Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

David Corn’s take on Obama’s speech

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David Corn is a thoughtful journalist who’s often been proved right. Here’s his take on Obama’s speech:

An organized mind at work is a wonderful thing to watch. During his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama placed the mind of his presidency on display, and it was wonderfully organized. The speech—a State of the Union stand-in—presented a clear, mostly left-of-center agenda for his presidency and a series of forceful rationales for his proposed actions. Obama offered all this up with a now-familiar fair dose of charm and grace. It’s been years since any BMOC in Washington has presented such an extensive and well-articulated plan for—dare one say it—change.

This was a political speech, so it had the predictable elements: Americans don’t give up, we’ll pull together and rise again. But the strategic thrust of the speech was deftly delivered: Obama declared that the crisis—make that, crises—of the moment offers opportunities for fundamental shifts in national policies related to the economy, energy, education, and health care. In other words, the current calamity provides additional cause to proceed rapidly and ambitiously on these fronts.

At the start of the address, Obama said now was not the time to “lay blame” for the current predicament. But he did, noting that for years Washington—a.k.a. the George W. Bush administration—did little to deal with fundamental economic flaws, the nation’s oil dependency, and the country’s troubled health care system. “We have lived through an era,” Obama said, “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. A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future.” So now, he added, a “day of reckoning has arrived.”

Thus, a young black guy stood before Congress and in front of an older white guy (Vice President Joe Biden) and a woman (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) to lay out a road map for saving America.

Much of the first half of Obama’s speech was devoted to …

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Written by Leisureguy

26 February 2009 at 10:41 am

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