As usual, Meet the Press was Left-heavy on the discussion panel -- John Podesta, James Clyburn, Ron Brownstein, then one token guest from the "right", Karen Hughes, who is mainly a Bush apologist and image-maker. Since I've switched to watching Meet the Press from This Week, while the topics are more pertinent to the important issues in America, I've come to believe David Gregory is ill-suited as host. His interview with Eric Cantor was a steady nit-picking of Cantor's answers rather than an intelligent inquiry into the two different visions between Democrats and some Republicans. For the establishment politicians there seems to be little difference between the two parties, but the new Republcans coming into office appear to have a much different vision than the professional oldtimers. Cantor is between both new and old, and it would have been enlightening to understand how he views the limited government/free market vision.
All we learned from Cantor is that all spending cut options are on the table, including entitlements and military -- but what is the philosophical basis for spending cuts? What are the philosophical justications for reforming entitlements -- other than government is intruding too much? Gregory basically tried to catch Cantor and back him in a corner, but we really learned nothing new, except Republicans want to cut spending and increase economic growth and Democrats think the Republicans are hypocritical and will fold when faced with tough cuts.
The panel discussion can be summed up as support for Obama's perceived change in image to a business-friendly moderate. Clyburn is in the tank for Obama and defended Obama against even the mildest of criticism, so his input was useless. Podesta holds on to the talking point version of Obama's difficult task entering office of saving the nation from what Bush had caused. Brownstein supports the "investment" plan of Obama's which will create jobs and create the environment in which the private sector can grow and America can be competitive. Karen Hughes states that Obama has spent too much and is creating too many regulations, while refusing to admit that Bush spent too much and expanded too much the power of government.
Underneath all the partisan babble, everyone with their own justications for this or that, the impression they gave is that infrastructure "investment" is now viewed as consistent with creating an environment in which the private sector can succeed. I think I see the strategy from the statist establishment. Because Obama has been criticized for creating an environment which has caused business to stagnate and unemployment to rise to 20%, spending must now be marketed as "investment" which makes the US competitive in the global economy. Clyburn even included the healthcare bill, as written, as a vital part of the effort to make the US competitive -- he even defended the CBO's bogus numbers regarding deficit reduction. So, really, everything the President has done has been done to create a market environment which is friendly to business and to make the US competitive -- and we are now just beginning to realize Obama's plan. He was never a progressive, according to the left's new strategy, but rather a moderate visionary doing what's necessary for economic growth in the 21st century.
The problem is that States aren't the competitive players in the global economy, although this is the direction State Capitalism pushes us to take. The global market is a competitive arena for private companies, but none of those on the panel seem to understand this -- they think that by combining central management with a "free" market, they have the best of both worlds -- but really this mixed-economy idea is terribly old and ineffective. Dressing up old ideas in new clothes doesn't help. For some reason, the status quo in the political realm has never understood the word "free" when it comes to markets. We're spiralling in debt toward collapse, and all the panel can do is prop up Obama's image, defend more government spending on what amounts to more stimulus and blame the economic situation on Bush. Blaming it on Obama is just as ignorant. Our problem is statism and central government management - I suppose in this light we can blame, if we must, most modern presidents, congress and everyone who supported them..
The Meet the Press gang ended up with the obligatory jabs at Sarah Palin -- Clyburn says Palin just doesn't understand. I say it's Clyburn who doesn't understand.