Wednesday, March 25, 2009

President Obama: Open for Questions

Update: I've had a chance to play around at this site and it's exceptional as you get to vote on which questions will be answered by the president. This is a brilliant use of "crowd sourcing" public opinion although it's unfortunate that Obama critics probably won't use the site much. Still, this is a great way to involve the public and "cut out" the media middlemen who all too often fail to ask the most relevant questions.

Would the founders have loved this? You've got to bet they would have!

In another exceptional move to open up the dialog between Government and the governed, President Obama will directly answer questions posed online at the "Open for Questions" website.

Today, the President invited everyone to use a new feature on called "Open for Questions" to ask a question about the economy and rate other questions up or down. Then, on Thursday morning, the President will conduct a special online town hall on the economy and answer some of the most popular questions and the event will be streamed on

The White House is Open for Questions from White House on Vimeo.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama critics drowning in their own drivel

Ironically there are several reasons for real and even fake American conservatives* to criticize the new President, who's policies in one sense really are betting the whole farm on a dubious economic premise - that massive redirected Government spending can lift the nation out of depression and into a major economic recovery.

Yet the flimsy attacks on President Obama typically take a personal form, perhaps because pundits assume Americans can't understand "real" issues. We might expect this drivel from slothy fools like Rush Limbaugh who has built his media empire with the same type of character assassinations he himself deserves far more than those he attacks, but now it's coming from people like Fred Barnes who are really sharp guys:

In an obnoxious piece called "Five Signs of a Flailing Presidency" I expected Fred to point out some of the dubious fiscal assumptions behind the Obama recovery plan, but no. Barnes'
five "signs" are so inconsequential as to be *completely and utterly meaningless*, leading me to wonder if Barnes secretly admires the current policies since his criticisms of them are so timid.
These read as if they are from a Saturday Night Live skit. "President engages in hyperbole" ? News Flash Mr. Fred - that's how Presidents roll, and this one does less than most.

Fake conservatives have a problem with Obama. He's honest, straightforward, and bright. If they make the Obama battleground his personal "faults" they'll lose the battle for the hearts and minds of the American people faster than you can appear on the Tonight Show. That may be a good thing but it's unhealthy to have an emasculated opposition when you face the greatest economic and international challenges since WWII.

* Fake conservatives don't believe in following the key principles of the founders that should drive true American conservatism: SMALL military, NO religion in Government, PROGRESSIVE foreign policy. Fake Conservatives pretend to want small Government but have supported massive Republican spending for decades.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Four Buffoons of the Republican Apocalypse

It's hard to imagine the frustration many smart conservatives must be feeling as Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, and Joe the Plumber rise to take the ideological helm of the Republican Party.

The prestigious Party of Lincoln has historically been a bastion of economic sophistication and the principles of the founders of our great American experiment. It has now dissembled into a motley band of knee-jerk economic and social dimwits spewing red baiting nonsense and preying on the new found extreme ideological gullibility of conventional Republicans.

Although I supported Obama for President, I've always shared many of the concerns of American conservatives about the economy, most importantly that massive government spending tends to go wrong and tends to lead to unintended, usually undesirable consequences.

More importantly I very much agree with a cornerstone idea of true conservatives (noting there are few real conservatives left in the USA). We're spending too much now and have been for decades. The founders vision has largely been undermined by both the Democratic and Republican bureaucracy. The founders feared this sort of bureaucratic class would emerge without more citizen involvement and volunteerism than we have.

Ironically the wildly successful American experiment, grounded in the ideas of personal liberty, free speech, and entrepreneurialism created so much wealth that an extremely powerful bureaucratic class developed both in government and especially in the military where we spend more than every other nation combined. Many who call themselves conservatives (but are reckless spenders and therefore no friend of the founders) suggest that big spending is called for in the military, but they haven't done any homework. The founders would not support the massive military and defense spending both parties now tolerate as part of our ongoing reckless fiscal policy.

So, how in the world did conservatism and the Republican party get co-opted by the likes of Limbaugh, Palin, Hannity, and Joe the Plumber? Do people seriously think this parade of fools represents the best America has to offer? These people represent much of the worst in our great nation - hate, opportunism, and hypocrisy to name a few items.

I think much of this lies in the popularity of the "culture wars" where hot button themes like abortion and religion are mixed with politics to incite hatred and divisiveness. Limbaugh and Hannity have made a mint off of of admirers playing on their fears and hate. They are brilliant entertainers and great snake oil salesman, but they are not good representatives of our great country.

It is painful to watch smart conservatives like David Brooks and George Will get relatively little mainstream respect while buffoons like Limbaugh soak up attention, but Republicans are now reaping what they sowed in the last election.