... so now, can we take a second and hear him?
I know I'm willfully walking into a hornets nest to try, yet again, to defend Obama here. I know it's frustrating. Debilitating. Enraging.
But some things just have to be said, and they have to be pointed out. For months, if not years, we've heard repeated criticisms of Obama from the left that he hasn't shown enough spine. That he hasn't been willing to put forth a clear agenda and stick to it realizing that if it goes down in flames without being watered down with deal making, that he'll make a larger point and stand with his principles.
"If only He Would FIGHT!" Less Kumbahya, more Kick Ass!
IF he only would Focus on Jobs!
Here's Robert Reich arguing exactly that on Current.
Reich: The way to [Help American's Now] is a Second Stimulus, is with a big jobs bill. The President won't do that, he's afraid to do that.
Robert is half right, we do need a big ambitious effort put forth on jobs. But he's more than a bit wrong to say the President hasn't talked about this or that he's afraid to talk about it. He been talking about it ALL WEEK.
Last Thursday he said this.
Tell Congress to get past their differences and send me a road construction bill -- (applause) -- so that companies can put tens of thousands of people to work right now building our roads and bridges and airports and seaports. (Applause.) I mean, think about it. America used to have the best stuff -- best roads, best airports, best seaports. We’re slipping behind because we’re not investing in it, because of politics and gridlock. Do you want to put people to work right now rebuilding America? You’ve got to send that message to Congress.
Not talking about jobs? Afraid to talk about jobs? Not hardly. Even further, listen to what he said yesterday. No, not just the part about "Obama Cares" that the media has latched onto...this part.
Think about it. Our biggest challenge right now is putting people to work. Biggest challenge is getting the economy growing as rapidly as it needs to grow. It’s been growing. We’ve been able to reverse the recession. We’ve added over 2 million jobs in the private sector over the last 17 months. (Applause.)
But we’re not growing it as fast as we need to to drive down the unemployment rate in a significant way and to give people confidence.
So here are some things that we could do right now, what I’ve been talking about now for months. We could renew the payroll tax cut that we gave you in December that put $1,000 in the pocket of a typical family so that you’ve got more money in your pockets to spend to meet your obligations. It also means businesses have more customers. And it means they might hire a few more folks as a consequence. All we need to do is renew it. It’s already in place. If we have certainty next year that that same tax cut is going to be in place, then that’s going to help businesses make decisions to hire people and open up and make investments. That’s something we could do right now. Congress can do that right now. (Applause.)
Congress right now could start putting folks to work rebuilding America. One of the biggest things that caused this recession was the housing bubble, and all those subprime loans that were going out that were getting packaged in Wall Street and folks were making millions and billions of dollars off them, and then the whole thing came crashing down. And no one has been hit harder than construction workers.
There’s a bill sitting in Congress right now that would set up an infrastructure bank to get that moving, attracting private sector dollars, not just public dollars. Congress needs to move.
But here's the interesting part from his second Town Hall that day in Iowa, if Congress doesn't implement his plan - he's not going to just modify it to accomodate them for once - he's going to let it go down in flames, then RUN AGAINST THEM OVER IT.
Moving forward, my basic attitude is we know what to do. I'll be putting forward, when they come back in September, a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs, and to control our deficit. And my attitude is, get it done. (Applause.) And if they don’t get it done, then we’ll be running against a Congress that’s not doing anything for the American people, and the choice will be very stark and will be very clear.
Isn't that exactly what Progressives have been asking for?
Time and time again the Repubs have acted as Economic Terrorists. They've taken the Employed as Hostages, and then the Full Faith and Credit of the Nation as Hostage to get their way.
There are usually only three ways things go in a Hostage Situation. 1) The Hostage Dies. 2) The Hostage Takers Get Caught and/or Killed, and then there's option number 3 - You Cut a Deal.
So far Obama has not been willing to let the Hostage Die because of the size of the stakes, and been unable to catch or kill the Hostage Takers. Until now. The reason is because the American Voters are the ones who put a gun in the hands of the GOP, only for them to turn it around and point it right back at America.
It's going to take the American People to disarm them.
Despite those who claim he's underestimating the GOP, he knows exactly who and what he's dealing with. He knows that they're going to do nothing but obstruct and dismantle.
I do share your concern that money has become such a powerful factor in politics that it has a distorting effect, and it doesn’t just have a distorting effect during election time. I mean, this financial regulatory reform bill that we passed -- Dodd-Frank -- we set up a Consumer Protection Bureau, a Consumer Finance Protection Bureau -- some of you may be familiar with this. The basic idea is pretty straightforward -- that we should have somebody in the federal government who makes sure that you’re not getting cheated when you take out a credit card, you’re not getting cheated when you take out a mortgage, that you’re not reading a bunch of fine print that you don’t understand and that you’ve got to be a lawyer to decipher, that consumers should have somebody who’s looking out for them in these complex financial transactions that are increasingly a part of our lives. (Applause.)
So we got this thing passed and we’ve set it up, and now I’ve got millions of dollars in lobbyists and special-interest donations trying to dismantle this thing before it even gets off the ground, and I can’t get the Senate to confirm anybody to take the position. It doesn’t matter how well qualified they are. So right now we’ve nominated the former attorney general of Ohio, who was also the treasurer of Ohio, who when he was in Ohio Republicans and Democrats said was a great consumer advocate who, for the last year and a half, at great sacrifice to himself, has helped to set up this agency; and I’ve got the Republican Senate -- 44 of them, which means that they can filibuster any appointment -- saying, we’re not going to appoint anybody to this thing unless you water down the enforcement capacities of this agency. Well, that’s just -- that is pure special-interest lobbying at work. (Applause.) And that is not how our democracy should work. That is not how our democracy should work.
No, that's not how America should work. This is...
If all of you are enlisted in the fight to make sure that we’ve got a country that is looking out for middle-class families and promoting common sense, and thinking about the next generation and not just the next election, and is thinking more about country than it is about party, and is less interested in vilifying opponents than figuring out how to get something done, then we’re going to start electing folks who do that.
And let me tell you, when we have that kind of politics, watch out. Watch out. You will not be able to stop this country. You will not be able to stop America from making sure that the 21st century is the American century just like the 20th century was. But I’m going to need your help, everybody.
If you don't think Obama has heard our concerns about fighting Congress, I think this shows he has, and that in turn - he's asking, begging, for our help to help change that Congress into something that worthy of America.
This is what I had hoped the President would do. It's what I hoped for when I said "Obama Finally Got Me" after I protest voted against him on Super Tuesday because I thought John Edwards was showing far more Progressive Spine than either Obama or Hillary Clinton.
This is what I said back then.
Hillary has given up on trying to out inspire Obama, that ain't gonna happen - but even until today she hasn't given up on the idea that she is a better fighter than Obama, that she knows better how hard the other side will punch back (because she's gotten pummeled before) and what it's going to take to IMPLEMENT Change.
Yes, it may be true that progress doesn't happen at all if you don't have inspiration and that if you don't have Hope then you can't make positive change at all, but what we really need are both. Inspiration and Implementation.
If Obama has had any weakness in my mind - this is it. It's going to take more than just happy talk to get the difficult things we need done through Congress. We need more than just Hope Alone, We're also going to need someone who is also can effectively Implement the things that we Hope for.
I don't simply want just another place holder in the White House with a (D) by their name. The massive corruption and malfeasance of the Bush Administration is going to take literally decades to clean up and correct. Our international prestige, our integrity, our national infrustructure, our national debt, our trade deficit, our economy and our armed forces have been left in tatters by this Administration.
We've got some serious heavy lifting in front of us.
What Barack showed last night was that he's been able to Implement as much and as well as anyone, and Hillary has made it clear that she's willing and able to FIGHT hard - and even somewhat dirty - to get what she feels will help the American people.
The point where Barack finally got me was when he finally explained why his approach and strategy is critically different from everyone else in the political plain...
OBAMA: You know, the thinking is that somehow, they're being duped, and eventually they're going to see the reality of things.
Well, I think they perceive reality of what's going on in Washington very clearly. What they see is that if we don't bring the country together, stop the endless bickering, actually focus on solutions and reduce the special interests that have dominated Washington, then we will not get anything done. And the reason that this campaign has done so well...
The reason that this campaign has done so well is because people understand that it is not just a matter of putting forward policy positions.
OBAMA: Senator Clinton and I share a lot of policy positions. But if we can't inspire the American people to get involved in their government and if we can't inspire them to go beyond the racial divisions and the religious divisions and the regional divisions that have plagued our politics for so long, then we will continue to see the kind of gridlock and nonperformance in Washington that is resulting in families suffering in very real ways.
Barack has always, ALWAYS, put his trust ultimately in the American people. He's trusted us, to step forward, to be vocal - LOUD EVEN - to push forward the change and prosperity we all seek.
Just like John Kerry did when he called to us to Filibuster Alito we rose to that call, flipping an impressive number of votes our way, and nearly shut down his nomination.
That's what we need to do again. And we need to keep doing it. In November 2012. And in 2016.
We need to realize that Obama's vision of a United America, one that sees it's goals as common and is willing to tackle them together, is more importantly to the long term health of the country than implementing any specific partisan progressive agenda item. If we are to implement progressive goals without bringing the rest of the country into solidarity with those goals - they will fight tooth and nail to undermine and reverse those goals.
That is what we've seeing now with Dodd-Frank. It's what we've seen with Health Care Reform. Simply getting agenda items ticked off our "Honey Do" list isn't enough.
We need to stop squabbling, yes even amongst ourselves, and keep focused on continued improvements and progress. Even if, sometimes, those improvements are small, sometimes they are insufficient. In the end the policy changes aren't the goal - they're part of the process. We have yet to reach the goal in almost any area, so we have to Keep Going.
It's not a matter of "Clapping Louder" - which implies a passive state of adoration. We need to get out of our seats, put our frustrations and disappointments aside - or else use them as fuel to - put our shoulders to the wheel and PUSH HARDER.
And not for Obama. Not for Nancy Pelosi. Not for Harry Reid. And not because we fear what Repubs might do in their place.
We have to do it for America.
The President is asking you to do just that. He's depending on you. We all are.