Monday, June 1, 2009

The Daily Strike-6/1/09-In General

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Make sure you catch up on our latest entries, including this week's Weekly Strike, and some good work from The Big Picture. Also, stay tuned for some an interesting new feature at the end of the week.

GM: We already talked about the situation with GM last night and this morning, but I wanted to mention a few more things. First, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and other members of the administration tried to emphasize that the administration has no long-term interest in owning or operating GM. On the other hand, Gibbs would not give a timetable as to when the U.S. would cede it's new found majority stake in the company, saying simply that it will wait until GM is "solvent." This worries me pretty deeply. Owning a company with such a nonexistent management structure, and one that is big enough to deeply impact the economy is a pretty thankless job. My worry is that Obama's opponents will point to government ownership of GM to make a statement that "government control fails." This could potentially hurt political support for Obama's health care and education proposals, both of which cede some control from the private sector to the public sector. On the other hand, it would be pretty hard for people to blame the GM situation solely on Obama, considering that they went bankrupt last year, and it was the Bush administration that gave them a bailout.

The Big Picture brought up a very good point today about GM. The Obama administration is being politically astute by making this announcement the day before he leaves for a high profile overseas trip. The mainstream media will forget about today's announcement as soon as Obama lands in Cairo. It's important for us to remember that what happened with GM is more significant than anything Obama says or does over the next week. Thousands of people have lost their jobs. Sometimes it's hard for us to avoid shiny metal object stories (like Obama's trip), but we need to make sure we remember the less-sexy stories that have big impacts on people's lives.

The President spent the afternoon visiting soldiers at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. He meets with key lawmakers to discuss health care reform tomorrow morning, before jetting overseas.

LGBT: One of the few groups that has been justifiably disappointed in the President is the LGBT community. Obama has continued to oppose gay marriage, he has not come through on his promise to allow gays to serve in the military, and he has not spoken at all on behalf of a House-passed measure expanding hate crimes protection to LGBT Americans. Today, the President finally spoke out. In a written statement, Obama declared June "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month." He praised members of the community for their contributions to American life, and noted that he was the first President to appoint openly gay candidates to key government positions in his first 100 days. The President promised to work to end the ban on gays in the military, and to push for a ban on discrimination in the workplace. He also said he wants to assure adoption rights for gay couples. His statement is probably toothless, and mostly for show. But consider this: can you imagine the last President even talking about these issues? I hope the LGBT community holds President Obama to these promises.

That's it for today. Congress comes back into session tomorrow. We'll have full coverage tomorrow night.

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