Barack is Back
He's been President Obama for just over two weeks. He's set policies, reversed some of the most toxic policies of the Bush years, signed some long overdue legislation, and he's gone out of his way to work with Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress on the economic recovery bill.
Some bloviators and hyper-glandular politicos criticized, laughed at him and ground their teeth because he tried to be inclusive, and to end the old way of politics in Washington. But the onus isn't on him. He tried, just like he said he would, and he will keep on trying, because in the long run it's necessary.
But Thursday, with horseshit and chickenshit opposition to the recovery bill actually endangering it, we saw Barack. The Barack Obama who spoke to us in a long campaign, but also as the President. He gave two impassioned speeches, with succinct and strong prepared lines and arguments, but also with improvised arguments that were just as impassioned and strong.
To the Department of Energy he said:
In the last few days, we've seen proposals arise from some in Congress that you may not have read, but you'd be very familiar with, because you've been hearing them for the last 10 years, maybe longer. They're rooted in the idea that tax cuts alone can solve all our problems, that government doesn't have a role to play, that half- measures and tinkering are somehow enough, that we can afford to ignore our most fundamental economic challenges: the crushing cost of health care, the inadequate state of so many of our schools, our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.
So let me be clear: Those ideas have been tested, and they have failed. They've taken us from surpluses to an annual deficit of over $1 trillion. And they've brought our economy to a halt. And that's precisely what the election we just had was all about. The American people have rendered their judgment, and now's the time to move forward, not back. Now's the time for action."
To House Democrats, in his prepared remarks he said:
If we do not move swiftly to sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, an economy that is in crisis will be faced with catastrophe. Millions more Americans will lose their jobs. Home will be lost. Families will go without health care. Our crippling dependence on foreign oil will continue. That is the price of inaction.
Now, I believe that legislation of such magnitude deserves the scrutiny that it's received, and you will get another chance to vote for this bill in the days to come. But I urge all of us to not make the perfect the enemy of the absolutely necessary. The scale and scope of this plan is right.
So just as past generations of Americans have done in trying times, we can and must turn this moment of challenge into one of opportunity. The plan that you've passed has at its core a simple idea: let's put Americans to work doing the work that America needs done."
But the best of what he said isn't in the prepared text, so it's really worth checking out the video posted above.
Beginner's Mind - Finding a very nice hardback copy of Bruce Chatwin's last book in a bargain bin, a kind of miscellany of previously uncollected pieces called What Am I Doi...
2 days ago