"Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it’s not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout our history, our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That’s what planted the seeds for the Internet. That’s what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS. Just think of all the good jobs -- from manufacturing to retail -- that have come from these breakthroughs.
Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t even there yet. NASA didn’t exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.
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. And 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 heard numerous talking heads criticizing the 'Sputnik moment' phrase, notably Sarah Palin but also guests on NPR (the NPR guests were asked about the 'Sputnick moment' phrase because it was a popular discussion in the media, which tells me a lot about our media and populace).
When that little pinging satellite went flying over our heads, we, as a nation, got concerned. This wasn't about beating the Soviets to the moon, although that was a benefit. Nor was it about getting ahead of the Soviets in some kind of who's the smartest pissing contest. It was about fear, fear that the commies would come and get us if we were not ahead of them technologically. We needed bigger bombs, faster missiles, etc. Now we needed spy satellites, but suddenly found ourselves behind the curve.
Now we are not afraid of the Soviets sneaking up on us, nor are we particularly afraid of China's nukes, nor India's, Pakistan's, etc. The threat of global thermonuclear war is less today (or at least 2 generations of living under the awareness of the fact has dimmed our senses). Now we are afraid of falling behind the curve because India, China, Europe are all capable of innovation and are investing more heavily in science, education, etc. than we are. In the US, we have to continually spend resources trying to teach science in public schools. In the US, if you know something you're a pinhead.
So on the one hand US citizenry wants to be a (the) world leader in technology, innovation, etc, but at the same time spends a good deal of time attacking those who would help promote technology and drive innovation in the US...
...which is the perfect segue to Sarah Palin's response
VAN SUSTEREN: Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is still with us. And Governor, last night there was a lot of discussion about the Sputnik moment that the president talked about. Do you agree with him? Do you -- and is this our moment?
PALIN: That was another one of those WTF moments, when he so often repeated this Sputnik moment that he would aspire Americans to celebrate. And he needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space, yes, they won, but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.
Let's pause for reality identification. Palin's understanding of history equals that of her understanding of science. Back to our regularly scheduled blockquoting.
So I listened to that Sputnik moment talk over and over again, and I think, No, we don't need one of those. You know what we need is a "spudnut" moment. And here's where I'm going with this, Greta. And you're a good one because you're one of those reporters who actually gets out there in the communities, find these hard-working people and find solutions to the problems that Americans face.
When was the last time you saw Greta van Susteren out there in communities? And by what definition is Van Susteren a reporter? Regardless, we are already well on our way down pablum drive. We have introduced the mythical 'hard-working people' who have all these solutions to our national problems. How to we pay down/off the National debt? Let's go ask Pat the carpet cleaner. Best way to deal with Egypt, we turn to Terry the Kinko's copier employee.
Well, the spudnut shop in Richland, Washington -- it's a bakery, it's a little coffee shop that's so successful, 60-some years, generation to generation, a family-owned business not looking for government to bail them out and to make their decisions for them. It's just hard-working, patriotic Americans in this shop.
We need more spudnut moments in America. And I wish that President Obama would understand, in that heartland of America, what it is that really results in the solutions that we need to get this economy back on the right track. It's a shop like that.
Palin is a crackerjack scientist, historian, and geographer. Because nothing says 'heartland of America' like the west coast state of Washington. Regardless, what does anything she said mean? To promote the economy and stay competitive in the world, (Im assuming she would like that, I could be wrong.) her solution is what?
1. We need to keep government out, 2. Establish a bunch of several generation old family owned businesses, 3. Work hard, 4. Be patriotic.
If done correctly the economy will be fixed and USA will surpass all those other countries in the world that are focusing on infrastructure, technology, and education. Yep, we'll surpass them with our first class high quality baked goods.
I hope that while Palin was talking with these hard-working patriotic Real™ Americans at the Spudnut bakery, she found out a winning strategy in Afghanistan.
(The irony is that Palin's hard-working patriotic family owned business started and grew in a town bought and paid for by the government. The people who lived in Richland were government employees being paid by the tax-payer. All those cinnamon buns sold in the Spudnut bakery were bought with taxpayer dollars. But who needs reality when you're talking to the sheeple.)