President Underpants Gnome

From last evening’s State Of The Union speech…

This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology – an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

I like President Obama. I voted for the guy and was in fact an early supporter. Even given that, when I examine Obama’s record as objectively as I can, I still find his list of accomplishments to be astonishing. He will be remembered, I think, as one of the most effective presidents evar…why do you think Republigoats hate the guy so completely?

But. When President Obama starts talking about things like new technologies and green technologies and blah blah blah, it kind of reminds me of these guys:

South Park fans will recognize these fellows as the “underpants gnomes.” This merry band of industrious workers has established a focused business plan:

Phase 1: Collect Underpants
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit

Research. Development. Information. Technology. Green, green, green. Electric cars. Flibbity flobbity floo.

How does any of that mean squat in the same speech where you’re touting pending trade agreements? What is being done to ensure that these efforts rebuild our domestic manufacturing infrastructure? That the train cars, that the electric cars, at all of these new products coming out of this new, tech-driven economy aren’t manufactured elsewhere employing folks who are not Americans? What do these niceties mean for a nation led by a Democratic administration that’s already bent over backward for business, only to have business fold its arms and harumph, so we bend over even more backward? Yet, any effort to stand beside labor seems to be mostly lip service?

It’s wonderful to talk about R&D and new-fangled products and green tech and junk. But if the American manufacturing infrastructure is as weakened as it seems to be, if we are perpetually driven to allow global free trade to tramp all over our rose garden, isn’t such talk just talk?

South Park won’t let me embed any underpants gnomes footage, by the way. So instead here’s a commercial with a kid making a wish sandwich. With peanut butter and jelly.

P.S. Trying to name that tune? “Age of Consent” by New Order.

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