Politics Roundup: Private Sector, Military Leaks, More

Monday, June 11, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Nevada Las Vegas on June 7. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty)

Elizabeth Williamson, Wall Street Journal reporter based in Washington, discusses President Obama's "private sector is doing fine" comment, the Republican response, and other political news of the week.


Elizabeth Williamson

Comments [17]


Re: The Obama stimulus and jobs -- I live in Morris County, NJ, in one of the areas of that county made up predominantly of the three lower income quintiles. However, there are many in the top quintile and One Percent in other areas of the county, and they make this one of the wealthiest counties in the US. The Republicans run most of the county government (there a no Democratic freeholders), and Democrats trade office with Republicans in some of the more urbanized areas, such as mine.

I have not seen one sign indicating stimulus funds are at work.

I didn't realize there were signs like that anywhere until I had to go for an appointment in a predominantly Democratic county. Highway improvements, repairs on bridges and reservoirs were touted along my route.

But...this year the gas company has finally begun filling in the gas lines grid, and, after living here almost 40 years I'll be able to have natural gas for heating. Of course, I'd been told by the seller of my house that there was natural gas, and thus I had my gas stove moved the 900 miles. Alas, I was lied to, my stove went into the basement, and, eventually, after an interior flood caused by burst pipes after oil jelled due to one of our coldest winters, I got rid of the ruined stove. Along with a household of stuff.

(TIP: Hot water heating pipes can have special antifreeze added to them to prevent freezing and burst pipes. I learned too late.) discussing the new gas lines with the gas company rep --who had told me annually since I moved here that the gas co. couldn't afford to put in gas lines since the houses were so small their time to recoup their investment was too long to be feasible--, he told me the reason the gas lines were being laid was because of the Obama stimulus money.

Yes! A tangible infrastructure improvement, with the benefit of dependable, steady fuel, a less polluting and less costly fuel--and hardly anyone knows that this is coming about because of the Obama stimulus. Some jobs, possible cost savings on heating, some benefits for the ecology -- and no one knows why it's happening.

Is it because Republicans now hold the local township government? The county government? The governor's office? Is it because Obama ran a great campaign but doesn't know how to run a political party? That may very well come back to bite him in the form of low enthusiasm from that party's base who feel he hasn't done much for them lately. Saved the banks with trillions -- and what did he do for the 99 Percent?

Intersting at the very least.

Jun. 11 2012 10:46 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

The leak investigation is an attempt to reduce the magnitude of Bush lies/Cheney culpability in the Valerie Plame outing. Actual damage to the nation's defense posture was done there. Scooter Libby is taking the fall for most of it but by no means does the treason end there.

What the GOP is pursuing is to augment the mistaken belief that "everybody does it" so it makes little difference if you vote "R" or "D"...In a pig's eye.

Jun. 11 2012 10:37 AM

meatwnyc ~

great point!

Jun. 11 2012 10:34 AM

If only the GOP had been as upset about the Valerie Plame leak...

Jun. 11 2012 10:33 AM

Who cares what BO meant or didn't mean!!!


Jun. 11 2012 10:30 AM
Amy from Manhattan

How about the q. of whether the leaked (if it was) info *should* be classified? I've heard discussions on WNYC before about overuse of classification, but so far I haven't heard that applied to the stories that have been labeled as leaks. I did hear (on On the Media, I think) a reporter complaining that the accusation that the info was leaked was dismissive of all the work reporters did to uncover it.

Jun. 11 2012 10:29 AM

Oh, not to worry... ol' BO will get to the bottom of this so-called leak nonsense!!

After all, he's used the Espionage Act to prosecute MORE whistle blowers than ALL PREVIOUS PRESIDENTS COMBINED!!!

...well... unless it's politically beneficial... of course.

Jun. 11 2012 10:27 AM

Actually Mike the recovery is happening much slower because this downturn is more akin to the depression than previous minor recessions. The financial system was on the verge of collapse in late 2008. This was the market trying to fix things. 2 governments (Bush and Obama) decided that collapse and the resulting mass unemployment and debt default wouldn't be great, so have tried to use Keynesian spending to put a floor in and inflate our way out rather go thru a deflationary depression.

SO what is the Romney/Republican alternative? More tax cuts for the rich, paid for by either gutting Social Security and Medicare, or better yet from the mythological growth that will occur from further tax cuts (incorrectly insert the Laffer Curve here). Bloomberg just did an article showing how Romney's tax plans will actually increase debt more rapidly than the current trajectory of Obama. Unfunded tax cuts are just another form of pork barrel spending if we're using borrowed money to fund them.

Jun. 11 2012 10:26 AM

Brian reminds me a preacher confidently assuring his congregation “God loves you” as if he knew.
Brian compares the spontaneously said PSDF (“private sector’s doing fine”), with the statement carefully crafted after backfire broke out. And then confidently assures us “president meant this” and “president didn’t mean that”.
Great strategy; “doing fine” for 2000 years so far.

Jun. 11 2012 10:26 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

@Mike from JC/NJ -

I guess perspective is everything. The private sector is recovering more slowly than in past recessions because the GOP has no interest in getting on board with any plan that the President or the Democrats propose. They have done plenty of nothing since Mr. Boehner was made Speaker of the House promising to focus on "Jobs. Jobs. Jobs."

The private sector is sitting on $5T in profits - $2T domestic,$3T in foreign coffers. You don't think this means they ARE doing fine? Need more proof? Cf the unemployment rates in states with GOP governors versus Democratic governors.

Try this on for signs for GOP traitorousness -

Jun. 11 2012 10:24 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Can't the federal gov't. put restrictions on what the stimulus money can be used for?

Jun. 11 2012 10:21 AM

THANK YOU, Steve in Queens from Queens!!!

Damn!!! The friggin' house is BURNING DOWN!!!

Jun. 11 2012 10:18 AM
John IN NJ

Ms. Williamson, The word FORTE means LOUD. The word you mispronounced 2 times is Forte, (FORT) a french word which means strength. It is often mispronounced.

Jun. 11 2012 10:17 AM
Amy from Manhattan

OK, Pres. Obama meant the private sector was "doing fine" in terms of doing their share (& more, compared to the public sector) in creating jobs, not in terms of having recovered economically. The second time (in the same speech, I think) he said they were "hiring at a solid pace" & followed it w/the same words contrasting it w/the public sector. So why doesn't he *say* that's what he meant? It seems reasonable enough. Why aren't the Democrats responding more effectively to Republican attacks, even when those attacks don't have a good basis?

Jun. 11 2012 10:16 AM
Steve in Queens from Queens

Brian, why are you covering this garbage? These kinds of 'gaffe' stories are utterly worthless, speak to no one's actual life, and bear only the most minimal relationship to reality. You are as guilty as any of your sleazy colleagues in 'journalism' for poisoning our national debate.

Jun. 11 2012 10:14 AM

How's 'bout the true issue of Korrupt Bankers® doing business AS USUAL!!!

This is RIDICULOUS subterfuge!!!

Jun. 11 2012 10:14 AM
Mike from Jersey City from New Jersey

Brian, How is what you are doing here for President Obama any different than when Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shill for some Republican.

Truth be told, this was Obama's "malaise" moment (yes, I know Jimmy Carter never used the word malaise).

The private sector is recovering way more slowly than in past recessions, and this is a direct result of Obama-driven government policies creating unusually high levels of uncertainty. It is similar to the "capital strike" that happened during the New Deal.

Jun. 11 2012 10:14 AM

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