Well – I watched the big speech last night.
General impressions. He looked happy. He should be. He was the most popular man in the room and everyone was listening to what he was saying.
It was not Reaganesqe in that I drifted a number of times. I was pretty young and very liberal during the Reagan years and still he could hold an audience.
Ed Morrissey has a great re-cap and Politico has a good “what he really meant”.
These are the lines that struck me from the speech:
-The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation.
[excellent, positive, upbeat, realistic]
-In other words, we have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity; where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter or the next election.
[This stimulus seems to be another version of this. WE can't handle a recession, so we'll make our kids deal with this debt.]
-A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future.
[I'm not clear how this worked. It seems to me like a surplus became an excuse to spend money on stuff including Medicare Part D and a couple of wars.]
-In fact, a failure to act would have worsened our long-term deficit by assuring weak economic growth for years.
[Here he's trying to say how it would have been even worse for our kids. Not that we are saddling them with bad stuff. Good save.]
-Still, this plan will require significant resources from the federal government – and yes, probably more than we’ve already set aside.
[set aside??!! Where is that at? I'm picturing the piggy bank of change I use to waste money on the horses.]
-Given these realities, everyone in this chamber – Democrats and Republicans – will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars. And that includes me.
[That stimulus bill shows 0 sacrifices, particularly for Democratic dreams, and therein lies the problem for most of us.]
- That is why this budget creates new incentives for teacher performance; pathways for advancement, and rewards for success. We’ll invest in innovative programmes that are already helping schools meet high standards and close achievement gaps. And we will expand our commitment to charter schools.
[This sounded like maybe a bit of union busting is going to happen]
-But it is the responsibility of every citizen to participate in it. And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training.
[Did he mean me?]
-And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American.
[I liked this. A bit of personal responsibility to all those youths who admire him.]
-In this budget, we will end education programs that don’t work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don’t need them.
-We will root out the waste, fraud and abuse in our Medicare program that doesn’t make our seniors any healthier,
[aren't seniors healthier?]
-In order to save our children from a future of debt, we will also end the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. But let me perfectly clear, because I know you’ll hear the same old claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people: if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut – that’s right, a tax cut – for 95% of working families. And these checks are on the way.
[This whole paragraph gives out an odd picture. And it's the picture I got out of the whole speech. We're going to do X, Y, and Z, but don't worry you won't have to pay for it, those OTHER people will. Those rich people. Ones you probably don't even know. So sit back, relax and as Bush said, go shopping.]
-And if we do – if we come together and lift this nation from the depths of this crisis; if we put our people back to work and restart the engine of our prosperity; if we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit, then someday years from now our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, “something worthy to be remembered”.
[If you vote for me, one day, someone will say, I was the First Black President ever and we spent money. (keeping with my - let's put race into everything for black history month as requested by Eric Holder.)]