Gates and Boehner: Two very different ways of saying it

Often it’s not what a person says, but how he or she says it.

Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest people in the world — a person who builds things — says it one way.

John Boehner, one of the most powerful elected government officials in this country — a person who fights for his argument — says it another way.

They’re talking about the same problem.

Gates is effective, calmly stating the problem along with wisdom and confidence that the problem can be solved, and a proposal for what needs to be done.  What’s at stake for him is the next generation.

Boehner is looking backwards, distorting, and blaming.  He appreciates the problem mostly as a handy knife with which he can stab the opposition over and over again.  He focuses on the emotion, without offering realistic hope for a solution.  What’s at stake for him is the next election.

Gates is being honest, so there’s hope in what he says.

Boehner is being less than honest by selecting certain examples and blowing their importance out of proportion, in order win favor. There’s fear in what he says.

One of them speaks to large group of fully energized people.

The other speaks to an empty room.

Fox News vs. MSNBC. Who has more Education?

Sometimes I wonder.  Is it me, or is it them?  Has my thinking narrowed because we have websites and cable channels and radio that agrees with me, such that I’m only listening to those I agree with?

Or is it because the political thought on the right (Rush Limbaugh, Fox News) –  sounds a little off base.

It’s probably a little of both.

But one could make a case that the cable TV folks on the left (MSNBC) are smarter, more informed, and more, shall we say, liberally educated, than the cable TV folks on the right.

For example, here’s a bit of background, harvested from Wikipedia, about our media friends’ education:

On the Right

Rush Limbaugh — two semesters and one summer at Southeast Missouri State University

Sean Hannity — dropped out of New York University and Adelphi University

Glenn Beck — one semester of college

Bill O’Reilly (an exception) — graduated Marist College.  M.A. Broadcast Jounralism from Boston University. Master of Public Administration Harvard University

On the Left

Chris Matthews — graduate of the College of the Holy Cross.  Graduate work in economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ed Shultz — Graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Lawrence O’Donnell — Harvard graduate

Keith Obermann — Cornell graduate

Rachel Maddow — degree in public policy from Stanford. Doctorate in political science from Oxford, which she attended on a Rhodes Scholarship.

Rush Limbaugh
Glenn Beck
Sean Hannity
Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews
Rachel Maddow
Bill O'Reilly
Ed Schultz
Lawrence O'Donnell
Keith Obermann

upside down rhetoric on government

At election time, here in Rowan County, North Carolina, I’m almost always on the losing side. But I can’t remember, in my lifetime, a more frustrating set of arguments.

It occurs to me that the political rhetoric coming from the right is completely upside down.

The things government can do, they want government not to do.

The things government cannot do, they expect government to do.

The government can do a lot to provide health care to all people.  It’s a proven fact.  Many governments have done it very successfully — including ours.

Yet, the rhetoric coming from the right is for government to stay out of health care and leave it entirely to the private sector.

The government can do a lot to educate people (children and adults).  This is a proven fact.  Many countries have done this very successfully, including our own.

But some on the right even want government to step away from education.

Government can provide a safety net for those who are unable to work. This is a matter of common decency in a civilized society.  Yet, cutting aid to the poor and disabled is a loud battle cry from the right.

Energy.  European countries have cut consumption by passing policies that conserve energy.

Yet, Reagan eliminated Carter’s tax credits for solar energy.  In 2000, Bush mocked Gore for suggesting we produce hybrid cars.  And the opposition to energy conservation goes on and on…

Government is even pretty good at running prisons. Yet, there are movements to privatize this.

The government cannot control oil spills.

The government can control unnecessary war.

But the biggest matzah ball of all is employment.

This is mostly a private sector problem.  The government can only do a few things that affect employment around the edges.

And yet, the campaign rhetoric from the right is “jobs jobs jobs.”

If we take them seriously, which is not easy, they actually want government not to do anything around the edges, but still create the jobs.

Government cannot create tens of millions of jobs.

It can help with the long-term, allocating funds to research and infrastructure, which can lead to millions of jobs in the future — and has done so with much success in the past.

But Republicans criticize this kind of spending.

The Republicans campaign on wanting government to do what it cannot do, and not to do what it can.

If something’s not working right and needs improvement — they seem to cite that as justification to cut it altogether.

If you think about it, it’s really frustrating!  Which is why it’s best not to think about it.

That said, the Democrats still have a lot better record on jobs and budget deficits than Republicans.