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Trolling #POTUSBuffalo and What Government Is

 Some showed class. Some were absent. Others descended into a weird, anachronistic madness. It was a weird day. 

Let’s recall that the only times a member of the Bush Administration deigned to visit our fair city, it was Richard “Dick” Cheney coming in 2003 to collect big money from deep pockets – $1,000 per plate, and Bush in 2004 to a carefully selected crowd to defend the Patriot Act.  Cheney cost the city $10,000 in police overtime and avoided contact with non-wealthy non-Republicans at all cost. I don’t recall what, if anything, the Democrats did or said in reaction to those visits, but suffice it to say that Cheney wasn’t here for anything except raising money for re-election, and Bush only saw the Buffalonians he needed to see. 

Some Republicans showed class. 

 

There was the time the President forgot who the Mayor of Buffalo was.

(Byron Brown’s Democratic opponent capitalized on this moment:)

Then there was everything else.

Obama has come to town twice. Once in 2010, and this Thursday. He came to town specifically to announce a new initiative to guarantee that American kids who want a college education can get a quality one that is affordable. 

In 2010, he came to talk about manufacturing. Everyone was there – Congressman Chris Lee, County Executive Chris Collins included. 

In 2013, he came to talk about education. Chris Collins was nowhere to be seen. I’m told he wasn’t invited. In just one short year, the Collins district has gone from Kathy Hochul having the President’s ear and the district having clout, to an angry Obamaphobe congressman who votes to repeal Obamacare, because his singular issue is to deny families access to quality, affordable health insurance. The 27th Congressional District has a disgrace for a representative – a person who seeks to harm, not help, families. 

When I first started writing this post late Thursday, it was going to be a profanity-laden rant against the Erie County Republican Committee, which released what is probably the dumbest statement, ever. It compared President Obama to, of all people, Jimmy Carter – a punchline from 35 years ago. 

Erie County GOP Trolls

Erie County GOP Trolls

But I decided not to. I realized they were trolling us. To rant and curse would suggest that there was some legitimacy to anything the local Republican Party has to say about anything. There isn’t, so I haven’t. Simply put, anyone who would knowingly compare the economic crises (plural) of the Carter era to 2013 America is either a party hack or someone who wasn’t alive during the Carter era;  Erie County Republican chairman Nick Langworthy is both. 

Evoking Jimmy Carter is a sign of fundamental weakness; the Republicans had to skulk back 35 years to find a Democratic President who had a bad economic time of it. Were they out of Paula Jones jokes? In 2013, We don’t gave gas lines, OPEC isn’t bothering anyone, inflation isn’t 13%, unemployment isn’t in the double-digits, and we don’t have crazy high interest rates on borrowing. All of those things were true in the closing months of Carter’s presidency. Operation Neptune Spear succeeded while  Operation Eagle Claw failed. There is really no comparison to be had. 

Why the Carter troll? Because after him came Reagan, who is godlike among Republicans. They think that Reagan fixed the economy in perpetuity by ushering in supply-side, trickle-down economics.  Both parties had until recently clung to the trickle-down theory as gospel truth, yet in the last 30 years wages have stagnated, the middle class is bearing the brunt of payoffs to the very rich, and the lot of the average American family has been made worse so that people like the Kardashians and Kochs can pay lower taxes. 

Why the Carter troll? Because it’s stupid and they’ve got nothing. Bush’s recession was the worst since World War 2 in terms of overall economic shrinkage. The worst. So, the numbers now seem catastrophic as we try to undo the damage. Facts being facts, WNY didn’t do so well under Reagan, either. Or Bush 1. Or Bush 2. Or Clinton. Why the Carter troll? They point to figures showing that the number of people participating in the labor market has shrunk to 1980 levels. The problem is that no one really knows what’s behind that. The pinkos over at the Wall Street Journal suggest that the labor participation rate was shrinking even during low unemployment of the Bush 2 years, because of the commencement of baby boomer retirement (it tracks nicely with boomer engagement in the market). The cadres at JP Morgan confirm it

So the trolls at ECRC are blaming Obama for the retirement of aging baby boomers. 

But it also reconfirms just how patently anti-individual, anti-consumer, and anti-middle class the Republicans have become.

As the Republicans in Congress vote for the 30th+ time to repeal Obamacare, and as they release obnoxiously false and misleading, trolling press statements bringing up bogeymen from 35 years ago, realize these two fundamental truths: 

1. The Republican opposition to Obamacare is a reflection of their platform, which would deny average Americans the right and ability to obtain quality, affordable health insurance. A repeal of Obamacare brings back lifetime maximums, denials of coverage for pre-existing conditions, the wonder of medical bankruptcy, an inability for people not on Medicaid or Medicare to get affordable insurance unless provided through an employer. 

2. The President was in town to announce an initiative to provide average American kids access to quality, affordable higher education. Since when did the Republicans decide that this was not a civic or social goal?  

Why has the Republican Party declared war on providing average people with things to keep them alive or to educate their kids? I don’t get it. But they’re so dead-set on this that they will beclown themselves with 30 year-old Johnny Carson jokes.  

At one point, Langworthy’s statement read as follows, 

After ushering in an era of economic malaise not seen since Jimmy Carter, President Obama comes to one of the most unemployed cities in the nation to tout more college educations for our young people,” Langworthy said. “We need jobs now – we already have thousands of college graduates unemployed in Erie County.”

“The prescription for job creation has been proven and tested by time: government needs to get out of the way of business,” Langworthy said. “Instead the Administration is creating a raft of job-killing regulations and, with ObamaCare, transforming our nation into a part time workforce.”

Just once, I’d like to see a Republican take the side of the average person instead of big business. Just once, I’d like a Republican to say, “I think the health insurance system we have is too expensive and not geared towards patient needs. I don’t like Obamacare, but I agree that we need to find affordable ways to guarantee that no American is found wanting for medical care they need”. Just once, I’d like a Republican to say, “We need to grow the middle class, and restore the social mobility that has stagnated over the past generation. We need to encourage and help people to get an affordable college education”. These sorts of statements used to be uncontroversial.

“Talking about a college education for everyone in Buffalo is like offering a starving man tap shoes,” Langworthy said. “Thanks for stopping by Mr. President. Erie County needs jobs.”

Usually, when you present a wildly stupid simile like that, you tend to explain what you mean. What does Langworthy mean here? The President said that the unemployment rate for college graduates is 1/3 what it is for people without one. Is Langworthy saying here that Buffalo kids don’t need college? Is he saying that they are just a bunch of willing labor-meat, ready to operate machinery that long ago escaped to Mexico or China?  And what happened to entrepreneurship? Sure, we need jobs, but used to be a Republican would tell someone to go and make their own job. I guess not so much. Labor-meat. 

Given the extremely high rate of school failure in the city – led by a mayor who has Conservative Party backing, you’d think that the Republicans would follow all of this bluster up with a credible Republican candidate for Mayor.

Funny you should think that.

Buffalo has a credible, hard-working Republican candidate. Education is high on his agenda. Yet Langworthy isn’t just passively ignoring, but actively shunning Sergio Rodriguez. Education is the biggest issue of our time, especially in Buffalo; not except.

Sure, we also need strong training and apprenticeship in the trades, but the unions used to do that and we all know what Republicans think of those.

Improving our public schools and guaranteeing every kid access to higher education is a goal that no credible politician would reject, but the Erie County Republican Committee did just that. The statistics show that a college education leads to better jobs and job prospects. Langworthy ridicules this and mocks the notion of social mobility. It’s shameful. 

It’s downright un-American. 

As the President came to town, Langworthy added petulance to the mix: 

 

So, look up at the picture Derek Gee from the Buffalo News tweeted – it’s at the top of this post. People were clearly excited about a sitting President coming to town. Yet, while Langworthy was whining about the local media fawning all over the most powerful man in the world being in town, his colleague from the National Republican Campaign Committee wrote that the President wouldn’t get any “Buffalove”. Which is it? 

Buffalo showed Obama love and excitement. Buffalonians like the idea of making life easier for the middle class. We like the notion that people should have access to a quality and affordable college education, just like we think people should have access to quality, affordable health insurance. We’re that old-fashioned bit of flyover country that thinks people deserve a fair shot in exchange for hard work – whether it be through brains or brawn. The problems we face as a region are decades in the making, and most of them have bipartisan or nonpartisan causes. 

I haven’t been a Republican since 2003 – this sort of nonsense is why. If you’re an Erie County Republican, thank Ray Walter for being a respectful guy with class. If you’re an Erie County Republican, tell Nick Langworthy that he embarrassed you today. If you’re a resident of NY-27, now you know that you’re effectively unrepresented in Congress. 


  • Thomas

    In the same week, Langworthy states that the president was shirking is responsibilities by coming here instead of staying in D.C. and addressing jobs and that Obama should get out of the way so business can address jobs. Reminds me of a song…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv6mEv_rDdE

  • Sean Danvers

    I’m always surprised to hear Carter comparisons nowadays. Most people who lived through the Ford/Carter nightmare know damn well the country is nowhere near as troubled as it was then.
    Trying to pull that card now among the populus makes about as much sense as comparing him to Hoover, Grant or Pierce.

  • kmsmith

    One of the best commentary you’ve written Alan. The Republican party is a sham. and the best way to call them on who and what they are is with facts and truths. Nick Langworthy might do well to acknowledge that it is the Republican party that has stood in the way of every proposal the President has put forward to create jobs. Every single one. It is not the President’s responsibility to create employment. The responsibility belongs to Congress to pass bills authorizing programs the President suggests. They so far have refused to do anything to help anyone but themselves in their never-ending quest to destroy a democratically twice elected President. And yes, he is the President of the United States. Deal with it.

  • Brian Adamczyk

    Bravo, my friend, bravo!

  • Hank Kaczmarek

    Bush and Cheney wired the charges in the twin towers themselves you know. They wanted to spend a bunch of money fighting wars and couldn’t find any, so they made them up. OTOH “The public debt burden during the presidency of Bill Clinton between 1993 and 2001, fell due in part to decreased militarily spending after Cold War, 1990, 1993 and 1997 budget deals, gridlock between White House and Congress, and increased tax revenue resulting from “the booming economy and huge gains in the stock markets, the so-called Dot-com bubble.
    Someone please illustrate the “Booming Economy” under Obama. He’s certainly spent enough money, more than twice that of Bush. And not a dime of it did we have to begin with
    Carter assured us we would be completely out of natural gas and oil by 2000, so cut that thermo down to 55 and put on a sweater. While you’re at it, don’t drive faster than 55 either—guess he really liked that number.
    Reagan won on the “Misery Index”–for all you 30ish and younger types, the combination of the inflation rate and the unemployment rate. Like your 4.65% mortgage? They were SIXTEEN Percent under Carter. New Car Interest was over 12%, used car 19%. None of the “Zero % for 60 months” like you see today. Too many of you DID NOT LIVE under Carter, so you don’t remember seeing gasoline go from 45 cents a gallon to 1.00, WHEN you could find it, and when you were allowed to purchase it by the last digit of your license plate.
    You youngsters don’t remember waiting in line to buy gasoline. And what that increase did to disposable income. Odd it turns out we have more oil and gas that the entire Arabian Peninsula, but y’all liberal greenies don’t want to get it out of the ground.
    Yes friends, it’s a new day when criticism is racism. And unlike our Founders, the New Left have convictions, but no courage.

    • Geoff Kelly

      I don’t comment on our own site as a rule, but Hank, come on: Nixon signed the national 55 miles per hour speed limit. And Nixon initially proposed 50 miles per hour for cars and 55 for trucks and buses.

      • UncleBluck

        Dont waste your time Geoff…..Hank is just a low IQ leftover who wastes way too much of his time listening to Rush & Faux….the idea that he still tries to connect Sept 11 to Iraq pretty much sums it all up …. Hank is clueless…

  • jimd54

    I’m old enough to remember gas wars, paid 19 cents a gallon once. I also remember the first time I paid $4 per gallon. That was under George W. Bush. Back when the Iraq war was going to flood us with cheap oil. Today we are exporting more oil and gasoline than ever. To connect any president with the ebbs and flows of gas prices is misguided.
    Cheney and Wolfowitz would probably be more accurate. When a neo conservative is quoted in 1998 saying what we need is another pearl harbor, it does give me pause.
    Having pissed away the surplus left by Pres. Clinton in record time, the Bush administration put two wars, tax cuts and a prescription drug plan ( written by big pharma) on the credit card and off the budget. When Obama took office he rightly put that debt on the budget and the debt exploded. That republicans blame Obama for this is only more ridiculous than the rubes that believe them.
    By the end of Pres. Bush’s second term we were bleeding jobs. Millions per month. On Pres. Obama’s watch jobs have increased albeit slowly. If he had even a modicum of help from the other side, or at least not the obstruction, the economy would be far better off.

  • http://politicalclassdismissed.com/ Michael Rebmann

    There is no shortage of Kool-aid regarding Obama’s visit.

  • rastamaniac

    Maybe he should have addressed his Bill Gates funded Common Core standards that neither of his kids or his buddy Rahm’s kids will be subjected to but all of our kids somehow need to prepare them for “college and career readiness.” Read that : University of Phoenix online college and a career consisting of poverty level wages and hackey sacking at midnight in the Wal Mart lot with all of your fellow careerists during smoke breaks. Neo liberals don’t give a shit about the middle class or its workers or its kids. Obama is a fraud.

  • wnyresident

    Alan would mind posting up your opinion on President Obama possibly attacking Syria. I just curious what you think.

    • http://www.buffalopundit.com/ Alan Bedenko

      Off topic, but what do you think we should do?

      • wnyresident

        I don’t believe we should. At minimum Congress has to vote if we go to war or not. I would like you to start a new post and let us hear what you think.

      • http://www.buffalopundit.com/ Alan Bedenko

        I don’t really feel like starting a new post about it. I think we have a moral obligation to obliterate a government that would use weapons of mass destruction against its own people. I would want a Congressional resolution approving something like that, as well as a resolution from the UN Security Council pursuant to Article VII of the UN Charter.

        We went to war in Iraq for far less.