Presidential Debates 2012

Congratulations, Lefties: Your President Obama Has Finally Turned Into Thomas L. Friedman!

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You all must be so very proud

If Barack Obama, that living apparition of what used to be called Netroots nation, indeed gets re-elected president two weeks from now, I want to mark down one delicious irony right here–he will have done so by embracing one of the single most insipid slogans by the singularly insipid (and universally Netroots-loathed) political sloganeer Thomas L. Friedman: "nation-building at home." From tonight's transcript:

the other thing that we have to do is recognize that we can't continue to do nation building in these regions. Part of American leadership is making sure that we're doing nation building here at home. That will help us maintain the kind of American leadership that we need. […]

But what is also important for us to understand is — is that for America to be successful in this region, there are some things that we're going to have to do here at home as well. You know, one of the challenges over the last decade is we've done experiments in nation building in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. And we've neglected, for example, developing our own economy, our own energy sectors, our own education system. And it's very hard for us to project leadership around the world when we're not doing what we need to do here.

But after a decade of war, I think we all recognize we got to do some nation building here at home, rebuilding our roads, our bridges and especially caring for our veterans who've sacrificed so much for our freedom.

Bolds are mine. As I wrote when the president finally succumbed to Friedman's long campaign to get his pet slogan adopted 18 months ago,

Like all vacuous Thomas L. Friedman metaphors, "nation building at home" dissolves long before contact with reality. After all, the president is not advocating "the use of armed force in the aftermath of a conflict to underpin an enduring transition to democracy." Whatever policy emanates from this soundbite will likely not be "characterised by massive investment, military occupation, transitional government, and the use of propaganda to communicate governmental policy." At least we hope.

The phrase is even more inapt than inaccurate–we do not need, and in any case cannot afford, the federal government going on a militarized spending binge to magically rebuild our civil and public institutions. […]

[And] if the rebuild-our-infrastructure vow sounds familiar, that's because Barack Obama has been demanding we do precisely that since campaigning for president, being elected president, pushing through a $787 billion stimulus package in early 2009, announcing a $50 billion infrastructure-building plan in September 2010, making his 2011 State of the Union address, and on and on. Why, it's almost as if his repeated promises to stimulate the economy by rebuilding infrastructure results in precisely neither of those things happening!

Obama's closing argument to voters tonight was yet another cut-and-paste job from 2008. You can feel the fatigue just leaking off the page:

I put forward a plan to make sure that we're bringing manufacturing jobs back to our shores by rewarding companies and small businesses that are investing here not overseas. I want to make sure we've got the best education system in the world and we're retraining our workers for the jobs of tomorrow.

I want to control our own energy by developing oil and natural gas, but also the energy sources of the future. Yes, I want to reduce our deficit by cutting spending that we don't need, but also by asking the wealthy to do a little bit more so that we can invest in things like research and technology that are the key to a 21st century economy.

Just imagine if he had ever been elected president! Or if the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress!

Win or lose on Nov. 6, one thing is for sure: Contemporary liberalism is exhausted.

NEXT: Post-Debate Poll Gives Slight Edge to Obama

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  1. Ouch.

  2. True. And much of the rest of liberalism and “progressivism” is to defend structures built by the LBJ or FDR, as designed by Kaiser Wilhelm II. The only new(ish) parts are abortion and gays. Is there anything I’ve left out?

    1. Elimination of all carbon, but otherwise that looks like a wrap to me.

      1. Right, and radioactives, too. So: opposing part of the periodic table.

        1. “opposing part of the periodic table”

          By God, you have just penned the EPA’s new slogan!

          1. careful, the EPA will run with this. What till they figure out people can drown in H20.

            1. The dangers of dihydrogen monoxide are well-known.

    2. Flying killer robots. Due to start nation building in the homeland at any time.

      1. WOW, is there anything those drones can’t do? Science is wonderful, we really live in a golden age.

        1. Drones can’t predict earthquakes. …Just sayin’

          1. “Drones can’t predict earthquakes”

            Yet, my firend, yet.

            /General Dynamics

            1. Ahh….but can they “cause” earthquakes?

              /shifty eyes – twirls moustache

  3. Win or lose on Nov. 6, one thing is for sure: Contemporary liberalism is exhausted.

    It might find its second wind in the opposition.

  4. The Nutroots has been using this “nation building at home” line since the early Bush administration. Its nothing new. I doubt Friedman created it.

    1. It was Barbra Boxer’s campaign theme in ’92. Cut the Cold War military and “spend it right here”. (Ignorant of the fact that she was a few miles from 4 major military bases.)

      1. She knew that. She did not give a shit.

        1. and got re-elected 9,654 times. Stop hitting yourself, California.

  5. “rewarding companies and small businesses that are investing here not overseas.”

    So crony capitalism is now a campaign promise?

    1. Lots of small business “investing overseas” are they?

      1. Just pretend.

  6. Now there is a dude that makes a lot of sense.

    http://www.Privacy-Wonders.tk

  7. I put forward a plan to make sure that we’re bringing manufacturing low skilled, low paying jobs back to our shores by rewarding companies and small businesses various politically connected cronies that are investing here not overseas in my re-election campaign

    I want to control our own energy by developing oil and natural gas (but not too much), but also the energy sources of the future idiotically and myopically pursue inefficient and uncompetitive solar and wind boondoggles. Yes, I want to reduce our deficit by cutting spending that we don’t need if I could ever figure out what exactly that is, but also by asking forcing the wealthy to do a little bit more bend over and grab their ankles so that we can invest in things like research and technology that are the key to a 21st century economy continue to flush money down the toilet.

    FIFY

    1. That was a big job, but you proved equal to the task.

  8. That was the best politial analysis that I read in months

  9. Sorry, Loki I was talking to you

  10. Infrastructure spending isn’t a bad thing. Lefties really aren’t that interested in infrastructure, though, or even “nation building.” They’re interested in expanding the government and entitlement spending. They want more bureaucracies and more hand-outs. They aren’t that interested in “nation building at home,” unless more government employees, more regulations, and more government dependents counts as nation building. (And I’d say it’s more nation wrecking than anything.)

    1. The free economy can handle most of the infrastructure spending. For example, if there is a bridge that needs to be constructed immediately because it is vital and millions of trucks full of merchandise will use it a private company could get a permit for, say, 10 years and charge the people who use it.

  11. Loki, dropped that gem on Facebook with your due credit and a link. Hope you don’t mind.

  12. You’re kidding, right? If Obama gets re-elected it will have had precisely nothing to do with the phrase ‘nation building here at home’ that you are for some reason obsessed with. And on a more general note: before you start calling everyone ‘insipid’, try to make an intelligent point first. Besides sounding like a college freshman, you completely miss any issue of importance and focus on the inconsequential. Please stop writing political pieces until you learn more about the world and economics. Reason.com has a lot of interesting ideas; the fastest way for them to go ignored is by pushing ideological garbage like this.

    1. Progressives will never agree with libertarian ideology because YOU HATE THE POORS. Slamming Obama for being a shiteater is the best way to lure in mainstream Republicans and then BAM SUDDENLY THE FREE MARKET HITS.

      You’ll likely never push them to full lolbertarianism (probably because that “taxation is theft” Randspergery is annoying) but you may be able to (gradually) move them toward a more, ahem, fiscally disciplined foreign policy.

    2. I repeat. There is no need for the federal govt. to do “nation building”. With some exceptions, infrastructure projects can be carried out by private companies who will finance themselves by charging those who use them. Why should a person in Miami pay for a bridge in Seattle that he will never use? “Infrastructure” is usually used as an excuse by socialist to tax and spend more.

      1. Dude, shut up. Saying that the Federal Aid Highway Act was SOCIALISM is idiotic and the exact wrong way that libertarians should approach political issues. Fact is, you’re not going to get 99% of people to subscribe to libertarianism. What you can do is encourage lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, less welfare, and fewer regulations.

        1. I was refering to the calls from Obama and the left for more “infrastructure” spending. For example, Paul Krugman thinks that the stimulus should have been bigger and that there needs to be a massive new deal or something like that. What Im saying is that if we desperately need a new bridge, then a private company can do it and charge the people who actually use it and not the whole country. In my opinion, there is a hidden message of income redistribution in those calls. Dont you agree?

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