“It is not what we were promised. Every family in America wanted this to be a time when they could get ahead a little more, put aside a little more for college, do more for their elderly mom who’s living alone now or give a little more to their church or charity. Every small business wanted these to be their best years ever, when they could hire more, do more for those who had stuck with them through the hard times, open a new store or sponsor that Little League team. Every new college graduate thought they’d have a good job by now, a place of their own, and that they could start paying back some of their loans and build for the future. This is when our nation was supposed to start paying down the national debt and rolling back those massive deficits. This was the hope and change America voted for. It’s not just what we wanted. It’s not just what we expected. It’s what Americans deserved. You deserved it because during these years, you worked harder than ever before. You deserved it because when it cost more to fill up your car, you cut out movie nights and put in longer hours. Or when you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour with benefits, you took two jobs at 9 bucks an hour and fewer benefits. You did it because your family depended on you. You did it because you’re an American and you don’t quit. You did it because it was what you had to do. But driving home late from that second job, or standing there watching the gas pump hit 50 dollars and still going, when the realtor told you that to sell your house you’d have to take a big loss, in those moments you knew that this just wasn’t right. But what could you do? Except work harder, do with less, try to stay optimistic. Hug your kids a little longer; maybe spend a little more time praying that tomorrow would be a better day. I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn’t something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we CAN do something. With your help we will do something.
‘Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, “I’m an American. I make my destiny. And we deserve better! My children deserve better! My family deserves better. My country deserves better!”
As political speeches go, this was a very effective one, and well delivered by a guy that many people think didn’t have it in him.
My problem here is that it completely elides the damage done by the Gingrich Congress of the Clinton administration (with Clinton’s passive acceptance, I will sadly stipulate) and the economy-raping mechanizations of eight years of the Bush administration (with pretty feeble resistance from Congressional Democrats, majority or minority). No president, Republican or Democrat, could have turned the tanker of American government, and this crippled American economy, back on course in just four years. That Obama/Biden was at the helm instead of McCain/Palin is something I’ve thanked our lucky stars for over the last four years – McCain/Palin, with this Republican House, would have done incalculable economic, diplomatic, and social harm to this country. Not that Obama has done a very good job, but things could have been much worse. I prefer right-minded half-measures to wrong-headed roaring successes.
At the start of 2009, no family or person deluded themselves into thinking they could ‘get ahead a little more.’ No small business envisioned ‘they could hire more,’ or ‘do more for those who had stuck with them through the hard time.’ They knew for a fact that the ‘hard time’ wasn’t even close to being over. ‘Every new college graduate thought they’d have a good job by now, a place of their own, and that they could start paying back some of their loans and build for the future.’ Do you personally know any recent college graduate that expected this from their near future? Neither do I. ‘… when you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour with benefits, you took two jobs at 9 bucks an hour and fewer benefits. You did it because your family depended on you. You did it because you’re an American and you don’t quit. You did it because it was what you had to do.’ You did it because people like Mitt Romney have made it that way, and given you no other options; they want to acquire your business, hollow it out and kill it for their own multi-million dollar profit, pay little if any taxes on that profit, drug-test you if you go on unemployment, or, if you do find a job afterwards, reduce the minimum wage, cut your benefits and leave your economic and health-care future to the vagaries of private health insurance underwriters or the hopelessly rigged-at-the-top American stock markets.
‘I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed.‘ Mitch McConnell didn’t. He flat-out said so. John Boehner and Eric Cantor didn’t. Allen West and Rand Paul didn’t. Michelle Bachmann and Steve King and Louis Gohmert and Jim DeMint and *add-your-favorite-obstructionist-here* didn’t. Needless to say, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Monica Crowley, Sean Hannity, Jonah Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer, Andrew Breitbart and all of those other tiny, lonely ‘minority’ voices in the ‘liberal media’ didn’t. And, pardon me if this is rude, but I don’t believe you, Mitt. Oh, sure, you want America to succeed, but on your terms. You’re going to spend money like a sailor on leave just as your Republican White House predecessor did, but, like him, you’ll convince a lot of us that this money was spent for all the right reasons, as opposed to all of those socialist, revenge-of-the-Kenyan-colonist, prop-up-the-welfare-queens reasons President Obama seems to have had.
I predict this: if President Obama is re-elected, with the current split-Congress, the national debt will be a full third lower in 2017, with stable continued reductions in place for the next 4-8 years after that. (That bet is off if the entire Congress goes Republican – they’ll make 1990s Japan look like a Marrakech street market.) If the horror of a President Romney is visited upon us, it’ll be a third lower in 2017, but will skyrocket to our worst nightmares by 2020. And what’ll the Republicans say about the Democratic candidate then?