“And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that sixty votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.”
President Barack Obama, 27 January 2010, State of the Union Address.
Stolen from here
There were other parts of last night’s speech worth cheering for:
“Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong”.
That, right there, is possibly the best thing the man said all night.
Not just because it revealed USSC Justice Samuel Alito — by way of his on-camera reaction to hearing the truth about the activist decision coming out of the Court that essentially endangers the ability of the American citizen to be represented in government, at the local level, the state level, or the Federal level — for the partisan political creature he is, but because he clearly calls on the Congress to plug this loophole.
Now if Congress be wise, the plug for this loophole will be an examination of the notion, fostered by a clerical error in recording a California state supreme court decision, that corporations are equal to real live human beings. A Congress wise enough to know it can’t afford to stay bought will put that notion to death.
Which really ought to be the focus of the Bill this President sends to Congress. There ought to be someone in the House who could introduce this, and someone in the Senate who would do the same.
There was also this, which IMNVHO is an outstanding — I mean, really, outstanding — turnaround on the anti-intellectual, anti-education stance we had out of the previous administration.
“I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families. To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer-subsidies that go to banks for student loans. Instead, let’s take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years – and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service. Because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college”.
I distinctly remember hearing this President say something else, too:
And in this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than on their potential.
More from the speech is worth repeating:
We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities — (applause) — and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy-efficient, which supports clean energy jobs. (Applause.) And to encourage these and other businesses to stay within our borders, it is time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
Now, the House has passed a jobs bill that includes some of these steps. (Applause.) As the first order of business this year, I urge the Senate to do the same, and I know they will. (Applause.) They will. (Applause.) People are out of work. They’re hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay. (Applause.)
But the truth is, these steps won’t make up for the seven million jobs that we’ve lost over the last two years. The only way to move to full employment is to lay a new foundation for long-term economic growth, and finally address the problems that America’s families have confronted for years.
We can’t afford another so-called economic “expansion” like the one from the last decade –- what some call the “lost decade” -– where jobs grew more slowly than during any prior expansion; where the income of the average American household declined while the cost of health care and tuition reached record highs; where prosperity was built on a housing bubble and financial speculation.
From the day I took office, I’ve been told that addressing our larger challenges is too ambitious; such an effort would be too contentious. I’ve been told that our political system is too gridlocked, and that we should just put things on hold for a while. For those who make these claims, I have one simple question: How long should we wait? How long should America put its future on hold? (Applause.)
He did tell us, last night, that he never suggested he could do this alone, nor that doing this wouldn’t be time-consuming, difficult, and messy.
Pretty realistic assessment, for a change.
It’s obvious that if the rest of us aren’t willing to back up this President, aren’t willing to ride herd on our Representatives and our Senators (well, the ones calling and writing and marching around outside the home office with signs could actually, you know, cause to think, at least), the end of the “Yes we Can” movement was, effectively, 21 January 2009.
Remembering how good it felt to watch this President be inaugurated and hear about the first orders he signed, though, I hate to throw in the towel now.
It has finally dawned on me what he’s trying to do. Unlike Bush, he’s trying to work within and through the system, change the culture of politics in the nation’s capitol, and do his job the way the Constitution spelled it out.
Novel concept indeed, in a post-Reagan universe.