizens into their enemies, and will stop at nothing to see them fail. This is a dangerous form of politics that I can find no possible merit in. If these people are dead-set on sabotaging the country they swore to serve, then I believe they can truly be classified as domestic enemies to the US Constitution, and should play no further role in its implementation for the general welfare of citizen or state.

  2. Brilliant post Ray - I especially love the Russell quote - and I fully second Jacopo's comment. The President knew it would be like this - he warned us about it over & over.

  3. Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. Will Durant

    Good to see so many educated progressives here :)

    Elsa die Kuh

  4. Back in those days, the national media wasn't dominated by one party's spin vs. the other party's spin. It was simply... reporting what was, and our elected leader reaching out to his people and quieting their doubts. Can you imagine how little would actually be accomplished if there was a Fox News equivalent going out of its way to discredit everything that FDR was trying to say? If there were that, Dewey's comments would have been welcomed and repeated every hour on the hour until the right amount of people believed them...

  5. so are we devolving GHWriter? so depressing.
    good to see, yes Elsa :)

  6. I hate to say it, but maybe we are. We have different news outlets telling us if we should be happy or upset depending on what side of the spectrum we're on, we have cars that parallel park themselves, we have cell phones that ensure that we never have to memorize another phone number again and we now have celebrities that don't have to do anything to be celebrities. It is kinda depressing. Sorry to bring the mood down...

  7. Progressive ideals haven't worked in 100 years. Including the failure of the new Deal. In 1933 unemployment peaked at 24.% and for most of the New Deal remained between 14-17%. Upon entering WWII it dropped to 9.9%. (Elsie is a statistics cow).At the end of the war it peaked again but by then (Thankfully) Roosevelt was dead and private industry was welcoming back GI's with new construction and industrial jobs. We do not need more givernment (Yes Jakey I said it GIVE in place of gov, because the last thing the moronic collective in Washington does is govern, but they sure do a lot of giving). What we need is for Pelosi, Reid and the Obamanation in the White House to pick up shovels and learn what so many Americans already know: This country was not built in the minds of progressive intellectual idealists, it was built on the backs of hard working people with a dream to be free. Don't feel the down mood GHW! Join those of us who have hope, not the false hope of the false prophet in the White House, but the real hope of the profit of the labor of good men and women all across the country who stand up for their beliefs. Let not your heart be troubled, the end of progressivism is nigh.

    Elsie, in the mooooood for flowers :)

  8. Elsie how quaint! Do you have health insurance?

  9. "We do not need more givernment (Yes Jakey I said it GIVE in place of gov...)" Like when our previous "elected" President decided to GIVE us all $300 checks without considering where the money would be coming from? Like when he decided to GIVE us another check further into his second term? Like when the Democrats successfully stopped him from GIVING our Social Security to Wall Street, which would have GIVEN them even more of our money that would have been gone? Just had to ask.

    It's safe to say we're agreeing to disagree about the future of progressivism, because I believe in the very core of what progressivism is, and you can see it right in the word itself: progress. Moving forward and constantly doing everything in our power to make this nation today better than what it was yesterday. (Except for remakes of movies, but that's for another category altogether.) This is something that we ALL should strive for, and a group that is cheering for the end of that belief is not a group I would care to be invited to join.

    Oh, and as for that previously "elected" President that I mentioned before, he and I have stood on opposite sides of the spectrum but when the time comes for him to leave, I wouldn't say that he was "thankfully" dead.

  10. Why be thankful for Mr. Bushs' death? Ya'll have been killing him since he left office. Like Sean Connery says to Harrison Ford at the end of "The Last Crusade" Let it go. That said, I TOTALLY agree with the points on givernment whether Obama does it or Bush does it. Mama always said that two wrongs don't make it right. Spending more money to reduce out of control spending though, is not "progress" it is pure idiocy. 43 Presidents never bowed to world leaders, that the 44th does it is not progress it is a troubled sense of foreign policy. A health reform bill ( which is absolutely necessary ) that inflates the size of givernment by 161 agencies bloating a federal bureaucracy that already suffers from givernment obesity is not progess it is dieased with the arrogance of power. On and on, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. I do however, fully agree with the assessment about movie remakes; unless of course they are all done in the spirit of Mel Brooks.

  11. must be you did'nt see nixon bowing huh oh ya republicanit did'nt happen

  12. Elsie says....

    Je suis ni républicain ou Democrat. Je ne sers aucun maître mais lui qui a créé tous.

    Mr. Nixon and the Emperor of Japan bent slightly at the waist, heads level, eyes meeting, a sign of mutual respect. Mr. Bush Sr. kissed the Saudi King on each cheek a greeting in Middle Eastern countries that indicates friendship. Mr. Obama bowed so deeply that it was viewed internationally as a sign of capitulation and subservience.