Monday, December 06, 2010

This just in from Planet Fox

And what might be the cunning, moronic, narcissistic Chicago punk pantywaist thug in the White House be up to now? Glad you asked!

The phone. The electric light bulb. The Model T. Heck, Google.

The list of American innovations that have changed life on Earth is practically endless, but President Obama is trying to inspire America's next technological wave by referring back to a 50-year-old achievement by a defunct nation -- Sputnik.

Hmm. I wonder where that one's going, you ask?

The president, visiting North Carolina's Research Triangle Monday, called on businesses and lawmakers to help America achieve the next "Sputnik moment" -- referring to the Soviets' 1957 launch of an Earth-orbiting satellite which amped up the space race, led to the creation of NASA and was effectively rebutted when the United States put a man, or several of them, on the moon.

"That was a wake-up call," Obama said. "Once we put our minds to it, once we got focused, once we got unified, not only did we surpass the Soviets -- we developed new American technologies, industries and jobs."

So he's not really asking us to "achieve" a Sputnik moment so much as "recognize" one? But there's a bigger issue at stake, so let's introduce some experts to remind us:

But the president's decision to cheerlead for the next big breakthrough by repeatedly referencing a Soviet achievement from a half-century ago has some scratching their heads. For starters, the United States has forged some important engineering eras since then. Ever hear of Palo Alto?

"In order to know what Sputnik is, you probably have to be at least 50 years old," said Marc Thiessen, a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush. "I would think that there's a long list of moments in American innovation that would resonate more with the American people."

Well, there's an authoritative source for you. Wonder if he'll be complaining on Tuesday about all that 1941 stuff. But it'd be nice to point out that people whose memories extend back to the Soviet era probably don't need reminding that it was "repressive."

... Besides, this is the president under fire from Sputnik-era astronauts for pushing cuts to the NASA budget.

Well, speaking of Soviet-era relics: two third-class seats on the unheated cattle car to Siberia for the little comrade who left out the failed Islamic outreach!

... The rhetorical twist isn't new. The president's Sputnik references date back to April 2009, when in a speech before the National Academy of Sciences he made the case for more research investment by hailing the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations' hard-charging response to the Sputnik crisis. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in a speech last week, described China's clean energy investment as the next "Sputnik moment" for America. In other words, a trigger that kicks U.S. innovation into high gear.

It's not only not new, it's not even original. You can find it in a hearing by the House Science Committee in (ahem) 2008, marking the anniversary of the panel's Sputnik-inspured founding: "We are on the cusp of another Sputnik moment," said committee chairman Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn. "I fear that our country has coasted on the investment made in the last 50 years."

Or to a 2006 NYT article about the back-to-basics movement in math, quoting one reformer as saying: "The whole country has been in denial about mathematics, and now we're sort of at a second Sputnik moment.''

And, of course, you can say "Sputnik moment" indirectly, as when Ronald Reagan demanded more funding for the VOA and (the proposed) Radio Marti in a 1983 radio address: ''We're as far behind the Soviets and their allies in international broadcasting today as we were in space when they launched Sputnik in 1957,'' the President said.

Come to that, green energy and fast trains aren't even the first Sputnik moment ascribed to China. For that, you can point to former executive of the Asia Society discussing about the 2008 Olympics in Beijing:

Aug. 8, 2008, may someday be remembered as the first day of the post-American era. Or it could be remembered as another "Sputnik moment," when, as with the Soviet foray into outer space in 1957, the American people realized that the country had lost its footing and decided it was time for the United States to get its act together.

You might get the idea from all this that people use analogies and the cliches that grow from them because they work. That'd make sense. But on Planet Fox, "Sputnik moment" is somehow evidence that Obama's benign mask has slipped to reveal the hideous commie visage beneath. We're just waiting on Charles Krauthammer to suggest that all those czars make Obama a closet Romanov.

* On Sept. 11. Your Editor does not make this stuff up.



Anonymous Bob L. said...

Just when you think they can't go any lower ... What's really scary is the number of people who lap up this sort of thing. And yet, Fox seems unworried about all those "conservatives" who want to go back to the original constitution, which plainly makes those folks in favor of slavery and outdoor toilets. Is that really so fair and balanced?

9:30 AM, December 07, 2010  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

So, if he was to say "circle the wagons" they'd point out that we've had cars for more than a century now?

Got it. He's always wrong, and in some hopelessly un-American way too.

8:19 PM, December 07, 2010  

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