On Wednesday, President Obama traveled to Michigan as part of his push to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, making his case in a terrific speech that ended up being about much more than his push to give America a raise. It also did a great job of putting the importance of November's elections in perspective and even though it's a couple of days old, it's still worth taking a look at it. The full speech is here, but I want to highlight two passages in particular.
First, on what's at stake with respect to Obamacare:
Now, to give them credit, they do have one original idea, which is to repeal Obamacare -- (laughter) -- because they haven’t tried that 50 times. (Applause.) Fifty times they’ve tried to do that. (Laughter.) So that means they would take away health coverage not only for more than 7 million Americans who’ve done the responsible thing, signed up, bought health care for themselves and their families, but for the 3 million young adults who’ve been able to stay on their parents’ plan under this law. What I just told you about being able to stay on your parent’s plan -- the Republicans don’t like that.Second, on what's at stake with respect to the direction we take on economic issues:
Look, here’s the truth. They’re not necessarily cold-hearted, they just sincerely believe that if we give more tax breaks to a fortunate few and we invest less in the middle class, and we reduce or eliminate the safety net for the poor and the sick, and we cut food stamps, and we cut Medicaid, and we let banks and polluters and credit card companies and insurers do only what’s best for their bottom line without the responsibility to the rest of us, then somehow the economy will boom, and jobs and prosperity will trickle down to everybody.Please read below the fold for more on this story.
And when I say it that way, I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating -- except I’m not. This is their theory.
Finally, for good measure, here was a fun line he threw in poking fun at the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's latest budget:
So if this all sounds familiar, it should be familiar because it was their economic plan in the 2012 campaign, it was their economic plan in 2010. It’s like that movie Groundhog Day -- (laughter) -- except it’s not funny. (Applause.) If they tried to sell this sandwich at Zingerman’s, they’d have to call it the Stinkburger, or the Meanwich.Aside from the fact that the president's analysis is 100 percent spot-on, the thing that really struck me was that he delivered it at all. I don't remember him taking this tough a line on the GOP at any point in 2010. He did in 2012 against Mitt Romney, but that was for his re-election. Now the issue isn't whether or not he's going to have a second term, but what the last two years of that second term will be like.
President Obama has clearly recognized that Republicans are never going to voluntarily work with him. He understands that not only will his last two years in office be hell if Democrats get routed in 2014, but that it will be bad for the country as well. We can't afford a repeat of 2010. And based on that speech in Michigan, the president seems pretty fired up to make sure that it doesn't happen.