SOTU Instant Polls Show Success For Obama

The initial instant reaction to the President's speech last night was largely positive, but does it really matter?

The initial reaction to President Obama’s State Of The Union address from the news network instant polling probably made the White House pretty happy last night:

An overwhelming majority of Americans approved of the overall message in President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, according to a CBS News poll of speech watchers.

According to the poll, which was conducted online by Knowledge Networks immediately after the president’s address, 91 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the proposals Mr. Obama put forth during his remarks. Only nine percent disapproved.

Last year, 83 percent of viewers approved of Mr. Obama’s State of the Union remarks.

This year, 82 percent of those who watched the speech said they approve of the president’s plans for the economy, up from 53 percent who approved before the speech. Eighty percent said they approved of Mr. Obama’s plans for the deficit — in contrast to 45 percent before the speech. Eighty-three percent approved of Mr. Obama’s proposals regarding Afghanistan, which received only a 57 percent approval rating beforehand.

It’s important to note, of course, that these instant polls are limited to people who actually watched the address and, historically, it’s more likely for someone who supports the President to watch the speech than someone who doesn’t. Therefore, they aren’t at all indicative of how the speech will be received by the public at large or how it might impact the President’s job approval numbers.

CNN’s poll, on the other hand, drew from a wider sample, but still had largely positive results for the President:

A majority of Americans who watched President Obama’s State of the Union address said they had a very positive reaction to his speech, according to a poll of people who viewed Tuesday night’s address.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicated that 52 percent of speech watchers had a very positive reaction, with 32 percent saying they had a somewhat positive response and 15 percent with a negative response.

The 52 percent who indicated they had a very positive response is up four points from the 48 percent of speech watchers who felt the same way a year ago about the president’s January 27, 2010 State of the Union address.

Still, even the CNN poll demonstrates that the viewing audience was heavily tilted toward those inclined to support the President:

The sample of speech-watchers in the poll were 39 percent Democratic and 19 percent Republican. Those numbers indicate that the sample is about nine to ten points more Democratic than the population as a whole. The audience for Obama’s State of the Union address last year was 38 percent Democratic and 25 percent Republican.

There were also several “focus group” studies using select audiences and judgment their attitudes toward the President both before and after the speech. One, from Democrat Stan Greenberg, was largely positive:

President Obama’s second State of the Union was a “personal triumph” that received strong, positive reactions from Democrats and Republicans, according to an instant analysis from the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

The firm monitored the reactions of swing voters and unmarried women from Colorado as they watched the speech. According to the analysis, before the address, the test group’s approval of the president was 30 percent – by the end of the speech, the approval rating had gone up to 56 percent.

One of the most unique aspects of the reactions to the speech was that the three lines of Democrats, Republicans and independents that tracked the respondents’ feelings moved mostly together throughout the whole speech, an unusual occurrence for State of the Union addresses.

Frank Luntz’s Fox News focus group, though, was not quite so impressed:

So, what does all this mean and, more importantly, does it really matter? I’m not quite sure it means much of anything. As I noted yesterday, history indicates that State Of The Union addresses don’t have that much of an impact on Presidential job approval. If Barack Obama’s comeback continues, it will be because the economy is starting to improve and people are feeling more confident about the future. By and large, that’s something that is totally out of the control of either Barack Obama or any of the 535 Members of Congress he was speaking to last night.Yes, they can enact policy that has an economic impact but, at this point, whether things turn around depends on whether the jobs start returning, and that’s not up to them at all.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Congress, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. mannning says:

    The problem is one of credibility. Whatever Obama says, you can be sure that the eventual outcome will not be rosy for the average family. Doses of salt for all. High income citizens, you are the target, the source, the banker for his so-called progressive agenda. Redistribution is ever on his mind, and to top it off, he wants to spend, spend, spend, and never mind the national debt; it will somehow take care of itself. Hopefully, we will have to listen to but one more SOTU address from this clown.

  2. An Interested Party says:

    “Frank Luntz’s Fox News focus group, though, was not quite so impressed…”

    I find that to be absolutely shocking!

    “The problem is one of credibility. Whatever Obama says, you can be sure that the eventual outcome will not be rosy for the average family.”

    Oh, but of course, because as we all know, the president’s main goal in life is to stick to the average American family…I’m sure Alinsky wrote something about that too…

  3. John425 says:

    Dear Manning: Amen.

  4. ponce says:

    Whenever I see Obama on my TV I start to grin uncontrollably.

    I haven’t done that since St. Ronnie’s first term.

  5. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “An overwhelming majority of Americans approved of the overall message in President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, according to a CBS News poll of speech watchers.”

    He must have hit all their erogenous zones.

  6. I saw a man so steeped in class warfare, the redistribution of wealth and state control of the economy that he can’t not talk about it even when he’s trying not to.

    It should be clear even to his defenders that he isn’t up to the job. Nary a serious word about cutting but reams on new spending, targeted according to his political whims, of course.

    Now we just have to hang on for two more years.

  7. JKB says:

    I believe Megan McArdle is correct, what we saw was the CEO of a failing company who has no idea how to turn it around. Notice he never gave an account of the state of the Union. He talked about the past, the tried to rally for the future, but no where did he objectively state the current condition of the enterprise. Question is, were their adult analysts watching who will call him on it or are we all still in head in the sand mode?

    … whether things turn around depends on whether the jobs start returning, and that’s not up to them at all.

    That’s BS. The President and the 535 members of Congress can’t create jobs but they’ve proven again and again throughout the history of the Union that they can kill jobs and job creation. If they stop meddling, which the SOTU gave no indication of, there is hope but what we heard was more government picking winners, no indication of getting out of the way and really loony ideas like making our power production infrastructure totally unreliable.

  8. JKB says:

    Until the government gets out of the way of private sector job creation, this will be our happy theme song.

  9. wr says:

    JKB — If your post begins with “I believe Megan McArdle is correct,” you might as well end it right there. Whatever follows is going to be hopeless nonsense. She is to thought what Taco Bell taco meat is to beef.

  10. wr says:

    JKB — The president can’t create jobs? Why not — I mean, aside from ludicrous right wing ideology?

    Let’s say the president starts a program — and congress funds, of course — to repair and strengthen the interstate highway system, say. As far as I can tell, whole bunches of jobs will be created. Do you think they don’t count?

  11. anjin-san says:

    Jkb… you are right. Look at how well it worked when Bush “got out of the.way”. Oh, wait. Unemployment doubled on his watch. Nothing to see here folks. Please move along.

  12. mantis says:

    She is to thought what Taco Bell taco meat is to beef.

    Win.

  13. Tlaloc says:

    “The President and the 535 members of Congress can’t create jobs…”

    Yeah everyone knows Hoover Dam is a natural formation of 2.5 million cubic meters of concrete!

    Seriously are you guys really that stupid? The census alone created a few HUNDRED THOUSAND temporary jobs. I suppose our volunnteer military is really just that? Unpaid volunteers?

    Are you guys so divorced from reality that these facts have no impact on your false world view at all?

    yes, “rhetorical.”

  14. JKB says:

    “…president starts a program — and congress funds,…”

    Where, oh where, does this money, you so coquettishly call funds, come from?

    By the very definition, government money paid for work done must be more than the taxes taken from those workers. So at best you have dwindling jobs. So of a form, there are jobs created. Temp jobs because they disappear as soon as the tax dollars run out which has already happened, as well as the tax dollars of the kids, grandkids and great grand kids.

    So you are correct the President and Congress can create a few jobs to tide people over for a couple of years but they can’t create the jobs that will fuel the economy and bring prosperity since any money they spend is by definition already a drain on the economy and prosperity. Small, balanced government in a large robust private sector economy is the only longterm viable path.

  15. JKB says:

    Well since the shop floor lawyers are hung up on the clause, how about we be specific. The President and the 535 members of Congress cannot create jobs that bring in more tax dollars than they consume, i.e., they are a net drain on the Treasury. Now if we want prosperity, we need people in jobs whose taxes are a net gain for the Treasury, i.e., private sector jobs.

    However, the President and the 535 members of Congress can and do enact legislation that seriously retards the creation of jobs that are a net gain to the Treasury.

  16. mantis says:

    since any money they spend is by definition already a drain on the economy and prosperity.

    Bullshit.

  17. Gerry W. says:

    Let’s clear up Obama’s investment. It is not redistribution as the republicans say. Republicans are very good at twisting words. Every time Joe Kernen on CNBC approaches this, he gets it wrong. Kernen assumes that what Obama says is socialism. What this country needs is a plan and that plan has to come from the government. We know that republicans say that the private sector creates jobs, but the problem is that the private sector is not creating jobs and they did not create jobs under Bush. And the biggest problem we face is globalization. Some 40,000 factories and millions of jobs lost in the last decade. And that is under the great “trickle down theory.” Well, how long are we going to go on with these failed ideologies?

    You need a foundation and we lost that foundation years ago. Obama talked about investing in our country whether it is high speed rail, internet, of future sciences.

    For example, building the interstate highway system was an investment in our country. It created businesses all along the interstate. It created more in tourism and you could get from point A to point B in less time. Our food and other supplies also come faster.

    I look at my town and many towns like mine in which there are closed factories, and the fact is that there is nothing going to fill in those factories. All the tax incentives in the world is not going to bring those jobs back. Our government is going to have to take the lead to invest in our future, so that there will be future jobs. We cannot compete with 2 billion cheap laborers, automation, lean principles, and the internet in which it takes away jobs from the front office.

    Apple and other companies have decided to have their widgets made in other countries. So to rely on the private sector solely is playing a foolish game. We are up against state capitalism in which China has invested heavily in high speed rail and other areas. That is not to say there won’t be white elephants, but the biggest white elephant of all was the Bush tax cut trickle down theory which was a wasted 800 billion dollars which is money for the here and now and is spent money and cannot stimulate our country any longer as it lost its effectiveness.

    Now, we are behind some 2 trillion dollars on our infrastructure. We need to be energy independent. We should have high speed internet for 98% of our country which will be our interstate of the future and will create new businesses. We need new massive retraining for those people without jobs and jobs that are mismatched. And we can invest in future sciences with federal research grants to universities.

    Most of this and nothing else will effect my town. My town is ruined as we lost the manufacturing and the small business that went with it. I also see a great upheaval all around the world if we don’t do something. Some other countries have a plan. We do not. Other countries like in Tunisia and Egypt do not have jobs and they are rioting.

    Again, the biggest obstacle we face is globalization and 2 billion cheap laborers and automation which means less workers. This phenomenon is a first in our life times and we need to deal with it. And just to say the private sector creates jobs is no answer at all.

  18. Gerry W. says:

    JKB,

    The private sector is unable to create the millions of jobs needed because of globalization and cheap labor. Add to that automation, lean principles, the internet, and the monopoly laws put in by Reagan and we lost the jobs.

    There is no catalyst to create jobs. Even the best entrepreneur, Steve Jobs, decided to have his products made in China. So we can’t rely on new widgets. Truthfully, I am at a loss in where new jobs will come from, but whatever it may be, it ain’t working. And that is why the government needs to take a lead. The government can lay a foundation, and private sector jobs will come about. It is the only way I know of. But for republicans to say that the private sector creates jobs, which is true, just where are they going to come from?

    What widgets can we make here and not in some other country? I don’t have an answer to this one.

    How can you support small business if the factories have closed down in the community?

    And giving tax cuts to the consumer, means that half the money is spent on foreign products.

    The dynamics have changed. Now if republicans have answers, let’s here it. So far the republicans have given no answers.

  19. wr says:

    JKB — Here’s how it works. The government creates “temporary” jobs building infrastructure. (These temporary jobs may last for years, by the way, if the project is something like building the interstate highway system…) Once that infrastructure is in place, it allows businesses to grow and thrive and create private sector jobs.

    I’m sure if you had been alive back then you would have complained about the evil gummint spendig all that money on rural electrification in the South. But that government project turned what had been economicially mired in the 19th century into something that was only philosophically mired in the 19th century… and led to the creation of uncountable numbers of jobs.

    Obama’s plans for high-speed internet and even high-speed rail have to potential to bring abotu many of the same benefits.

  20. She is to thought what Taco Bell taco meat is to beef.

    You stay classy, progressives.

    Gerry W., I wish I knew where to start in addressing your delusions and misconceptions, but perhaps I’d start with your dichotomous thinking that Republicans twist words while Democrats are merely good-hearted truth tellers. Say, where did all that TARP money go?

    As for the government creating “infrastructure” jobs to kick start the economy, It’s fascinating to see progressives argue for a form of trickle down economics. Kind of like those claiming the stock market hitting 12,000 is proof the economy has recovered. Goodness gracious man, the important question is does it create value, not does it create jobs when it comes to government or private investment. High speed rail is a boondoggle waste of epic proportions looming on our horizon, not to mention the fantastical “green jobs” or other targeted, read politically favored, “investments.”

  21. anjin-san says:

    Were did the TARP money go? The noted far left rag The Wall St. journal reported today that the governments profit on its $45 billion investment will total $12.3 billion. Gee Charles, you really zinged us with that one. Ouch! You have a Michelle Bachman secret decoder ring coming your way as recognition of your outstanding work in the area of divorcing reality.

  22. Gerry W. says:

    Charles,

    There is nothing else to create jobs. Yes, we can change tax laws, and cut corporate taxes, although there are many write offs today. But is it enough? We are going to have to struggle to deal with the changing dynamics. I talk of the infrastructure, first, because we are behind 2 trillion dollars on the infrastructure, and secondly, you need to create jobs somewhere in which the private sector is unable to do. If the private sector sends a certain percentage of jobs overseas, then it is pointless to think that the private sector alone is a panacea. And in fact, no solution on my part or yours is going to create jobs in my town as we are unable to produce jobs here without the factories.

    The stock market is doing quite good, but that is profits, and yes you can say that jobs follow, but again, a lot of jobs lost are globalized jobs and not the cyclical jobs. In other words Wall Street will do good, and you can have all the trickle down you want, but it will not effect my town and a lot of the middle class.

    I will ask again, what widgets can we make here and not some other country?

    How do we support small business where factories have closed?

    And if you put the money in the hands of the consumer, half the products bought will be foreign made.

    High speed rail can be a boondoggle, I would have only started in the Northeast and see how it went first. I am sure there will be other boondoggles and white elephants. Again, the biggest white elephant was the Bush tax cuts. It was 800 billion dollars spent for the here and now, and does us no good for today or in the future. Our jobs still left the country. So, in short, the Bush tax cuts did not create any jobs. And it can’t and nothing will work until we know what to do or get around 2 billion cheap laborers. Globalization and 2 billion cheap laborers is a once in a lifetime challenge that we need answers to.

  23. Terrye says:

    Oh come on…a CBS instapoll? And it was only 91%…why in Iraq, back in the good old days Saddam could get 99%.

    Last year this same instapoll showed approval at 83 %, and in a couple of weeks his socalled spike was gone.

    I hear Luntz’s focus groups were under whelmed.

    I did not watch it, and I am sure that is true of a lot of people who are not in love with Obama. But I also think these kinds of polls after events like this are not all that relevant. The news we got today about the $1.5 trillion deficit will have a lot more impact on the lives of the American people than some silly speech.

  24. Tlaloc says:

    “The President and the 535 members of Congress cannot create jobs that bring in more tax dollars than they consume, i.e., they are a net drain on the Treasury.”

    And your proof for this is…?

    Oh right, there is none because it’s idiotic and flase. That’s like saying no business can possible create jobs worth more than the money they brought in by capitalization.

    There’s a few fundamental differences between a business selling stock and a government taxing but they all favor the government in terms of being able to provide a reyturn.

  25. wr says:

    Charles Austin — “Trickle down economics” is the government giving rich people cash in the form of tax breaks and hoping they use some of it to hire an extra gardener. Building infrastructure is what is called an “investment.” I’m sure you would also have opposed the transcontinental railway — all that government land being given away! — the rural electrification project, the Golden Gate Bridge and Coolee Dam, and the interstate highway system as boondoggles, too — because nothing is more important than a couple of dollars off your tax bill.

  26. JKB says:

    since any money they spend is by definition already a drain on the economy and prosperity.

    Bullshit.

    Nothing quite like a well reasoned counter argument.

    Gerry W. – Where is this money for these government (temp) jobs coming from? But I will give you that government investment into economy value-adding infrastructure is good. Hoover Dam created electricity which was used by the private sector to build electricity intensive industries. The interstate highway system created new routes to move goods around the country, opening up new markets for factories. But please pray tell, what is the economic value added by high speed trains? They don’t move cargo, they do move people so I guess people can commute further but where are these increases in value to the overall economy? Or high-speed Internet? We are going to make deep investments to provide high speed internet to people who’ve not seen the economic value of having it. Perhaps there is some business that is trapped in a location and can’t afford satellite internet that will break out once the cable companies truck comes by? But if the value was so great as the expense will be, the company could more economically move 20 miles toward town or set up their own microwave tower.

    Where will the jobs come from in the private sector? No one knows, that is the point. The government certainly doesn’t know. So the solution is to reduce the cost of an employee, give investors hope they’ll be permitted to make a profit on their investment and stop with all the preemptive regulation. Then a couple hundred million Americans will be able to, with confidence, take a chance on something that might be the next Apple, or GM or Amazon. But as long as DC is trying to pick the winners, we all are going to lose our shirts.

  27. mantis says:

    Nothing quite like a well reasoned counter argument.

    My argument would be the same if you said the sky was bright green. No real need to elaborate since it’s obvious bullshit to anyone with eyes and a brain. Obviously, you’re excluded from that group.

    But, in any case, I thank you for conceding the argument:

    But I will give you that government investment into economy value-adding infrastructure is good

    How does that square with this?

    since any money they spend is by definition already a drain on the economy and prosperity.

    See? Bullshit. You even admit it yourself.

  28. wr, congratulations, you picked a few that worked. Now, how about all the ones that didn’t? Start with, say, the Big Dig in Boston and how much it cost over projections. Or the Federal Courthouse in St. Louis, where I live where they put up the drywall before putting on the roof and had to rip it all out and start over. Too bad we didn’t go ahead with Senator Steven’s Bridge to Nowhere eh?

  29. floyd says:

    You all should have heard Jim Cramer on “Mad Money” this afternoon.
    Very balanced and complimentary of Obama and the SOTU speach,
    it was realistic praise without all that “cult of personality” slobber commonly found here.
    Quite refreshing!

  30. Pug says:

    …you picked a few that worked…

    The interstate highway system? Yeah, I’d have to say that worked.

    If the U.S. had today’s conservatives instead of Republicans like Dwight Eisenhower there would probably be no interstate highway system. Spending on infrastructure does create jobs and it does promote economic growth.

    Who built that court house in St. Louis? I’m betting it was contracted to the private sector, no?

  31. Gerry W. says:

    JKB,

    I have been tying to analyze where the jobs may come from. And I suggest high speed rail, and I would do it on a smaller scale to test it out. But I am saying this, because I don’t think the private sector can do the job we want it to do.

    Now you say that the solution is to reduce the cost of an employee. Well, if we go by free market principles, I would suppose that we have to be equal to our dollar an hour as our counter parts in China. And this is what has been happening. We are losing the middle class either by losing jobs or by losing wages and benefits. So what we have is the deterioration of the middle class. The other problem I see is that we used to make widgets 30 years ago and we were unchallenged. Making widgets does not necessarily mean jobs for us. Maybe for China or Mexico. You talk of the next Apple and their widgets are made in China. So again, my focus is on 2 billion cheap laborers and how we are going to deal with it. The easy answer is to reduce wages and not have any benefits. In short, get rid of the middle class. Yes, we don’t know where the next jobs come from, and we also know if there are new jobs or businesses they don’t necessarily have to be here. So we need to take that into account. In which the globalists will never talk about.

    True, the government does not know where the jobs come from either and they focused on housing for the poor and for jobs while the mfg. jobs left the country. But, what government can do is support incubator companies, it can still invest in the country like energy independence, and a mixture of high speed rail, internet, and air traffic control. We cannot abandon our infrastructure as we have done for decades.

    We also should give every opportunity for vocational training for those that need to adjust in our globalized world. 30% of factories are closed and people will need to be retrained. And on top of that the factories was a source where the uneducated could be uplifted to be middle class. And we lost some of that upward mobility.

    We also can invest in science. We have always done that and to keep up with state capitalism, we need to do more. The science can range from batteries in with South Korea is ahead of us, but also any science that can eventually trickle down to the private sector. We have done this all along and this is nothing knew. What we do know is this works.

    In the end, it will be the private sector that will create jobs and the private sector will lead the way, just as much as they built the gas stations, the motels, and the tourists sites along the interstates. Now this is rebuilding America. It is a plan and it worked before.

    Again, I will ask, what widgets can we make here and not some other country? And we have no answer for this accept the one who pays the lowest wage wins.

    As we hear the politicians say they support small business, it does not relate to my town in which the factories have closed. Again, the politicians are not addressing the issue.

    And if we have tax cuts and put it in the hands of the consumer to drive the economy, half the products are foreign made. So again, the dynamics have changed.

    And we hear Obama and others say that we need to rely on exports. Well, not from my town where the factories are closed. Again, they are disconnected from reality.

    And on exports, it will be a matter of time that China will compete with Boeing and others. They’re advantage is taking away intellectual property, cheap labor, currency manipulation, unfair trade practices, and high growth.

    On GM, yes they will hire, but the jobs will be higher skill and be more automated, which means less manpower.

    On Amazon. again, probably less manpower. We are going to have less labor intensive businesses.

    Again, we are up against 2 billion cheap laborers, automation, lean principles, the internet that takes away from office jobs, and jobs will need to be more skilled. Also the internet makes other possibilities happen, maybe, and I am just guessing, maybe we don’t need insurance adjusters to look at a car or house. Maybe you send a picture to China and someone will let you know what you are entitled. And McDonalds has been working on the drive thru in which you order a hamburger from someone in India. Also, I took my mother to the hospital and the CAT scan was taken at the hospital but it was reviewed in Columbus. So anything can happen. But I would guess, that we will have less in labor to do what we have done in the past. Our local paper did away with the paper carriers and is using the post office. Again, more lost jobs. In other words it will be a real challenge to create jobs.

    Already you see riots in other countries over jobs. There is simply too many people for too few jobs. And one thing that China needs to do is to give incentives for a lot of people to go back to their homeland and create jobs there instead of taking our jobs. That way it will create more jobs and more upward mobility for everyone.

    Again, I am for tax incentives or lowering corporate taxes. However, the government also has a role. The problem we run into is that we have done nothing in at least three decades to deal with globalization. We horsed around living on failed ideologies. The jobs lost were under Bush. He gave us tax cuts but we lost the jobs. So the republicans have said nothing yet on how jobs are being created. It has been the same robotic answers for 30 years and it is not working.

  32. Hey, I’d trade today’s Republicans for 1960 Democrats in a heart beat, they actually didn;t have to be proded to lower taxes or speak up for American exceptionalism.

    Heh, congratulations pug, you picked the interastate highway system yet again. I never said every government attempt at infrastructure was a failure so grow up and try to make a serious argument. And maybe even address some of the many, many failures of government spending and how destructive and corrupt it is when the government picks winners or screws bondholders to reward their union freinds, etc.

    If you want to know more about the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse fiasco, its all public record. I’m not doing your homework for you.

  33. anjin-san says:

    Oh, I forgot. Charles does not speak to me. I showed his argument is nonsense, thus I am a “bad faith actor”.

  34. IP727 says:

    The pavlovs of the left believe in the broken window fallcay

  35. anjin-san says:

    > High speed rail is a boondoggle waste of epic proportions

    Well, we certainly know how utterly it has failed in Europe and Japan. You are right, a horrible idea.

  36. Neil Hudelson says:

    stay classy progressives

    charles is ok accusing the president of waging class warfare, but his fee fees are so delicate that if someone dares to question McMegan’s intelligence he starts sniffling and blubbering like John Boehner watching “Milo and Otis.”

    Are all Republicans this much of a pansy?

  37. anjin-san says:

    > he wants to spend, spend, spend, and never mind the national debt; it will somehow take care of itself.

    Gee, you could almost be talking about Bush. As I recall, conservatives cheered at the top of their lungs while he was doing this.

  38. wr says:

    Sure, the Big Dig in Boston went overbudget. (Although to be fair, the criminally negligent work was done by… the private sector.) Ask any Bostonian if they’d like to go back to the way the city was BEFORE the Big Dig. It’s made the city a much better place.

    And I’m really sorry to hear about your courthouse. But guess what — bad management happens. It happens in government work and it happens in corporate work. A crappy job on a building is hardly an argument against government infrastructure projects.

    By they way, you might want to google around and see just how many office buildings, shopping centers and condo towers are sitting half-finished and rusting away all over the country — because private sector businesses screwed up in one way or another. I guess we should shut down all business.

  39. IP727 says:

    Paul krugman idiot

  40. IP727 says:

    anjin-san says:
    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 19:09
    > High speed rail is a boondoggle waste of epic proportions

    Well, we certainly know how utterly it has failed in Europe and Japan. You are right, a horrible idea.

    Apples and oranges. Those places have a high population density, the U.S. does not.
    European unemployment averages 10 plus percent.

  41. G.A.Phillips says:

    Obama’s speech, lol, for some reason the word cretin comes to mind……

    Oh and he sucks, even more then his football team, lol, and the only thing that sucks more then him or it, are his fans and the fans of his team.

    Slobbering slurpees Stimulus Man………….. Cutler must feel like Bush……….

  42. Tlaloc says:

    “wr, congratulations, you picked a few that worked. Now, how about all the ones that didn’t?”

    Charles is making an obvious fallacy here:
    on the one hand he wants to say that if every government action does not successfully produce jobs then it is inferior to private industry. But what is the success rate for private industry? New startups have an abysmal success rate, as one example.

    Lets take a step back and look at the various big items that have revolutionized our lives and the economy (computers, internet, modern medicine, modern transportation, satellites/rockets, and so on). Almost all of them began as government projects. Business is by necessity short sighted and very bad at real innovation (but very good at taking real innovation and finding some way to market it).

  43. Tlaloc says:

    “Those places have a high population density, the U.S. does not.
    European unemployment averages 10 plus percent.”

    Speaking of apples and oranges. Unemployment in Europe is not the life crushing event it is here because of functioning safety nets.

    As for population density- apparently somebody has never been to the east coast. Nor do they understand that rail is a very efficient way to move freight.

  44. An Interested Party says:

    “Notice he never gave an account of the state of the Union. He talked about the past, the tried to rally for the future, but no where did he objectively state the current condition of the enterprise.”

    Not true…he did talk about how we got through the worst part of the recession and are in a better place now than we were…obviously some people notice only what they want to…

    “Hey, I’d trade today’s Republicans for 1960 Democrats in a heart beat, they actually didn;t have to be proded to…speak up for American exceptionalism.”

    Oh really? Which country was the president praising so much last night? Indonesia? Kenya, perhaps?

    “As for population density- apparently somebody has never been to the east coast.”

    Well of course not…the east coast isn’t Real America, you know…

  45. anjin-san says:

    > European unemployment averages 10 plus percent.

    And in Japan it is 5%. How exactly does this relate to high speed rail?

  46. anjin-san says:

    > Nor do they understand that rail is a very efficient way to move freight.

    And a nice option to have if gas prices get out of control. Oops. Exxon and Chevron might not like that. High speed rail, terrible idea. Of course.

  47. IP727 says:

    Unemployment in Europe is not the life crushing event it is here because of functioning safety nets.

    The “functioning safety nets” are a major reason their economies are dying. Even the Eurosocialists now realize that.