Friday, August 21, 2009

Hypocrites Abound, Rewind to November, The Coming Economic Boom That Will Change Everything

All for People's Rights...As Long As They Are Our People
When liberal activists began protesting the Iraq war, conservatives condemned the protests as un-American and sought to demonize the protesters. The Bush-backers stated that protesting the President in a time of war was wrong. They condemned comparisons of Bush to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Liberals mouth-pieces, on the other hand, glorified the protests as the most true form of patriotism, a passionate expression of free speech and the very basis of Democracy. They even half-way supported the Hitler analogy -- not explicitly, mind you, but made it clear that they understood with Bush's politics how people could feel that way.

My, how times have changed.

Conservative protesters shouting down their Representatives and Senators are hailed from the right as champions of democracy and true Americans and condemned by the left as un-American and conspiratorial. This time, it is the right that is half-way supporting the Hitler analogy and the left that is calling it across the line.

Do these people just have really short memories or do they think we do?

Protests are a proud demonstration of American democracy. No one should try to stifle the airing of anyone's opinion, right or left. The right to protest should be protected, bar none.

That doesn't make protesters right. I support the right of the Klan to have a march, but I think their views are heinous. The right to speak doesn't imply the right to have me listen.

The debate would be so much more reasoned if we could agree to the principle that everybody should be allowed to protest...that it is both their right and their duty when they feel their country has gone awry. Let's instead discuss the MERITS of their protests. And in both cases, the comparison to Hitler was ridiculous and overblown.

On the merits, comparison of either George W. Bush or Barack H. Obama to Adolf Hitler is not particularly useful, because to any half-way informed person, clearly neither man is Hitler. If you believe that either one's grand ambition is to kill Jews, Catholics and gypsies to bring the Aryan Nation to its full potential and to take over Europe, please stop reading this blog right now and go back to first grade.

In the case of the right-wing protesters, please at least get your extreme analogies right. Hitler was about as far from a socialist as you can get. If you want to pick an extreme figure to compare Obama too, at least be intellectually consistent enough to pick a communist instead of a facist.

So, let's let the right's one of the few tools that the party out of power has to make their voices heard. And then let's resolve to do what we believe is the right policy.

On a realated note, I was entertained to see Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) take on protesters at his town hall. Far from the timid response that many deer-in-the-headlights Democrats have shown, Rep. Frank fought back. Some say he was talking down to his constituents. I think when somebody asks you why you support Nazi policies, you are well within the principles of decorum to ask them what planet they spend most of their time on.

It's Just Like Election Day...
The protests we are seeing are symptomatic of the great partisan divide in this country. The red states and blue states (or more accurately, red regions and blue regions) that we have been talking about this whole decade. On election day, Barack Obama won a "huge" victory by modern 7.2% of the vote. That means almost 47% of voters did not vote for him. And those percentages were a hell of a lot larger in places like South Carolina, Utah, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

For a brief period after his election, as is often typical with new Presidents, the country unified. Hopeful of the President's promise of post-partisanship, his decrying of the red state-blue state phenomenon, they looked for a new era of cooperation and solution.

Then reality set in. Democrats are Democrats because they support Democratic policies. Republicans are Republians because they support Republican policies. If we have had complete bi-partisanship, we wouldn't need two parties. The two we do have clearly disgaree on a number of major issues facing our country.

So after a little post-election euphoria, the poll numbers for President Barack Obama look awful close to how they did on election day...still favorable, but hardly a unification of the whole country:

In his monthly averages, we see a continuation of the same slide.

The real question is: will the President hold steady at near the totals he had on election night or will he continue to decline into unpopularity?

The fate of health care reform and the economy will likely determine that. And on at least one of those fronts, things are looking up.

The Coming Boom
It is completely unmistakable now...the global recession has ended. Germany, France and Japan all are growing economies again. We won't know how the U.S. economy fares in the third quarter, but I would be willing to be a substantial sum of money that it is already growing again as well. Productivity, the engine of long-term economic growth, has been shooting up over the last two years.

Yes, we face problems. Unemployment is still WAY too high, the budget deficit is WAY too large (more on that in my next blog) and consumers are still wary of spending money. But rest assured, things are going to look much better a year from now than they do today. Don't be too surprised when the economy turns if the protests get a little quieter too.

If you like this site, tell your friends. And, as always, I welcome your comments.

Next Up: A look at the deficit and debt, my thoughts on Tom Ridge's allegations and our regular update on the stimulus bill.

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