Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Speech

As my old lady would have said: “The man certainly has the gift of gab!”
by Charlie Leck

President Barack Obama is a gifted speaker. I can’t imagine anyone doubts it. I was amazed last night at his communicative skills. Half the joint had its hackles up as they listened. The other half wondered how he’d keep hope alive for progressives in this country.

Well, he did a right fine job, as a good farming friend of mine would say. “He did a right fine job!”

Who could disagree with the President’s broad strokes and his basic goal? He wants America to win the future. He quoted Bobby Kennedy in saying that “the future is about achievement.”

Then, in a carefully organized and logical speech, he went on to lay out a plan for how we get to a better future in a highly competitive world.

Spark the imagination of people!
We make our living through innovation the President explained. He used the space race of the 60s as an example – we came from nowhere to clearly win that race and establish ourselves as the world’s leader in space technology. We can do it again, the President insisted, if….

The if is, of course, the big dark hole in the speech… It’s what the two parties will now begin to argue about.

It seems that no one could argue about the President’s education goals. He wants America back in first place in educating its citizens so we can win the future. He wants good teachers rewarded and he wants us to “stop making excuses for bad ones!” He called out to America’s talented young people to become teachers. “Your country needs you!”

America, he said, has fallen to ninth place in college degrees awarded to its students. Some of that has to do with the high cost of a college education. He said that Congress must make a higher education within the reach of every American. He proclaimed his goal, and hopefully Congress will join him, to make American number one again in the number of college degrees earned by its students by the end of this decade!

This won’t be cheap. Will a highly divided Congress figure it out?

And, he wants to rebuild America in many different ways beyond rebuilding its education system. He wants our infrastructure rebuilt. He wants us to have the best transportation system in the world. He wants high speed rail and high speed Internet to tie the country completely together.

This won’t be cheap. Will a highly divided Congress be willing to make the investment?

The President wants to get rid of “rigged tax codes” and make paying our taxes simple and clear to everyone. He wants to lower corporate tax rates so that our companies can find ways to sell more products around the world.

The President declared that we cannot permanently extend tax cuts for the wealthy. A few Democrats applauded him. Otherwise, there was a grim silence in the chamber.

How will a divided Congress figure out a way to do deal with tax reform?

The President was strong about Health Care. He conceded that weaknesses in last year’s bill should be corrected, but the repeal of the law would cost the nation billions of dollars. He was firm about not going back to the day’s when preexisting conditions prevented one from getting insurance. The President made a major concession to conservatives when he said there must be reform in medical malpractice laws to eliminate frivolous law suits.

How will a divided Congress deal with health care?

When the President declared that Social Security must be strengthened and not eliminated… well, what is the line about the proverbial fart in church? Yes, you could have heard one. I think I did hear one.

The President wants America to live within its means. He wants to reform government as a means to save billions of dollars. He’ll provide Congress with his plan to do so. It will mean eliminating many agencies and merging others in order to make a more efficient and less expensive means of governing. He wants a 21st century government!

How will a divided Congress manage to cooperate on government reform?

The President declared he will veto any law that comes to him from Congress containing even one ear mark. At first there was stunned silence and then everyone slowly rose in applause. How could they not?

In 21st Century America, “America’s moral example must always shine.” And we must remember that “America’s Muslims are a part of our American family.” Polite applause!

We’ve kept our commitment in Iraq and now it is time to go and let that nation determine its own future. We are keeping our commitment in Afghanistan, but the time is near for that nation to govern itself and for us to go. Our troops will begin coming home in July.

Our military is fabulous, but it must learn to live on less and that process has begun.

As for our returning veterans, the President declared that we have a debt to them. “Let us serve them as well as they have served us!”

He showed his pleasure that gays can now serve openly in the military. Now that this has happened, he said, it is time for all college campuses to open their doors again to military recruiters.

Though we all have political differences, the President said and then asked: “Who would trade places with anyone in any other nation in the world?”

“God bless America!”

The game is on!

Oh yes, Michele Bachmann thought it was a terrible speech!

Alessandra Stanley description of Congresswoman Bachmann’s rebuttal is perfectly written.

“It wasn’t just what she said, though she used words like ‘explosion’ and ‘exploded’ and ‘Obamacare’ a lot. It was the way Ms. Bachmann spoke, smiling and gesturing with an intensity that almost cracked the screen. ‘Instead of a leaner, smarter government, we bought a bureaucracy that now tells us which light bulbs to buy and which may put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama’s health care bill,’ Ms. Bachmann said, as she stood in front of a huge chart of unemployment figures.”

Michele Bachmann, again last night, showed herself to be an ass!


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