Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 5, 2008
POLITICS: Bait .... Switch

Kevin Holtsberry looks at Obama's response to GOP mockery of his advocacy of saving fuel by properly inflating your tires. In a lot of ways it's a perfect example of an Obama response - it's highly effective if you've only heard one side of the story, as Obama presents the issue as an argument between Obama, making a useful suggestion, and Republicans who "take pride in being ignorant." In fact, his suggestion that we raise awareness of the benefits of proper tire inflation is mildly helpful, although as Jim Geraghty notes, government policy initiatives that depend on the government changing the behavior of the people don't tend to be all that effective, especially against the hard core of folks who are disengaged from the news. (As a conservative, I tend to have more faith in the people's right to change the government than the government's ability to change the people).

But just as in other controversies - most notoriously, when Obama used his much-ballyhooed Speech About Race In America to change the subject from questions about his own personal relationship with his pastor - Obama's response completely ignores the actual subject at hand, which is the fact that he proposed tire inflation as an alternative to, and adequate substitute for, domestic oil drilling, yet anybody who looks at the issue (Kevin collects a few examples) can tell you that it won't come close to doing that. Dialogue being the skill set he lacks - he's happy with a microphone in his hand, but only as long as he's the only one who decides what to talk about.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:53 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Of course you're right, & I suspect that even some of his ardent supporters know you're right but are the undecideds paying attention to this?

Are Stewart, Leno, & Letterman beating this to death as they would've if McCain had said it?

Posted by: From Inwood at August 5, 2008 8:53 PM

American citizens are looking for a break on gas prices. Inflating your tires, like drilling off the FL and CA coasts (as well as ANWR), won't make a dent in the cost of gasoline.

Screw Stewart, Leno and Letterman. Will the national news beat the truth to death?

Posted by: Berto at August 6, 2008 3:21 AM

No one's suggesting that people should keep their tires at less than optimal standards. The idea that we need a Messiah to tell us such things ("hey, make sure you turn off the engine when you're filling up, too!") is a scenario that is relevant prominently amongst the Obama diehards.

He said it, therefore it MUST be something poignant and fresh.

Maybe that's why his supporters are always needing the government to take care of them.....they really DON'T know the basics. Or, what? Is there another rational answer as to why they think "inflate your tires" is some newfound dictum? Did they really not know that? Could Obama say "try to draft behind an 18 wheeler on the interstate" and they reply "you know, I hadn't thought of that.....hey, that could increase my fuel efficiency!" and NOT be kidding?

Posted by: RW at August 6, 2008 8:02 AM

RW,
So true about stating the obvious. Next thing you know he'll have to explain how you need to increase taxes (not cut them) to pay for war.
Ooops. Looks like it's not just his supporters that don't know the basics.

Posted by: Berto at August 6, 2008 8:48 AM

Actually, Berto, Obama is seeking to raise taxes (on certain companies....the "bad ones", and they'll tell you which ones are bad) in order to send out $1,000 checks to pay for gasoline. Nice attempt at a 'dig' (staying on topic isn't to your advantage, as even you are aware) but it fell flat.

You guys really do love the tax hikes (on everyone making $1 more than you), don't you?

Posted by: RW at August 6, 2008 9:15 AM

Berto,
I'd like to apologize if my comment appeared "curt" or demeaning. I'm just taken aback by the obvious attempts at deflection in this case (really, anyone can play the "oh, yeah? Well, what about ____" game when it comes to politics.)

Perhaps, in order to get your point across better, the Democratic candidate can make tax increases - in order to pay for war - a central part of his economic plan. It was tried in '04, but maybe Sen. Obama can convince the voters that Sen. Kerry couldn't.

Tell me: if the tax hikes are to pay for war, what's going to pay for the universal health care?

Posted by: RW at August 6, 2008 9:33 AM

"Government policy initiatives that depend on the government changing the behavior of the people don't tend to be all that effective, especially against the hard core of folks who are disengaged from the news."

I know what you mean, but I wouldn't dismiss it it that easily. Such policy initiatives can work if people perceive the crisis to be severe enough or the issue important enough. People voluntarily recycle, for example. Of course, if the people believe the problem is temporary, their behavior will relapse once they perceive the crisis is over.

This whole tire inflation issue has been a little...overinflated. It's obviously not the basis of Obama's energy plan.

And by the way, I noticed in all the calculations that were cited that the commentators were factoring in oil shale as if was clearly a resource we can readily convert to energy. If oil shale were that viable, I'd be all for drilling, but it really isn't yet, so stop counting it.

Posted by: MVH at August 6, 2008 9:36 AM

RW,
I thought the topic was about politicians stating the obvious to the citizenry.
I was pointing out that something obvious to you, may not be to others.
Example: I watched Powell's dog and pony show to the UN back in early 2003. It was obvious he had no proof Saddam/ Iraq was a threat to the US. Luckily (for the war-mongers) it wasn't so obvious to the MSM.

As for raising taxes to pay for war, that would be a losing proposition. Taxes are bad. Dick Cheney 'obviously' thinks that, even though he got rich off of government contracts which are 'obviously' paid by tax revenue.
See what I mean? It's not easy to define the word "obvious".

Posted by: Berto at August 6, 2008 9:56 AM

Recall the Saturday Night Live sketch about Jimmy Carter talking down someone on a bad "trip"? The joke was that Carter portrayed himself as knowing everything about everything.

Is Obama going to become another Carter? Should he host a call in show so he can answer all of our questions about saving gas, curing world hunger, what food my dog should eat, raising children, etc?

Posted by: lee at August 6, 2008 10:01 AM

Berto-are you aware of the difference between cutting tax rates and cutting tax revenues. Cuts in tax rates, do not, repeat do not result in lesser tax revenues, they result in the opposite-greater tax revenues-perhaps you should become familar with the facts before just parroting DNC attacks.

Posted by: dch at August 6, 2008 12:12 PM

dch,

When you openly mock the notion of party-line trashtalking by stating that anyone can play the "oh, yeah? Well, what about ____" game when it comes to politics and the other person simply charges ahead and does just that ('well, it Bush lied us into a war for oil, so what Obama said pales', found within approximately seven million lefty comments sections, by the way....original thought is still not a virtue) you gotta ask yourself if it's really worth the time.

Personally, it stopped being worth mine at about 9:56 am Baseball Crank time. But, YMMV.

Posted by: RW at August 6, 2008 12:45 PM

Besides, I think all new cars have to (by regulation)have tire pressure monitors in place (beginning 2006) that alert when one or more tires is 25% under recommended.

Posted by: Maryland Conservatarian at August 6, 2008 2:00 PM

"Personally, it stopped being worth mine at about 9:56 am Baseball Crank time. But, YMMV."

Another milestone reached in your blogging career, Crank. You've been designated unofficially as a time zone.

Posted by: MVH at August 6, 2008 2:02 PM

dch,
Yes I know the difference between cutting tax rates and cutting tax revenues. I also know the lie about how cutting tax rates increases tax revenues. It's been repeated so many times you actually believe it.
http://www.cbpp.org/policy-points4-18-08.htm

Also, explain to me how cutting tax rates to zero will increase tax revenues.
Just because Rush tells you something, doesn't mean you have to uncritically repeat it.

Posted by: Berto at August 6, 2008 4:05 PM

Berto

You obviously have never heard of the Laffer Curve.

You've intuited one end of it: a zero tax rate = zero taxes paid, but not the other end: a 100% tax rate also = zero taxes paid.

Just because sopmebody tells you that Bush's tax rate decreases didn't lead to higher taxes paid doesn't mean that you have to uncritically repeat it

Posted by: From Inwood at August 6, 2008 8:09 PM

Back to the subject:

Obamessiah as Pres would be serving Jimmy Carter's Second Term. Jimmy's energy policy was for us to wear sweaters in ourf houses so that we could turn our thermostats down. Right.

I read about a new bumper sticker: Wip Uninflation Now", a play on Gerry Ford's governing by incantation (Whip Inflation Now). But history be damned, Obamessiah supporters say.

Posted by: From Inwood at August 6, 2008 8:21 PM

You obviously have never heard of the Laffer Curve.

Oh, come on, you know that every retail outlet that runs a sale LOSES money due to that sale. [/sarcasm]

I read it on a left-wing advocacy page as a talking point (that I, as a parrot, pass along, despite the mockery invoked within), so it must be true.

Posted by: RW at August 7, 2008 8:33 AM

This is highly educational. Now show me how Bush's tax cuts increased revenues and decreased the deficit.

Like conservatism itself, it's great theory but fails miserably in practice.

Posted by: Berto at August 8, 2008 12:39 PM
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