Leave it to Jan Brewer to embarrass Arizona on any national stage given her. When President Obama came to visit Intel a day after his State of the Union address, the governor "greeted" him in a memorable photo: Her mouth angrily open and her finger in his face. Way to go, Jan! Wonder how Intel feels about its day in the sun as a high-tech employer that actually invests in America being eclipsed by you? The governor's whining on Fox "News" about Mr. Obama criticizing her book is a laff-riot. First, did she actually write this book or was it produced by the propaganda machine of which Fox is an integral part? Second, if she did write it (or even has her name on it), there's no such thing as bad publicity. Oh, to have the chief executive trash South Phoenix Rules or Deadline Man. I would be smiling — and use it as a blurb in the next editions.
Brewer's behavior no doubt plays well in places such as Gilbert and Chandler and Alabama. Outside the red precincts of reality denial, this is more confirmation of Arizona's nuttiness and National Laughing Stock/Cringe-maker. What would Barry Goldwater say? Brewer tried to claim she only wanted to give him a letter about Arizona's "comeback" (huh?) and invite him to go to the border with her (uh?), but, as the Republic reported: "It was clear from the moment they greeted one another that this would not be a run-of-the-mill encounter between the president and a local official. At one point, she was pointing her finger at him and at another, they were talking at the same time, seemingly over each other. He appeared to walk away from her while they were still talking, and she confirmed that by saying she didn't finish her sentence."
As Harry Truman repeatedly said, in various ways, You may think I'm a son-of-a-bitch, but you will damned well respect the office of president of the United States. That was then, before the party of "values." Now, to other aspects of the State of the Union address:
The abnormality of our constant state of siege did not deter Mr. Obama from saying, "Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home." Too bad that money was borrowed from the Red Chinese, while Americans were asked to make no sacrifices for two wars except to pocket tax cuts. And that "nation-building"? "We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges; a power grid that wastes too much energy; an incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world." Just like Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge! I'm inspired, especially when I see other advanced nations with high-speed rail, fast and convenient conventional rail, etc., while all we can do is pave roads and wait for housing to come back. Mr. Obama won't even fight to keep Amtrak at its present, embarrassingly low, funding. Newt Gingrich's pandering about a moon base is better than the little Clintonesque initiatives proposed by the president who shut down NASA's manned spaceflight program.
If Mr. Obama's infrastructure thinking is so 1970 (with rural broadband thrown in), his energy policy is more so. While the speech had a few bromides about clean energy, the substance — and the reality happening — is all about fossil fuels. Mr. Obama buys into the questionable assertion that "we have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years. (Applause.)." After promising to extract it safely, he made this astonishing claim: "The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy. (Applause.) " But we do: Fracking's environmental dangers and consequences are serious and more is being learned of them almost daily, by the few paying attention.
Climate change? Remember that, Mr. President? Apparently not. The environmental, economic and social costs will be huge and destabilizing. What about the national-security risks of climate change and peak oil, the two most consequential events of our future? Why do we suddenly become doves when something seems to threaten our endless single-occupancy-trip driving and sitting in traffic congestion? Climate change merited one defeated mention.
I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more. (Applause.) That’s why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and states. That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work. That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program.
What does that mean, sir? First, Lincoln started the transcontinental railroad and other internal improvements that were the forward-leaning infrastructure of their day. Second, if you're going to quote Lincoln, why not his axiom that "labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration"? And what education reform when states are slashing budgets, which especially hurts poor students in poor districts. One thing Arizona shows is the danger of the charter school racket. As for the health-care law's "reformed" private market, it has been re-formed to the extent that the insurance companies are making more money than ever, are as nasty to patients and wasteful as ever, and Americans still don't have universal health care.
Then, onto the usual inanities about taxes, most of which involve either endless tax credits we can't afford, or easy slaps at tax breaks for offshoring jobs or Warren Buffett's secretary's tax rates, etc. No real reform will come, because these are throwaway lines and the Democrats have little chance to retake the House. If they do, recall the courageous tax reforms they passed when they controlled Congress and the White House in 2009-2011. Breaks for offshoring were repealed, as were the Bush tax cuts for the richest, as was...oh, wait...
On second thought: At least Arizona wears its madness and denial right there for everyone to see.