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Obama, 2/13, Wisconsin: My energy plan will invest $150 billion over ten years to establish a green energy sector that will create up to 5 million new jobs over the next two decades - jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced. We'll also provide funding to help manufacturers convert to green technology and help workers learn the skills they need for these jobs.


Yes, of course. Hillary has one that's supposed to be even better. They need to talk about it. He should have talked about it today during this beautiful speech that was about a third too long. He should talk about it every day. HRC should talk about energy and jobs today and every day. I promise you - regular, middle-info voters are not hearing details and it's bugging them.

If he would talk more about how he's going to do what he's talking about, which can only be achieved by ruffling corporate feathers and by bringing jobs and manufacturing back to this country (hint: an Apollo Project for Energy), I think I'd feel better. Absent some real details to inspire us, we're left with a lot of very beautiful words.

Nail on head, as usual. But he can't "ruffle corporate feathers" during an election, can he? That would take a Real Leader rather than a Real Orator, wouldn't it? Pretty words raise people's hopes, pretty vaguenesses keep those hopes from crashing without tying him down to specifics.


Thomas: The Catch-22. I've heard the same promises from every Democratic presidential candidate since Carter - including Bill - and it hasn't happened yet. It hasn't even been seriously proposed. So, damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't, Obama gets blasted (including by me) for generalizations and then blasted again for the specifics. What else can I/we do? His record gives one no faith in his promises and his specifics are the same old tired Dem platform the corporatocracy has been stifling easily for years. He stole his populism from Edwards, his health program from Teddy, and his energy plan is a variation on Poppy's old Enterprize Zones combined with Carter's focus on ethanol substitution, which at least helps (or maybe "doesn't hurt" would be nearer the mark).

Not exactly exciting, not exactly credible. But then, if he's the corporate puppet his votes and support would suggest, pretty words is all he's got.

From an Obama speech this weekend:

Now, as the Federal Reserve does its best to bring stability to the market, we must focus on what we can do to restore the public's confidence in the market and help the millions of Americans who are worried about their jobs, their homes, and their financial future.

Note which group comes first, whose "confidence" must be restored first. And how is he going to do that? He doesn't say. How is he going to "help" the "millions" in trouble? He doesn't say.

Wouldn't the impending collapse of the economy be a good time to exert some, I don't know, Leadership? Or am I wrong?

I must be wrong.

Yes, of course. Hillary has one that's supposed to be even better.
Just sayin'. You wanted details, there they are; the drift of your post seemed to be he's just a silver-tongued orator, not just that his proposals weren't as good as Clinton's. So I provided evidence there actually is some substance, too.

I agree, he's not Edwards, who hammered that kind of substance more in his speeches. I agree, that's why I liked Edwards better, too -- it makes it a firmer promise in both the public's mind and the candidate's mind when there are umpty stump speeches to point to. But Edwards is out. I liked Gore better than Edwards, for that matter. But Gore never ran.

So of the two left, (a) the "disapproved-of-a-stupid-war" needle points sharply away from Clinton, and (b) that war has had on the order of a $3T impact on being able to pay for the job, health, and other programs the three of us in this discussion so far would like. (A point Obama raises right after that $150B quote: And that is why I've paid for every element of this economic agenda - by ending a war that's costing us billions, closing tax loopholes for corporations, putting a price on carbon pollution, and ending George Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.)

I think the points you both make are completely fair -- do we believe Obama? If this is mainly about holding both major Dem candidates' feet to the fire, right on. But the thing is, lately I don't see the same level of scrutiny directed at Clinton, whose allegedly superior substance could be a smokescreen, too. E.g., she just came out with a more righteous position on military contractors -- but after years of silence on an issue that Obama had actually been doing some decent oversight legislation about. Maybe she suddenly saw the light, maybe not.

So -- at the very real risk of becoming a bore on the subject -- I fall back on my question: which candidate poses less of a risk for further costly military adventures and wars? (E.g., Iran?) To me, that accounting points to Obama.

Thomas: It's not just me - it's the people he's trying to get to vote for him. They don't look at websites to find position papers. They want to hear an elevator pitch of how he's going to use energy policy (or any policy) to return this country to greatness. It's not hard to do. Kennedy did it to get us to buy into sending people to the moon, for heaven's sake. Neither candidate is doing a good job of this. Instead they say absolute nonsense about renegotiating NAFTA (while they expand it). They are wildly underestimating the American people. I tolerate it less from Obama because he's running as a new sort of leader when he's just not. At least Clinton tells us that she's the old boss.

As for future wars: I just don't know. I have read and re-read your post on this and I always come away agreeing. But he's been caught too many times backing off from his soaring rhetoric (CTV/NAFTA, Samantha Powers re: Iraq) to have me believe anything he says too deeply.

I've come to where it's a toss up for me. They're who they are and I'll vote for whichever one is ticking me off the least on April 22.

I agree about the "elevator pitch" -- and certainly about looking at web sites for position papers. :) The former is what I was trying to say about Edwards hammering his themes.

Thing is, I think we're atypical in looking for elevator pitches about trade or energy/industrial policy or moon shots.

Obama's speech -- the one you cite, the one we're digressing away from (but hey, it's our discussion) -- really is kind of what he's about. I.e., it's a "vision thing", and (judging by which of Edwards and Obama are still in the race) people want that, too. And this speech shows that's not fluff; I think he deserves a lot of credit for really talking out the Wright business, rather than ducking it. Our culture seems to insist on every black person being MLK in every way, politically speaking. A lot aren't. My gloss on the speech would be that you don't have to like that, just deal with it and move on to deal with the things we all need -- health care, ending the war.

Maybe I've butchered that. But the point is it seems like his speech is actually a pretty good improvement on typical public discourse around this issue -- and that's a really important job for politicians, too.

[yeaaaaaah, Kool-Aid's here... :)]

PS: I'm honored that my "Clinton Iraq AUMF" post figures in your thinking, however you wind up voting.

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