President Obama announces recovery agenda – Jindal and the GOP trapped in time worm hole

Tuesday night President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to announce his agenda for the economic recovery and other issues that have long been put off like health care reform. Meanwhile, the GOP seem to be trapped in the 1990’s. They picked Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana to respond. He proved once again that political Republicans just plain hate America.

President Obama gave a great speech calling for fixing education, health care, and returning the US to leadership in research and development of technology.

My favorite part was:

In other words, we have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity; where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next election. A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day.

Well that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here.

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery 

and this part:

For history tells a different story. History reminds us that at every moment of economic upheaval and transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big ideas. In the midst of civil war, we laid railroad tracks from one coast to another that spurred commerce and industry. From the turmoil of the Industrial Revolution came a system of public high schools that prepared our citizens for a new age. In the wake of war and depression, the GI Bill sent a generation to college and created the largest middle-class in history. And a twilight struggle for freedom led to a nation of highways, an American on the moon, and an explosion of technology that still shapes our world.

In each case, government didn’t supplant private enterprise; it catalyzed private enterprise. It created the conditions for thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and to thrive. 

and finally:

But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma. And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American.

Of course after the speech, the Republicans decided to respond. Unfortunately they picked Governor Bobby Jindal to read the usual talking points that pretty much says “government is the problem”. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if it his remarks didn’t include outright lies.

But Democratic leaders in Congress rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make wise decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history – with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest. While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a ‘magnetic levitation’ line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called ‘volcano monitoring.’ Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC.

Governor Bobby Jindal’s Republican Address

Well there is no specific plan for a train from Las Vegas to Disneyland. Why wouldn’t buying new cars for the government create jobs? Those cars won’t just appear. They have to built by someone right? It is also ironic that Jindal would criticize a program to monitor volcanoes. Wouldn’t it be good to try to know ahead of time if one was about to erupt. That’s like complaining about the money spent for weather radars used to track Hurricanes.

All Jindal had was “tax cuts, tax cuts, more tax cuts and drill baby drill”. YAWN! That was the same platform that helped them win the White House in 2008…. oh yes that’s right they didn’t win. I also loved Jindal complaining about the $1 trillion deficit while ignoring that the GOP helped President Bush squander our surplus from the Clinton years and spend more than that on an unnecessary war in Iraq.

As David Brooks noted during the speech coverage on PBS:

JIM LEHRER: Now that, of course, was Gov. Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, making the Republican response. David, how well do you think he did?

DAVID BROOKS: Uh, not so well. You know, I think Bobby Jindal is a very promising politician, and I oppose the stimulus because I thought it was poorly drafted. But to come up at this moment in history with a stale “government is the problem,” “we can’t trust the federal government” – it’s just a disaster for the Republican Party. The country is in a panic right now. They may not like the way the Democrats have passed the stimulus bill, but that idea that we’re just gonna – that government is going to have no role, the federal government has no role in this, that – In a moment when only the federal government is actually big enough to do stuff, to just ignore all that and just say “government is the problem, corruption, earmarks, wasteful spending,” it’s just a form of nihilism. It’s just not where the country is, it’s not where the future of the country is. There’s an intra-Republican debate. Some people say the Republican Party lost its way because they got too moderate. Some people say they got too weird or too conservative. He thinks they got too moderate, and so he’s making that case. I think it’s insane, and I just think it’s a disaster for the party. I just think it’s unfortunate right now.

No wonder no current Republican in Congress wanted to give the response.