Tag Archives: speech

Obama Speaks to the Children

7 Sep

I’m stealing this wholesale from a Facebook friend of mine:

Despite the warnings of right-wing radio hosts, and fully cognizant that my children risk learning a lesson in civics, I, nonetheless, grant them permission to watch a televised address by the duly-elected leader of these United States, President Barack Obama, on the controversial subject of the importance of school.

It’s a great speech that any kid should hear from the funny-named President of the US.  A little inspiration never hurt anyone, and neither did an exhortation to study and work hard.

The speech itself has already been posted to teh internets.  You can read it after the jump if you’re too lazy to click your mouse, like Leonard Stokes walking from his car to a supermarket entrance Continue reading

The Not Necessarily State of the Union

25 Feb

Energy, Health Care, and Education.

Budgeting that includes the true cost of the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan.

Line by line review of the federal budget with enough cuts to pay for the programs that have been proposed, and reduce the deficit, to boot.

Last night, the President addressed the Congress and the people. In addition to the hope being back, one other theme stuck out at me:

While George W. Bush liked to remind us constantly during the early days of his administration that federal money was “the people’s money”, Barack Obama reminded us repeatedly last night that the people sent these people to Washington to get work done. Frankly, it’s a self-evident fact that they don’t get reminded of quite enough down there.

The speech returned the hope and inspiration that became synonymous with Obama during the campaign – if his speech was an over-the-counter cold remedy, it would be called Malaiseaway.

I thought he well explained why the mortgage plan was needed, and rebutted the notion that it would help the irresponsible. He promised to make sure that banks started extending credit to people and small business again to get the economy going again.

On the issue of energy, Obama laid out a challenge to reach clean, renewable energy independence through wind, solar, and biofuels. On healthcare, he promised to fundamentally reform Medicare, eliminate waste and fraud in the system, and put a “significant down payment” towards universal health care.

On education, Obama reminded us that our schools are failing too many kids, and admonished parents to become more engaged with their kids and their educations. Our kids will need to stay in school and actually learn stuff in order for them to compete in a future global market. It is the key to innovation in health care and energy, when you get down to it. Today’s elementary school student is tomorrow’s inventor.

Obama’s Apollo program is going to be a cure for cancer “in our time”. That’s a cause everyone can get behind.

I got the sense, watching the speech, that there was a more bipartisan reaction to Obama’s proposals than I had seen in a long time. Obviously, this isn’t an indication that all of a sudden the Republicans are going to go along with everything, but I could count on one hand the number of times it appeared that the Republican side of the aisle remained seated while the Democrats applauded. If nothing else, regardless of the outcome of the stimulus bill vote, I think the new president has done a good job of reaching out to the Republicans in a meaningful and substantive way. They might not agree with him, but they seem to like him and are willing to listen to each other.

It was a speech that, for the first time in decades, reminded Americans that we’re all in this together. Shared sacrifice – like the banker who shared his bonus with his employees – is what’s needed in tough times. This isn’t socialism or an abrogation of individual rights and liberties. This is underscoring the fact that raising the tax rate on the top 2% of taxpayers back to Clinton-era levels is appropriate, (they did pretty well back in the ’90s). Everyone making less than $250k will get a tax cut as soon as April – a follow-through on a campaign promise. This in conjunction with the stimulus bill, which is essentially the largest net tax cut in history.

When people and businesses aren’t buying stuff, the federal government steps in as the last resort. When people are abandoning their homes because of neighborhood foreclosures that have suddenly left them upside-down in their loans – when it makes more financial sense to walk away from the house than to keep paying the note – it makes sense for government to change the rules to enable them to refinance and stay in their homes.

Obama finally strongly indicated that he would submit a responsible plan to get out of Iraq, make sure Afghanistan is made safer, and work to ensure that al Qaeda cannot launch attacks on America from safe havens in Pakistan or Afghanistan. He also unequivocally stated that the United States does not torture.

I thought it was a hopeful speech that looks forward to American revival, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Energy independence, health care reform, and educational improvement have been on the radars of many past presidents, yet big decisions that look to the long-term have constantly been put off. President Obama indicates that now is the time they were put off to.

Full text, as prepared, after the jump. Continue reading

The Speeches

4 Jun

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John McCain. The guy I backed in 2000 is a wounded shadow of his former self. His speech was dull, plodding, uninspired, intellectually dishonest, and defensive. And whoever picked the green background should be fired. He talks of our progress in Iraq, where Sunnis are working with us to fight insurgency – Sunnis to whom we reached out in a diplomatic manner, realizing that there is something each side needs from the other. In the next breath he criticizes Obama for wanting to negotiate with mean dictators. McCain paints Obama with the big-spending, big-government program brush – a brush that’s 25 years out-of-date. The Republican Party is now the big-spending, big-government party. The Republican Party is now the party of government intrusion into public life, into mismanagement of the economy and energy policy, of turning the US into a torturing, aggressive, clumsy fool who spies on its own citizens. That’s not change we can believe in. McCain as a change agent? Co-opting Obama’s tag line as “A Leader We Can Believe In”? Nothing new, nothing original, and the whole notion of “change” isn’t exactly going to fire up the conservatives, who aren’t all that thrilled about McCain to begin with.

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Hillary Clinton. The Senator from New York was feisty, defiant, conciliatory to the race Obama “has run” versus the race he has won. She gave out her web address and asked her supporters to tell her what to do next because she’s not making any decisions “tonight”. (The crowd at times chanted, “Denver, Denver!” and at one point I heard one voice cry, “don’t vote for Obama!”) It was Clinton’s opportunity to concede gracefully and acknowledge that Obama was over the top. She didn’t . It was Clinton’s opportunity to throw her support his way wholeheartedly to unify the party – an opportunity to do so to a live, nationwide audience. She didn’t. That’s a shame. Go to her site and tell her what you think? It begins, by default, “I’m with you, Hillary, and I’m proud of everything we are fighting for.” When you hit submit, it goes to her contributions page. What does she want? Not “respect” for the 18 million who voted for her. What she wants is help paying off her campaign debt. I thought her speech was an opportunity blown; it might have been the right speech for Hillary Clinton, but it wasn’t the right speech for the Democratic Party going into the general election. Ultimately, Clinton’s speech was all about her. She didn’t coalesce her supporters against McCain. She helped perpetuate the Hillary-as-victim myth. CNN pundits were getting angry emails about how this night was supposed to be “all about Hillary”. Jeffrey Toobin expressed disbelief at that sentiment, and chalked it up to “deranged narcissism”:

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Barack Obama’s speech. Compared to McCain’s rhetorical bunt, Obama hit it out of the park. He extended a hand to Clinton and her supporters. But what I really loved – especially after the lackluster, wonky campaign Al Gore waged in 2000 and the milquetoast, defensive campaign John Kerry waged in 2004 – was that Obama got right in McCain’s face. He held the speech at the arena in St Paul where the Republicans will hold their nominating convention later this year. Right in his face. He praised McCain for his service to the country and his accomplishments, “even as he chooses to ignore [Obama’s]”. He went right at McCain as “embracing” Bush’s policies in Iraq and with domestic issues. While McCain criticized Obama for not visiting Iraq, Obama suggested McCain go and visit places in America that are facing tough times. It was patriotic. It outlined that, as far as Obama is concerned, the race won’t use religion as a “wedge”, and won’t demonize and turn opponents into the enemy. What a great speech. What a great night.

Bring it.