Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Live Blogging the Obama Townhall in Ft. Myers

12:12 PM: Obama takes the stage and thanks local officials.

12:13 PM: Obama makes the point that people have to make the decisions how to balance tight budgets and prioritize spending everyday.

Too bad we don't expect government to live within a budget. How do you think we got into this situation?

12:16 PM: Ft. Myers has been brutally hit by the recession. Massive layoffs and unemployment aren't just numbers, they represent real people who are being affected by a stagnant economy.

The question is: how does spending money on a bill that costs $250,000 per job created helping these people? This has to be done more efficiently.

12:19 PM: Obama "If we don't act immediately, millions more jobs will disappear."

Doing the wrong thing quickly doesn't make it right. Doing the wrong thing quickly doesn't bring jobs back.

12:20 PM: Obama "You sent us there to change things."

Yeah, because government spending money on wasteful pork projects is brand new in Washington.

12:22 PM: Obama "We have to put people back to work."

You know who does that? Small business. They are creating 4 out of 5 North Carolina jobs right now. Unfortunately, small businesses will be largely overlooked in this government expansion bill.

12:26 PM: Obama "90% of these jobs will be in the private sector."

First, will someone please fact check this number. Anyone in the media interested in making him defend this number? Second, how exactly does the government create a private sector job and how can you estimate how many jobs the private sector will create in response to a government plan?

12:29 PM: Obama "A failure to act will only worsen the problem. ... You didn't send me to Washington to do nothing."

A failure to take appropriate corrective measures will also worsen the problem. We sent you to Washington to do what we say. That's what democracy is about.

12:30 PM Obama labels debate about the bill "bickering in Washington."

Formula for success. 1) Scare people. 2) Blame Republicans. 3) Demand immediate action with little debate.

12:32 PM Obama preparing for questions.

12:34 PM First question about higher education.

Higher education, helping kids make the choice to go to college, school construction. All of these are noble goals. But I thought this bill was about stimulating the economy and creating jobs quickly. Every time Obama says "long term" or "over time," he undercuts his own argument.

12:35 PM Obama wants to "use this crisis" to stengthen the economy long term.

We don't want you to "use" the crisis. We want you to fix it.

12:40 PM Question "Where does your priority lie with health care reform?"

Stimulus? Anywhere? Bueller? Bueller?

12:42 PM Obama makes argument that we have to bail out state governments to save jobs.

Come on. The only jobs that are saved are the politicians'.

12:44 PM UPDATE: Senate passes stimulus bill.

Well, since this debate is basically moot now and the President is not talking about stimulus anyway, I'm done.

If you've been joining our first live blog, thanks for following. Let me know your thoughts.