The 2012 Democratic Convention wrapped up last night, with President Obama providing a tough, forward-looking speech as capstone. The orations delivered by Michelle Obama and President Clinton on the previous two nights set a high bar for the President. But the man is nothing, if not a gifted orator. And he came through.
...when all is said and done— when you pick up that ballot to vote— you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace— decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come.
On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America.In this statement, the President outlines the rationale I employ in continuing to support him. I'm under no illusions that the Obama administration or the Democrats offer a panacea. But they are night-and-day better than Republicans.
A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.
As President Clinton said on the previous night: "If you want a winner-take-all, you’re-on-your-own society, you should support the Republican ticket. But if you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility, a we’re-all-in-this-together society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden."
In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al-Qaida is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.You know this statement had war-mongers like John McCain crunching down on their antacid tabs. All that Republican tough talk about bringing in bin Laden "dead or alive" added up to cotton candy. Enjoy your heartburn, Republicans!
Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I’m commander in chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us— because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.When one contrasts the President's speech with that delivered by Mitt Romney in Tampa the week before, it is obvious that the President and his speech writers took pains to identify and attack the omissions in the Romney speech. As nearly every political observer has noted, Romney said nary a word about Afghanistan. A glaring omission that, had it been a Democrat who had committed it, would have had the Republicans howling their outrage all over Fox News. This exposes them as the panderers and jingoes that they are.
So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.This remark reminded that Mitt Romney thoroughly bombed on his overseas tour a few weeks back. And it's a damning indictment of the saber-rattling emptiness that served as foreign policy under the guidance of Junior Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and Condi Rice.
America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder— but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer— but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on earth.No placation, no excuses. An articulation of guiding principles as we trundle down history's path. Romney offered nothing like this.
Respected friends refuse to vote for President Obama. Not because he's a "socialist" or a "Muslim" as the Tea Party folks shrilly proclaim. Rather, my friends object to the erosion of constitutional rights and the expansion of executive authority under the President's watch. The criticisms are valid and I'm in agreement with them. But Republicans will not curtail executive branch abuses. Indeed, they will only accelerate their implementation.
We're a republic, and republic is a one-way street to empire. The question is this: how are we going to travel down that road? As a free-for-all Ayn Rand Objectivist state? Or as a nation that, for all its faults, carries on in the human tradition? A nation that forges ahead while caring for the weak and vulnerable in its midst?
Easy choice for me.