Reluctantly I tuned away from an excellent Japanese film on TCM to hear our President's words in this time of crisis. As a History buff, my ears pricked up when he alluded to learning from History. After listening a few minutes I have concluded that the President, who appears to understand little of economics, knows even less about our History. In the course of about five minutes he made two obvious gaffs; gaffs a High School grad might make over one too many Miller Lites.
Our president asserts that the automobile was invented in the United States. This would be news to Herr's Daimler and Benz of Germany . It is they who in fact invented the first internal combustion self propelled motor vehicle in the 1880's. I suppose the President assumes Henry Ford invented the automobile, or perhaps Al Gore.
Our President believes the transcontinental railroad was built during our Civil War. It was in fact begun in July of the year 1865 and finished in 1869. Perhaps he was thinking of some other civil war. A mistake about dates may seem trivial, but not when it's about the capacity of government to take on multiple responsibilities in a time of crisis. And this man went to Prep School, Columbia and Yale?
The above lays open several disturbing possibilities. The first is that the President writes his own speeches and does not permit any simple fact checking. The second possibility is that the President does have a speech writer who is as Historically illiterate has himself. The third possibility is that neither the President or anyone else in this White House care, since the public are fools who don't know their own History.
The President went on to attack bankers, call for universal health care and launch a vast and expensive commitment to education. He will increase lending while beating up on bankers, give everyone free medical care, and increase the cranial capacity of the millions of young morons who drop out of school each year. How exactly, he didn't say. But he did promise to do all this while halving the national deficit.
I turned back to my Japanese movie only to find it was over. It, like the President's speech, was a work of fiction. But unlike the President's speech it was based on History.