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February 24, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-02-24

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4A - Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


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Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Green for the Great Lakes
Obama should deliver on his $5 billion promise
ith health care hogging the headlines since President
Barack Obama took office, other reform proposals
have received relatively little attention. But efforts to
protect the Great Lakes deserve more notice - and funding. The
Obama administration's five-year blueprint for the Great Lakes,
which is made up of $2.2 billion to protect, preserve and restore
the Great Lakes' ecosystems, is only half the $5 billion that was
initially promised. The Great Lakes play an important role in the
already suffering state economies in the region. To provide ade-
quate protection for this vital resource, the federal government
must fulfill the rest of its pledge and provide the full $5 billion to
protect the Great Lakes.

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Snyder is no Superman

You know what politics clearly
needs? More gimmicks. Seri-
ous discussion of issues is so
pass6. But have no
fear - Republican
Rick Snyder, a can-
didate for Michi-
gan governor, is
here to rescue you
from the drudgery ,
of politics. He's
about as gimmicky
as possible.
Snyder's first RACHEL
campaign adver- VANGILDER
tisement ran dur-
ing the year's
Super Bowl - a
ballsy move to start with. It billed
Snyder as "One Tough Nerd." A voice
that sounded like the guy who does
movie trailers railed against ineffec-
tive career politicians. And in swept
Snyder with a call to "reinvent Michi-
gan." The ad also billed Snyder's
10-point plan as "so detailed that,
well, it's likely no politician could
even understand it."
The ad's (kind of overbearing) con-
descension aside, it's prettygimmicky.
He has a catch phrase and a slogan, for
Pete's sake. Snyder isn't a politician in
these ads; He's a product.
It gets worse. Snyder recently held
a contest online to choose his next
campaign ad, appropriately named
"Pick Rick's Ad." One ad compared
Snyder to some of the most recog-
nizable "nerds" in the world: Micro-
soft founder Bill Gates and Apple
CEO Steve Jobs. The other ad had
the gumption to compare him to the
"nerd" Clark Kent/Superman.
If the ads themselves weren't
enough of a publicity stunt, the com-
petition to choose the next one took
Synder's gimmick to a whole new
level. It's like "American Idol." Vote
now for your favorite candidate!
You, America, will decide who will
become the next (pause for dramatic

effect like Ryan Seacrest does) Michi-
gan governor!
This campaign's format was a risky
move for Snyder. It's nontraditional
- not to mention egocentric. It could
be off-putting for a lot of voters, espe-
cially since Snyder is running as a
Republican. You know how us Repub-
licans love tradition. It doesn't pres-
ent Snyder as a serious politician and
it doesn't make his stances on a lot of
issues clear. Instead, he's presented as
a brand. Stepping away from real poli-
tics and into the market is dangerous
territory for a serious candidate.
For me, it's the Superman option in
Snyder's "Pick Rick's Ad" campaign
that really grinds my gears. As a die-
hard Superman fan - hey, I can get
my geek on - I'ns kind of insulted.
Snyder is undoubtedly smart. But like
the song says, he's no Superman.
On the other hand, this risky move
might actually pay off. Snyder's a
businessman - and a fairly success-
ful one at that - and he's selling
himself like a. product. And Ameri-
cans love their consumerism. People
will remember him when they go to
the polls. People are going to think
of Snyder as "that guy from the nerd
commercials." And that name rec-
ognition could be a valuable tool for
someone who has relatively little
fame in Michigan. And after the
debacle that Democratic Gov. Jenni-
fer Granholm is sure to leave in her
wake, people might actually go for
the "One Tough Nerd" thing.
That actually kind of scares me.
I would expect Michiganders to
choose leaders based upon the issues,
not who has the catchiest campaign.
I hope that voters have the sense to
choose action over advertising.
But my (perhaps poisoned with
obsession) feelings about Super-
man and annoyance with gimmicky
advertising aside, the real deal is that
Snyder actually has some good quali-
ties that make him electable, accord-

ing to the biography on his campaign
website. He is a University grad -
which wins him major points in my
book - and he's actually a remark-
ably intelligent man, if the MBA and
Law degree he obtained by age 23 are
any indications.
And Snyder is a successful busi-
nessman. He was a big wig at Gateway
for years. And I buy into the concept
that Michigan needs, a businessman
at the helm (horrible pun absolutely
intended). The state's economy is,
all delicacy aside, in the crapper.
And maybe it will take the business
savvy of someone like Snyder to turn
Gov. candidates
should be more
than a gimmick.
around the sloppy budget and failing
business climate.
I'm not ready to throw my hat
entirely in Snyder's ring yet. Michi-
gan Attorney General Mike Cox
is also a strong contender for the
Republican nomination. And so far,
he hasn't attempted to liken him-
self to any comic book characters -
which, for me, is working in his favor.
But I'd still have to say that Snyder
is a little more corporate mogul Lex
Luthor than mild-mannered Clark
Kent. Though I doubt he has sinister
plans to use Kryptonite to precipitate
Superman's downfall and take over
the world in a blaze of tyranny, I still
think his advertising gimmick lacks
substance. And I want my leaders to
have substance.
- Rachel Van Gilder is the Daily's
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at rachelvg@umich.edu.


On Sunday, Environmental Protec-
tion Agency administrator Lisa Jackson
released a five-year blueprint for the Great
Lakes. During Obama's presidential cam-
paign, he pledged $5 billion over 10 years
to help the Great Lakes. The project was
scaled back to a $2.2 billion, five-year com-
mitment. It includes a "zero-tolerance
policy" toward invasive species, cleanup
programs for the heavily polluted areas
and wetlands renewal efforts. Also includ-
ed in the plan are mechanisms to watch the
health of the ecosystem and to ensure that
governmental departments involved in the
efforts are held responsible. By 2014, the
administration hopes to finish cleaning up
five toxic "hot spots," decrease how many
invasive species are detected in the lakes
by 40 percent, significantly reduce the
amount of phosphorous runoff and protect
about 100,000 acres of wetland.
These efforts are long overdue. Runoff
from cities and farms has caused a vari-
ety of environmental prollems, including
unnatural algae blooms and even beach
closings. Wetlands ecosystems have been
so seriously neglected over the years that
their stability is in danger. Contamination
of the ecosystems of the Great Lakes can
wreak havoc on the local and state econo-
mies that depend on them, as well as on the
30 million people who rely on the lakes for

clean drinking water.
One of the most important aspects of the
plan to protect the Great Lakes is its focus
on preventing future invasions of foreign
species into the lakes. For decades, the
lakes have been overrun by zebra mussels,
which not only harm the shipping indus-
try by latching onto passing boats but can
also block pipelines and disrupt municipal
water services and hydroelectric compa-
More recently, the possibility of invasion
by Asian carp has alarmed some regional
state governments so much that they have
asked the U.S. Supreme Court to issue an
injunction to force Illinois to close the
waterways that feed into the Great Lakes.
And this worry is justified - Asian carp
have the potential to devastate regional
ecosystems. With this threat at large, the
government needs to provide all of the aid
promised to ensure that this resource is
not significantly damaged.
The five-year blueprint for the Great
Lakes is a vital step towards the res-
toration of a central element of both
Michigan's economy and its identity. But
half-filled promises aren't enough. The
Obama administration must fulfill the rest
of its pledge and commit to a long-term,
full-scale effort to restore and rebuild this
regional asset.

Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor.
Letters should be fewer than 300 words and must include the writer's full name
and University affiliation. All submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.


Recipeforpragmatic liberalism

Government involvment in
the economy isn't helpful

Now Obama is adv
ernment, fiscally dis
under President Get
$35 trillion in unfunc
grew the regulatory

TO THE DAILY: Troubled Asset ReliE
I hereby answer Matthew Green's challenge dent Barack Obama
of "bring it on" regarding how unbelievably and now wants to ov
wrong he was in his recent column on the econ- omy (health care) w
omy (Get real about the economy, 02/23/2010). the trillions.
One needs only look at history to see why Green, much like
more government involvement in economics taxes. This would ta
doesn't work. The recession of 1920 was by all from the productiv
accounts many times worse than our current economy while furth
downturn (the GDP dropped 6.9 percent then tive (government) se
as opposed to 2.4 percent last year); the govern- The only way to'
ment cut taxes by two-thirds and spending by omy," as Green puti
half, resulting in a very quick recovery. The only cies of government
reason the recession of the '30s turned into the We need to privatizE
Great Depression was due to the massive lib- health care (includ
eral spending programs. Henry Morgenthau, cut regulations, abo
the treasury secretary under President Frank- cut government spei
lin Roosevelt, testified after eight years of the the board. History 1
New Deal that "we have tried spending money. cess has a massive f
We are spending more than we have ever spent ernment out and gro
before and it does not work... After eight years
we have just as much unemployment as when Samvan Kleef
we started... and an enormous debt to boot!" Business sophomore

vocating the same big-gov-
astrous programs enacted
orge W. Bush. Bush added
ded liabilities to Medicare,
y budget and started the
ef Program (TARP). Presi-
supported these programs
erhaul a sixth of the econ-
hile running up deficits in
Obama, proposes raising
ke even more money away
e (private) sector of the
ier inflating the unproduc-
"get real about the econ-
it, is to get the inefficien-
out of the private sector.
e social security, privatize
ing Medicare/Medicaid),
lish tariffs and subsidies,
nding and cut taxes across
has proven economic suc-
ree-market bias. Get gov-
wth will.return.

J 's back to basics.
Over the past year, perhaps
becausewe live inuncertaintimes
or because we are
upset with the sta-
tus quo, Americans
have been engag-
ing in an exercise of
reconnecting with
the basic principles
that matter. Con-
sider the two fol-
lowing examples
and you'll see what 'T MA.AO
I mean.
First, the Repub- PAVONE
lican National _
Committee tried
to implement a
"purity test" - a set of ten principles
inspired by Ronald Reagan that would
force Republican candidates to adhere
to at least eight principles if they
wished to receive RNC support. And
perhaps more importantly, Ina Gar-
ten, the jolly "Barefoot Contessa" of
the Food Network, recently published
a cookbook titled "Back to Basics."
Never have I seen a more delicious
feast for both the eyes and the brain.
So whether you're in the mood for
conservative philosophy or for braised
beef short ribs with port wine reduc-
tion and sweet corn panna cotta, this
is your time to explore the basic phi-
losophies that give your life purpose
(or at least make you a better cook).
I have decided to jump on the band-
wagon. Perhaps it's simply because
I have too much time on my hands.
Then again, maybe I was just inspired
by Garten's succulent devotion to the
basic tenets of cooking. I leave such
ponderings to you.
Regardless of the reason, the follow-
ing is a set of basic principles forwhat I
call "the pragmatic liberal," anidentity
with which I strongly identify.
1. Empathy.
We are not endowed with omni-

science and therefore we cannot
expect to fully know why people
choose to do what they do or why
they live the way they live. We also
cannot expect to relate to all the out-
side factors that impact people's lives.
For this reason, the pragmatic liberal
approaches social issues with a strong
sense of empathy. This, in turn, means
that the pragmatic liberal refrains
from judging others and focuses on
understanding them instead.
2. Humility.
One of the basic tenets of pragma-
tism is to know yourself and your own
boundaries. Such introspection leads
to a sense of humility- even Bill Gates
needs advice every once in a while. In
short, the pragmatic liberal recogniz-
es his or her own imperfection, seeks
support from others and adopts per-
spectives grounded in humility.
3. Solidarity.
My mother loves to say thathumans
are a social species and it's true. We
need one another to survive, to evolve
and to live a fulfilling life. Recognizing
this, the pragmatic liberal seeks to bal-
ance his or her own self-interest with
a legitimate concern for society. This
doesn't mean that the pragmatic lib-
eral is selfless - rather, the pragmat-
ic liberal remembers that his or her
actions can both help and harm oth-
ers, and that ultimately his or her own
well-being is contingent on everyone
else's well-being.
4. The belief that the status quo
always needs improving.
Perfection doesn't exist and there-
fore there is no reason to be fully sat-
isfied with the status quo..Someone
always needs help, an unexpected
problem will always arise, ineffi-
ciencies and inequalities will always
demand our attention. This is the
driving reason why the pragmatic lib-
eral believes in progressivism - our
goal should always be, in the words of
our Constitution, "to form a more per-

feet Union."
5. The understanding that self-criti-
cism leads to strength.
Never has the United States been
weaker than in the aftermath of Sep-
tember11th when allforms of criticism
were purged. The world is imperfect
and we are an imperfect nation com-
posed of imperfect individuals. The
pragmatic liberal recognizes that in
order to better oneself, one must be
willing to criticize oneself. The inabil-
ity to engage in self-criticism is not
demonstrative of confidence, but rath-
er of weakness.
Returning to the
basics to recreate
political principles.
These five core principles are at
the center of pragmatic liberalism.
But beyond being simply principles,
they are a foundation for a pragmatic
and progressive way of analyzing
current events and forming opinions.
After all, part of the college experi-
ence is building the necessary tools
to make sense of the world. I don't
consider these principles as a means
of political persuasion - I find them
to be important guiding principles in
my day-to-day life.
I certainly don't hold a copyright
on these principles, nor do I wish to
impose them on anyone. ButI do think
I can contribute to our dialogue by
sharing them and that hopefully some
of you will find them helpful. After all,
it's back to basics, or, in my case, back to
watching Garten on the Food Network.
- Tommaso Pavone can be
reached at tpavone@umich.edu.

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Nina Amilineni, Jordan Birnholtz, William Butler, Nicholas Clift,
Michelle DeWitt, Brian Flaherty, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee,
Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga, Alex Schiff, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith,
Robert Soave, Radhika Upadhyaya, Laura Veith


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