A couple of national news items caught my attention and seemed deserving of quick comment:
Federal Disaster Aid: It always seemed that one of the bedrock values of America was that when one section of the country was hammered by a natural disaster, we all pitched in with our tax dollars to provide aid. It’s like Franklin Roosevelt said in relation to Lend Lease in the days leading up to World War Two, “if my neighbor’s house is on fire and he asks to borrow my garden hose, I’m not going to make my neighbor pay for the hose but will loan it to him until he no longer needs it.” The rapid restoration of a hard-hit region of the country to economic productivity is the payback the country receives for aid granted when in need. This approach has always worked pretty well. And that’s why it was so shocking when some in Congress have taken the position that they will not support Federal disaster relief until the amount granted in relief is matched by cuts from other areas of the budget. I can think of no other position in recent memory that illustrates the depths of the division in this country.
The President’s speech: Speaking of divisions, the fiasco that arose over the scheduling of the president’s speech next week was stunning. For those who may have missed it, President Obama sent a letter to Congress asking to address a joint session next Wednesday. Speaker Boehner wrote back “we’re busy Wednesday but you can come on Thursday.” Whatever other issues were involved – for instance did the Speaker initially give his assent and then reverse? – I blame the President and his staff. I hope he gets reelected and expect he will given the choices on the Republican side, but until Barrack Obama starts fighting and fighting hard, the economic malaise in which we’re mired will just go on and on.
Mitt Romney: As much as I dislike Romney, he seems to be the most viable candidate of the lot on the Republican side. But I also believe that there’s no way that those who control the Republican nominating process will choose him as their candidate. It’s not just Massachusetts health care. I remember the positions Mitt took when he ran for governor and when he ran against Ted Kennedy back in 1994. Those positions were quite liberal and are completely contrary to the stands he now takes in front of the infinitely more conservative Republican electorate. So was Mitt lying back then or is he lying now? What does he believe in? I guess that depends on the beliefs and expectations of whatever audience he happens to be pandering to at the time.
Michele Bachmann and messages from God: In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, it was widely reported that Michele Bachmann had told an audience that last week’s earthquake and this past weekend’s hurricane were messages from God to Washington to get its act together. Bachmann definitely said that, but I heard the audio of her speech and it was abundantly clear even to me that she was being facetious. That words such as “joking, levity, light-hearted, or facetious” were no where in any of the articles that reported her remarks did her a disservice and illustrate how pathetic the mainstream media is at doing its job.