Saturday, February 24, 2007

Made You Look
Barack Obama is Worth Watching

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again: It’s too early and I just don’t want to start thinking about 2008 yet. I want to settle in, watch newly empowered Democrats start asking embarrassing questions (Like: What the hell happened to the 363 tons of cash that has gone missing in Iraq, Mr. President?)

But, like it or not, the next Presidential Election has already started, and, once again, that Obama fellow keeps saying and doing stuff I really like.

Yesterday, after Vice-President Darth Va--, oops, sorry, Dick Cheney—claimed that the British were leaving Iraq, not because they’d followed us into a quagmire, but because they were clearly winning and could afford to leave, Barack Obama spoke up:

(From AP Reports, via the Boston Globe)

Obama, speaking at a massive outdoor rally in Austin, Texas, said British Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision this week to withdraw 1,600 troops is a recognition that Iraq's problems can't be solved militarily.

"Now if Tony Blair can understand that, then why can't George Bush and Dick Cheney understand that?...In fact, Dick Cheney said this is all part of the plan (and) it was a good thing that Tony Blair was withdrawing, even as the administration is preparing to put 20,000 more of our young men and women in.

"Now, keep in mind, this is the same guy that said we'd be greeted as liberators, the same guy that said that we're in the last throes. I'm sure he forecast sun today…When Dick Cheney says it's a good thing, you know that you've probably got some big problems."

It’s just contagious.

Earlier, in a spat with Hillary Clinton over who got to be David Geffen’s friend, Obama took a really nice “Damn the Torpedoes” approach. Geffen said something nasty about Bill Clinton (what the HELL is it about Democrats? Shut Up, people…there are plenty of Republicans to pick on), the Hillary camp demanded that Obama apologize, and Obama basically answered: why should I apologize for what somebody else said?

Other Democrats would have engaged in a lot of hand-wringing and soul searching: Obama just told it like it is. Actually, it’s a lot like the way Bill Clinton himself would have played it- I like that in a Democrat- it smells like victory.

Meanwhile, Hillary’s role in the spat seems to be that of nasty political operative. We get this glimpse of her threatening and cajoling and bullying the money when ever it looks like it might jump ship. It shows her for what I think she is: a particularly tough and ruthless operative… a perfect campaign manager…but not such an attractive candidate.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself at the Euro-Café in Burlington on a Saturday morning to watch Barack Obama announce (officially) that he was seeking the nomination of my party for the Presidency.

This is what I heard:

Let us begin this hard work together. Let us transform this nation.

Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. … Let's make college more affordable, and let's invest in scientific research, and let's lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America.

And as our economy changes, let's be the generation that ensures our nation's workers are sharing in our prosperity. Let's protect the hard-earned benefits their companies have promised. Let's make it possible for hardworking Americans to save for retirement. And let's allow our unions and their organizers to lift up this country's middle-class again.

Let's be the generation that ends poverty in America. Every single person willing to work should be able to get job training that leads to a job, and earn a living wage that can pay the bills, and afford child care so their kids have a safe place to go when they work. Let's do this.

Let's be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis. We can control costs by focusing on prevention, by providing better treatment to the chronically ill, and using technology to cut the bureaucracy. Let's be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president's first term.

Let's be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil. We can harness homegrown, alternative fuels like ethanol and spur the production of more fuel-efficient cars. We can set up a system for capping greenhouse gases. We can turn this crisis of global warming into a moment of opportunity for innovation, and job creation, and an incentive for businesses that will serve as a model for the world. Let's be the generation that makes future generations proud of what we did here.

Most of all, let's be the generation that never forgets what happened on that September day and confront the terrorists with everything we've got. Politics doesn't have to divide us on this anymore - we can work together to keep our country safe. I've worked with Republican Senator Dick Lugar to pass a law that will secure and destroy some of the world's deadliest, unguarded weapons. We can work together to track terrorists down with a stronger military, we can tighten the net around their finances, and we can improve our intelligence capabilities. But let us also understand that ultimate victory against our enemies will come only by rebuilding

It was a an inspiring speech…and as I watched this young man standing on the same steps where Abraham Lincoln stood, all I could think was: It's a lot Like Looking At Someone who is going to be President.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well said