I hope that, once and for all, the long, awful experiment with Conservatism is over:
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
President Obama's speech was more partisan that I had dared hope for, more specific that I expected. In many ways it was a polite but firm rebuke of the man he replaces, a man who, as he slinks off into the political wilderness, still is deluded into thinking he did anything good.
Other high points for me:
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In other words, an end to petty political infighting, and a call to actually do some work, both by professional politicians, pundits, and people in general. If you don't help fix stuff, you're in the way and obstructionist; it will be your fault. So Sen. Cornyn, stop your stupid hold on the Clinton-Sec. State vote.
. . . Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.
The era of Wall St. driving the bus for their own benefit is over. And Bill Gates, your taxes are likely going to go up a little bit.
. . . As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.
Torture as a defense tool or strategy is over. Do not want.
. . . We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.
Out of Iraq, hopefully out of Afghanistan. Work against real nuclear challenges like Russia, not ginned up ones like Iran. And confront an inconvenient truth.
Much more in the speech rang true to me, and I really hope he pulls it off. Sure to be challenged by Republicans who hopefully will fail.
Here's the video of the title song: This is The Day-The The:
Check out their amazing, politically aware website: http://www.thethe.com/