I found President Obama's speech predictably weak for reasons well-documented by Reason collleagues at Hit & Run last night (I was cooling my heels at Fox Business Channel's New York studio, watching the address with a crowd evenly split among Dems, Reps, and libs).
But one particular GAG (guaranteed applause getter) deserves particular opprobrium: Obama's insistence that the U.S. of A. have "the fastest trains" on the big blue marble we call home.
We can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. (Applause.) From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our nation has always been built to compete. There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.
Tomorrow, I'll visit Tampa, Florida, where workers will soon break ground on a new high-speed railroad funded by the Recovery Act. (Applause.) There are projects like that all across this country that will create jobs and help move our nation's goods, services, and information. (Applause.)
Parenthetical applauses in original.
I mean, really. Bullet trains are the "infrastructure of tomorrow"? More like the last century. The bullet train fantasy is right up there with zero-calorie ice cream and pet dinosaurs, except those don't cost bazillions of tax dollars not to deliver on.
I could get behind (maybe) a project to create an army of Bullet Man The Human Bullet clones (see below). But bullet trains (let's tip our hat to the late NBA owner Abe Pollin and call them "wizard trains"), not so much (for these and other reasons).