1. He keeps talking about changing light bulbs! This reminds me of the old tire-gauge solution to high gas prices. What will he do about the economy? First, replace a lot of government light bulbs.
2. His biggest rhetorical tic: breaking up answers into "the short term" and "the long term." Anything he wants to do now is "the short term," and it doesn't much need to make economic sense other than to "jump start" the economy. To the extent that there are other things that we should be doing, he puts them in the "long term" category. Having the 2 headings helps make disparate things look coherent.
3. Obama's idea of the auto bailout is a little opaque, but it's clear that he wants to get the companies to make small cars. But how will he do that? How can they become economically viable on small cars, especially with the low gas prices of today? Brokaw suggests imposing a tax on gas to make the price $4 again. Obama won't go there, of course, but I don't understand where he will go.
AND: One more thing about the light bulbs. (First, watch the movie clip in the next post.) In yesterday's address -- the weekly radio address of the President elect -- he said:
Today, I am announcing a few key parts of my plan. First, we will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won't just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.See? Light bulbs first. They're supremely important! They will save us all! Light bulbs!
MORE: Here's the transcript. Striking my ear the wrong way:
You know, tomorrow, you had mentioned earlier, is when we commemorate Pearl Harbor, and so I'm going to be making announcement tomorrow about the head of our Veterans Administration, General Eric Shinseki, who was a commander and has fought in Vietnam, Bosnia, is, is somebody who has achieved the highest level of military service.Tomorrow? That sent me checking the calendar. (Brokaw, earlier, had said "today.") [CLARIFICATION: At the beginning of the transcript -- watching live, I'd missed the first few minutes -- Brokaw said the interview was recorded "yesterday." Later, he said: "Sixty-seven years ago this day, one of your predecessors, Franklin Roosevelt, faced Pearl Harbor." I guess he meant that 67 years ago to the day, FDR "faced" the events that would occur the following day.]
Also, this bugged me:
MR. BROKAW: ... Let me ask you as we conclude this program this morning about whether you and Michelle have had any discussions about the impact that you're going to have on this country in other ways besides international and domestic policies. You're going to have a huge impact, culturally, in terms of the tone of the country.The question was arts.
PRES.-ELECT OBAMA: Right.
MR. BROKAW: Who are the kinds of artists that you would like to bring to the White House?
PRES.-ELECT OBAMA: Oh, well, you know, we have thought about this because part of what we want to do is to open up the White House and, and remind people this is, this is the people's house. There is an incredible bully pulpit to be used when it comes to, for example, education. Yes, we're going to have an education policy. Yes, we're going to be putting more money into school construction. But, ultimately, we want to talk about parents reading to their kids. We want to invite kids from local schools into the White House. When it comes to science, elevating science once again, and having lectures in the White House where people are talking about traveling to the stars or breaking down atoms, inspiring our youth to get a sense of what discovery is all about.
Finally, he gets to the arts, which by now, I'm convinced he cares little about:
Thinking about the diversity of our culture and, and inviting jazz musicians and classical musicians and poetry readings in the White House so that, once again, we appreciate this incredible tapestry that's America.So that, once again, we appreciate this incredible tapestry that's America? Once again? Is there any reason to think that the arts events in that George Bush had at the White House were lacking in cultural or ethnic diversity? And Obama doesn't name even one artist, perhaps for fear of leaving someone out. Speaking of diversity: he merely ticks off the high-class categories: jazz, classical, poetry. Some incredible tapestry! Then he comes out with this:
I--you know, that, I think, is, is going to be incredibly important, particularly because we're going through hard times. And, historically, what has always brought us through hard times is that national character, that sense of optimism, that willingness to look forward, that, that sense that better days are ahead. I think that our art and our culture, our science, you know, that's the essence of what makes America special, and, and we want to project that as much as possible in the White House.Nothing like specificity.