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The Presidents' Best Speech to Date

Burning Giraffe

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Yesterday, with probably eight other Americans, I watched the Presidents' speech at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on CSPAN. As an opponent of this Administration there was a great deal to disagree with, but it was without a doubt the best (and most convincing) speech I've seen him deliver. He defined the differences between the two most powerful political parties with clarity and anger. The picture he painted of the Republican Party was dark and delinquent. He painted a picture of a greedy, manipulative, and partisan Republican Party that cared only for the Presidents' failure and for their own political gain. He seemed so sincere that only an informed listener would have been capable of laughter.

It has now been a little over 16 months since I took office amid one of the worst economic storms in our history. And to navigate that storm, my administration was forced to take some dramatic and unpopular steps. These steps have succeeded in breaking the freefall. We're again moving in the right direction.

An economy that was shrinking at an alarming rate when I became President has now been growing for three consecutive quarters. After losing an average of 750,000 jobs a month during the winter of last year, we've now added jobs for five of the last six months, and we expect to see strong job growth in Friday's report. The taxpayer money it cost to shore up the financial sector and the auto industry, that's being repaid. And both GM and Chrysler are adding shifts and operating at a profit. So, despite temporary setbacks, uncertain world events, and the resulting ups and downs of the market, this economy is getting stronger by the day.
Indeed, TARP is not nearly the failure that many predicted it would be. We thought that Timothy Geithner and President Bush were simply protecting their pals, wrapping them in the warmth of our governments colorful Corporatist blanket, as it were. To be fair to us (the cynical and distrustful masses) there still was probably a great deal of arbitrary protection and power plays made by the government. That it is working in our benefit may have been an unforeseen benefit. A benefit President Bush's predecessor is now taking credit for.

The President is wise to try to reassure the American People on the Economy. We'll need our delusions in the coming months as a second bout of foreclosures loom, the toxic European Debt crisis overwhelms an already rapidly increasing US debt, and while the delayed effects of the Recession finally begin affecting our State Governments, now that much of their aid has been blown through unsuccessfully. He'll need to be on television every day trying to convince the American People that the slowing economy is not going to become another recession. He'll have to convince us not to worry about the 60% decline in US productivity growth over the last two quarters.

Over the last decade, these families saw their income decline. They saw the cost of things like health care and college tuition reach record highs. They lived through a so-called economic "expansion" that generated slower job growth than at any prior expansion since World War II. Some people have called the last 10 years "the lost decade."
Defining his predecessors' time in office as "The Lost Decade" is a brilliant political move. Keeping Bush's Ghost in the spotlight is a helpful distraction from his own administrations shortcomings. It creates the impression that as bad as things are now, it could have been less popular, or even factually worse. Indeed, over the last ten years we saw an economic expansion predicated on the application of technologies we invented in the boom of the 1990s. These applications did not create many jobs, but they did create many services. Which means, Americans were using more (stimulating the economy) without actually manufacturing more (creating jobs).

So we can't afford to stand pat while the world races by. The United States of America did not become the most prosperous nation on Earth by sheer luck or happenstance. We got here because each time a generation of Americans has faced a changing world, we have changed with it. We have not feared our future; we have shaped it. America does not stand still; we move forward.

And that's why I've said that as we emerge from this recession, we can't afford to return to the pre-crisis status quo. We can't go back to an economy that was too dependent on bubbles and debt and financial speculation. We can't accept economic growth that leaves the middle class owing more and making less. We have to build a new and stronger foundation for growth and prosperity -- and that's exactly what we've been doing for the last 16 months.

It's a foundation based on investments in our people and their future; investments in the skills and education we need to compete; investments in a 21st century infrastructure for America, from high-speed railroads to high-speed Internet; investments in research and technology, like clean energy, that can lead to new jobs and new exports and new industries.

This new foundation is also based on reforms that will make our economy stronger and our businesses more competitive -- reforms that will make health care cheaper, our financial system more secure, and our government less burdened with debt.
This section was the comedy bit. The fact is that health care costs continue to rise, our financial system is increasingly insecure, and our government is compiling record levels debt. Green technology is a good investment, but the level of corruption involved in how these investments are being made is shocking, even by our most cynical standards. Our Education system is continuing its record of abject failure. Our schools continue to require more and more capital while producing fewer and fewer results. Were our education system a business, it would be out of business.

The fact is, that our Presidents' Stimulus Package merely delayed a number of inevitable consequences associated with the Recession, which we will now begin experiencing around the close of the Summer, as State after State is forced to slash budgets and programs that millions of Americans have come to depend upon. We cannot avoid paying the price for our economic mistakes. The government stepping in was not the Presidents' fault. It was our fault. We panicked. We are the ones that didn't want to experience pain, that invited the federal government to step in and bail us out. We are the ones who pressured our politicians to do something to help us avoid the inevitable consequences of our present reality.

We are not the only ones facing the consequences of unsustainable political and economic behaviors. Europe and Asia are mired in their own economic karma. All our modern governments will be transformed by future conditions, but they will not look like what most of us had expected. Bureaucracies will have to be streamlined. State Unions will be forced to compromise and work with government to control overhead, or else be banned from collective bargaining all together. "The Poor" will have to rely less on federal programs for their survival and will have to reenter the market at near minimum wages.

The strongest argument made in President Obama's speech yesterday, was his arguments against the Republican Party, against the philosophy of a limited role for government, and for a progressive role for government. The following segmant of the Presidents Speech is "The Democrat Defense" against every objection we shall hear over the coming months, as the voters prepare to select the composition of their next government.

Now, some of you may have noticed that we have been building this foundation without much help from our friends in the other party. From our efforts to rescue the economy, to health insurance reform, to financial reform, most have sat on the sidelines and shouted from the bleachers. They said no to tax cuts for small businesses; no to tax credits for college tuition; no to investments in clean energy. They said no to protecting patients from insurance companies and consumers from big banks.

And some of this, of course, is just politics. Before I was even inaugurated, the congressional leaders of the other party got together and made a calculation that if I failed, they'd win. So when I went to meet with them about the need for a Recovery Act, in the midst of crisis, they announced they were against it before I even arrived at the meeting. Before we even had a health care bill, a Republican senator actually said, "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him." So those weren't very hopeful signs.

But to be fair, a good deal of the other party's opposition to our agenda has also been rooted in their sincere and fundamental belief about the role of government. It's a belief that government has little or no role to play in helping this nation meet our collective challenges. It's an agenda that basically offers two answers to every problem we face: more tax breaks for the wealthy and fewer rules for corporations.

The last administration called this recycled idea "the Ownership Society." But what it essentially means is that everyone is on their own. No matter how hard you work, if your paycheck isn't enough to pay for college or health care or childcare, well, you're on your own. If misfortune causes you to lose your job or your home, you're on your own. And if you're a Wall Street bank or an insurance company or an oil company, you pretty much get to play by your own rules, regardless of the consequences for everybody else.

Now, I've never believed that government has all the answers. Government cannot and should not replace businesses as the true engine of growth and job creation. Government can't instill good values and a sense of responsibility in our children. That's a parent's job. Too much government can deprive us of choice and burden us with debt. Poorly designed regulations can choke off competition and the capital that businesses need to thrive.

I understand these arguments. And it's reflected in my policies. After all, one-third of the Recovery Act we designed was made up of tax cuts for families and small businesses. And when you think back to the health care debate, despite calls for a single-payer, government-run health care plan, we passed reform that maintains our system of private health insurance.

But I also understand that throughout our nation's history, we have balanced the threat of overreaching government against the dangers of an unfettered market. We've provided a basic safety net, because any one of us might experience hardship at some time in our lives and may need some help getting back on our feet. And we've recognized that there have been times when only government has been able to do what individuals couldn't do and corporations wouldn't do.
Tomorrow I will address the content of this segment, but for now, let me be clear (as the President is so found of saying): If the Republican Party doesn't quickly advance a strong retort to the spirit of the Presidents' current message, they will lose in November. Elections are about stories and defining the recent past. I have never heard a politician offer such a convincing story or tell it with such sincerity. This speech was a shot across the bow. It was a wake up call to a disorganized and dysfunctional Republican opposition. The Democrats are in power for a reason. The nation remembers well the failures of the Republican controlled government. Failures that many Republicans within the establishment still refuse to accept responsibility for.

This speech was a game changer. It will shift the momentum of our political climate and will be echoed ad nauseum by Democrat supporters, operatives, and candidates. These sentiments will be the banner in both the House and the Senate. You will hear them repeated by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. They will become central arguments in the campaigns of Joe Sestak and Barbara Boxer. Either the Republicans can offer an intellectual and moral retort, or their momentum shall dry up and die.

Republicans have been too over-confident these last few months. They refuse, or are incapable, of developing a coherent political platform on which to run on in Autumn. Now we know for sure that the Democrats are ready. They are playing to win and they haven't lost an ounce of their verve or firepower.

(Transcript of the Presidents' Speech)
 

Geo Patric

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aside from the essentially looneytarian gabble one might expect, i was surprised to learn that Bill Clinton is taking 'credit' for the debacle that was the Bush administration. Or am i missing something in the sentence "A benefit President Bush's predecessor is now taking credit for."?

geo.
 

liblady

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i believe i am an informed listener, i and certainly didn't laugh when i read your quotes. obama DID take office at one of the worst economic times in history. families had seen their incomes decline. we were bleeding jobs. obama's administration may have it's faults, and he may make mistakes, but at least he isn't sitting on his hands and pretending tax breaks will solve everything, because they clearly do not.

we need even MORE healthcare reform, and we NEED financial reform, 2 areas where republicans ARE the party of no. we also need to cut spending, 1 area where dems and reps seem to agree, and spend like drunken sailors.

"the lost decade".......i like it, and it's true. lost to wars, lost to unemployment, lost to a faltering economy. most of all, lost by republicans who believed their non ideas would suffice, lost by republicans who thought a silly sarah palin lure voters, and lost by republicans more concerned about the homosexual agenda than the cost of living.

politicans suck, but dems suck less.
 

country

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Yesterday, with probably eight other Americans, I watched the Presidents' speech at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on CSPAN. As an opponent of this Administration there was a great deal to disagree with, but it was without a doubt the best (and most convincing) speech I've seen him deliver. He defined the differences between the two most powerful political parties with clarity and anger. The picture he painted of the Republican Party was dark and delinquent. He painted a picture of a greedy, manipulative, and partisan Republican Party that cared only for the Presidents' failure and for their own political gain. He seemed so sincere that only an informed listener would have been capable of laughter.



Indeed, TARP is not nearly the failure that many predicted it would be. We thought that Timothy Geithner and President Bush were simply protecting their pals, wrapping them in the warmth of our governments colorful Corporatist blanket, as it were. To be fair to us (the cynical and distrustful masses) there still was probably a great deal of arbitrary protection and power plays made by the government. That it is working in our benefit may have been an unforeseen benefit. A benefit President Bush's predecessor is now taking credit for.

The President is wise to try to reassure the American People on the Economy. We'll need our delusions in the coming months as a second bout of foreclosures loom, the toxic European Debt crisis overwhelms an already rapidly increasing US debt, and while the delayed effects of the Recession finally begin affecting our State Governments, now that much of their aid has been blown through unsuccessfully. He'll need to be on television every day trying to convince the American People that the slowing economy is not going to become another recession. He'll have to convince us not to worry about the 60% decline in US productivity growth over the last two quarters.



Defining his predecessors' time in office as "The Lost Decade" is a brilliant political move. Keeping Bush's Ghost in the spotlight is a helpful distraction from his own administrations shortcomings. It creates the impression that as bad as things are now, it could have been less popular, or even factually worse. Indeed, over the last ten years we saw an economic expansion predicated on the application of technologies we invented in the boom of the 1990s. These applications did not create many jobs, but they did create many services. Which means, Americans were using more (stimulating the economy) without actually manufacturing more (creating jobs).



This section was the comedy bit. The fact is that health care costs continue to rise, our financial system is increasingly insecure, and our government is compiling record levels debt. Green technology is a good investment, but the level of corruption involved in how these investments are being made is shocking, even by our most cynical standards. Our Education system is continuing its record of abject failure. Our schools continue to require more and more capital while producing fewer and fewer results. Were our education system a business, it would be out of business.

The fact is, that our Presidents' Stimulus Package merely delayed a number of inevitable consequences associated with the Recession, which we will now begin experiencing around the close of the Summer, as State after State is forced to slash budgets and programs that millions of Americans have come to depend upon. We cannot avoid paying the price for our economic mistakes. The government stepping in was not the Presidents' fault. It was our fault. We panicked. We are the ones that didn't want to experience pain, that invited the federal government to step in and bail us out. We are the ones who pressured our politicians to do something to help us avoid the inevitable consequences of our present reality.

We are not the only ones facing the consequences of unsustainable political and economic behaviors. Europe and Asia are mired in their own economic karma. All our modern governments will be transformed by future conditions, but they will not look like what most of us had expected. Bureaucracies will have to be streamlined. State Unions will be forced to compromise and work with government to control overhead, or else be banned from collective bargaining all together. "The Poor" will have to rely less on federal programs for their survival and will have to reenter the market at near minimum wages.

The strongest argument made in President Obama's speech yesterday, was his arguments against the Republican Party, against the philosophy of a limited role for government, and for a progressive role for government. The following segmant of the Presidents Speech is "The Democrat Defense" against every objection we shall hear over the coming months, as the voters prepare to select the composition of their next government.



Tomorrow I will address the content of this segment, but for now, let me be clear (as the President is so found of saying): If the Republican Party doesn't quickly advance a strong retort to the spirit of the Presidents' current message, they will lose in November. Elections are about stories and defining the recent past. I have never heard a politician offer such a convincing story or tell it with such sincerity. This speech was a shot across the bow. It was a wake up call to a disorganized and dysfunctional Republican opposition. The Democrats are in power for a reason. The nation remembers well the failures of the Republican controlled government. Failures that many Republicans within the establishment still refuse to accept responsibility for.

This speech was a game changer. It will shift the momentum of our political climate and will be echoed ad nauseum by Democrat supporters, operatives, and candidates. These sentiments will be the banner in both the House and the Senate. You will hear them repeated by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. They will become central arguments in the campaigns of Joe Sestak and Barbara Boxer. Either the Republicans can offer an intellectual and moral retort, or their momentum shall dry up and die.

Republicans have been too over-confident these last few months. They refuse, or are incapable, of developing a coherent political platform on which to run on in Autumn. Now we know for sure that the Democrats are ready. They are playing to win and they haven't lost an ounce of their verve or firepower.

(Transcript of the Presidents' Speech)
Interesting post, but you may have overlooked one thing. People are tuning out his speeches. Every day some tv channel is broadcasting one of his never ending speeches. Myself and the people I associate with have heard enough of his speeches. He is in campaign mode every time I see him. Who is going to listen to him in October?
 
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