All the focus on Barack Obama's "faux pas" on the tonight show when he dissed the handicapped by comparing his bowling performance to the Special Olympics is silly, I think. I don't like Obama - not one bit. But I don't think that he has some deep seeded hatred for the handicapped and it happened to slip out during his talk with Jay Leno. I think only that he isn't sensitive to the fact that some people would be offended by some common middle school language.
And yes, it's certainly fun to point out how stupid it was to say such a thing. But I have to say, I wouldn't want people pointing to all the stupid things I say... and I say plenty. So no, I don't think that we should be focusing on his faux pas of the evening.
I do think, however, that there are plenty of things he said during that interview that we could focus on and discuss. How about Obama stating that the problem with the AIG bonuses is an "attitude of entitlement," while almost in the same breath he was calling for higher taxes so that the people who are doing "pretty well" will "pay a little more" so that the country can pay for health care, energy, and higher education for all those "less fortunate."
Jay Leno had pointed out how scary it was that congress was going to tax some people they don't like 90%. What happens when congress decides they don't like another group? They can just tax them into oblivion... Obama's response to this was that we need to take measured steps to make sure this doesn't happen again. First of all, to lock the door before the horse gets out of the barn (his words, not mine). And secondly, to have a better tax system so congress isn't scrambling for the money it needs (my words, not his).
He then said we need to change the laws so that if, financially, things "explode in your face" you will be "protected." (HUH???) How, exactly, would one do this? Well, he says that we need "regulatory common sense" and then went on to explain how our economic system is based on the financial system... money on paper. (I fully acknowledge that our economic system is not based on product, only on buying - and that this is not a good thing.) But his answer to this problem is something I find troubling... for how to you put in place and enforce "regulatory common sense" that will also accomplish his goal of, "What we need is... young people... instead of a smart kid coming out of school, instead of wanting to be an investment banker, we need them to decide they want to be an engineer - uh, they want to be a scientist. They want to be - or a teacher."
Full disclosure here: I do not have any concrete reason to believe what I'm going to say here beyond the fact that I've listened to what Obama has said thus far and I have judged his character, his beliefs, and some of his motives based on the things he has said. That said, I think that the answer to this dilemma in the Obama administration will be to regulate what people do for a living. I think Obama is going to want to take our money in taxes and give full government scholarships to "smart kids" who are willing to study what the government wants them to study.
Granted, there are probably a number of people out there who read something like that and say, "So???"
But why would the answer to this dilemma be further regulation and having the government paying for the college education of people willing to go into these particular fields? How is this going to actually fix anything? So there are more people in those fields... are they any good? Is it their passion to do that work? Or did they decide to go ahead with it because it was the easy way out for them? Is this the way to best build a great team of people? Who wants a bunch of scientists and engineers who are looking for the easy way out? I don't think I want that type of person designing the bridges I have to drive across every day...
Why not encourage more people to become teachers by reducing some of the already existing regulations on teachers? Get rid of some of the crazy red tape that goes along with being a teacher in the public system. Get rid of some of the regulations that are imposed on the other fields as well... Some of the bright minds out there who have a passion for that sort of thing will then jump at the chance to do their work in freedom and creativity.
Ronald Reagan once talked about how Washington views everything. "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." I guess some things never change.