Two things crossed my path today… this from Bob Herbert
The June 28 cover story of Time magazine is headlined, “The Broken States of America.” As I’ve mentioned here several times, the states are facing a catastrophic fiscal situation that is short-circuiting essential services, pushing even more people out of work, and undermining the feeble national economic recovery.
As Time reported: “Schools, health services, libraries — and the salaries that go with them — are all on the chopping block as states and cities face their worst cash squeeze since the Great Depression.”
We are submitting to this debacle with the same pathetic lack of creativity and helpless mind-set that now seems to be the default position of Americans in the 21st century. We have become a nation that is good at destroying things — with wars overseas and mind-bogglingly self-destructive policies here at home — but that has lost sight of how to build and maintain a flourishing society. We’re dismantling our public school system and, incredibly, attacking our spectacularly successful system of higher education, which is the finest in the world.
How is it possible that we would let this happen?
We’ve got all kinds of sorry explanations for why we can’t do any of the things we need to do. The Democrats can’t get 60 votes in the Senate. Our budget deficits are too high. Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck might object.
Meanwhile, the greatness of the United States, which so many have taken for granted for so long, is steadily slipping away.
In an economic environment that is the worst since the Great Depression (and still only marginally better than that) WHY THE FUCK ARE WE EVEN HAVING A DISCUSSION ABOUT THE FEDS SHIFTING MONEY TO THE STATES?
Forget partisanship and bickering. Forget the damn debt. This is not an issue about which there should be any damn debate. This is the United States and, frankly, there isn’t any problem we can’t cover. And this is an EASY one! So, why is everyone playing politics with it?
Then I saw this piece
Barack H. Obama seems to be following W’s footsteps. He has failed — twice — to is rise to an occasion of great import. In the words of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, he has “wasted a good crisis” — for the second time. The financial collapse was a grand opportunity to undo three decades of misguided decision-making and radical deregulation. He chose to focus on . . . Health Care.
Now, we have another crisis — the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster. And yet again, we see another missed opportunity. The Oval Office speech last week was just that — a speech, filled with platitudes and mere words. Where was the challenge, the sense of national need, the urgency? It was the same tired energy speech  that, as The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has pointed out, every single president since Nixon  has given.
For the greatest orator of his generation, our president appears to be lacking in imagination.
What’s so infuriating about this is that it reinforces the perceived weakness of Democrats. You can be thoughtful and appear decisive at the same time.
Yes, Mr. President, it is possible. And no, you don’t have to dress in cowboy drag a la W to do it.