Friday, April 29, 2005

The Press Conference Debrief!

I watched the whole thing. Couple beers worth. I won't go into details about the questions and answers, instead I'll touch on some themes that emerged. If you want a blow by blow, you can find them in the mainstream press (STRIB and PiPress)

So what did I get out of the hour plus, that the President can do no wrong, and he is not to blame for anything. The stock market is in shambles, and the economy is crumbling because of gas prices, and he has no control over those prices. Now, a year ago, when gas prices were stable, and the economy was vulnerable, he was still yipping about an inherited recession. So I have learned from the man, as long as you can find someone, or something else to blame, you don't ever have to accept responsibility.

Another theme that popped up with Energy and Social Security is the latest Meme. "We haven't done anything in the past 20 years". Hmmm, so if Reagan, followed by George 41 would have implemented an Energy policy, and strengthened Social Security, the current President wouldn't have to 'work hard'. Yes, he said 'It's hard work' several times. And I am sure it is, especially when you don't know what you are doing.

On Iraq, the canned response was 'We're making progress' When asked why the suicide bombings are at an all time high 'We're making progress'. When asked when we would bring troops home 'When the work is done', and 'We're making progress'

The education segment really rubbed me. He constantly stated 'All we are asking is that schools measure' 'For the last several years all we have done is shuffle students along' Now, that is a total fallacy, at least in Minnesota. I have been in the St. Paul School District since 1992. We have been measuring the entire time, and adjusting curriculum based on needs. We have a District level test, and a Statewide test, and NOW an added Federal exam. I can only hope the American people recognized this bold faced misrepresentation on this issue. NCLB does NOTHING but force districts to conform to an additional layer of testing, without adequate funding to carry out those federal mandates.

He ended with a rather wordy Social Security question from the press corps. The President reiterated his 'means testing' formula that for the first time addresses the solvency issue. We'll have to see how this plays out. It may be enough to at least begin addressing the long term viability of the fund (The President stated this would resolve 70% of the projected shortfall). However, the Dems insist they will not negotiate any type of SS reform that includes private accounts, while the President made clear he would not sign anything that didn't include voluntary personal accounts. (Yes, it was almost humorous watching the tug of war on terminology. The Right, almost exclusively using the term 'personal', and most everyone else using 'private')

A couple final items I noticed on Social Security reform. He has added the word 'Voluntary' to the 'personal account' term. He made it clear that these accounts are optional, and for those that do not participate, they can continue on in the current program knowing their investment will be protected by the 'full faith and confidence of the Untied States Government'. However, when he is talking about Social Security solvency, he talks about file cabinets full of paper. So here we have the same instruments, US Bonds, be interpreted two totally different ways, based on the context of his argument. So, Mr. President, are these Bonds worthless pieces of paper buried in a bunch of file cabinets, or are they legal notes back by the full faith and confidence of the US Government? Make up your mind!

So for those that didn't catch it, you missed:

1) It's not my fault, Reagan and Bush41 should have taken care of everything 20 years ago
2) It's not my fault, I can't control gas prices, that's why the economy is in the tank.
3) Bonds are worthless, accept when I am talking about voluntary personal accounts, then they are the greatest investment in the world.
4) It's hard work
5) Ignore the man behind the curtain

So on a scale of 1 to 5, It was a 4 beer Press Conference.


No comments: