INFRASTRUCTURE

Have I mentioned this before? (Google says yes – 246 times, going back to 2003.) Well, obviously none of this is original with me; but it’s taking wing – and taken to the streets. Watch Rachel on Occupy Wall Street and how our Republican friends are dead set against doing what so clearly and desperately needs to be done.

And then watch ’60 Minutes’ – this next item – to understand why they block it:

THE WORST MAN IN AMERICA

If he’s not the worst, he’s right up there. Whether the National Debt is 30% of GDP as it was when Jimmy Carter handed it off to Ronald Reagan, or 100% when George W. Bush handed it off – with a $1.5 trillion deficit – to Barack Obama, Grover Norquist always knows what to do, and it’s always the same: cut government revenue. Wartime? Cut it. Peace time? Cut it. You may never even have heard of him, but he’s one of the principal reasons our political system is so broken and our country in such dire straits. In case you missed last night’s ’60 Minutes’ profile, you can watch it here.

THE BEST MAN IN AMERICA

Or if not the best, he’s right up there. Here is Mayor Rahm Emanuel on his former boss, the President:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Remarks at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner
November 19, 2011

. . . Four years ago, at this very dinner — and many of you were in attendance — a young senator from Illinois, who was 23 points down in the polls, spoke to you in words you will never forget. With the promises he made in that speech, he began a journey that would change history — and he did it with your help.

Now all of us may be a little older and a little grayer — or as my youngest daughter likes to say, “Dad they can say it’s salt and pepper, but for you, it’s all salt.” But we can remember what he said and what he believed was worth fighting for.

He stood on this platform, and promised to end “a war that should never have been authorized and should never have been waged.”

Republicans didn’t want to let it happen, and Democrats didn’t believe it could. Yet, tonight, the last of 170,000 of America’s finest are on their way home. The war is over.

That is the change we believed in. That is the change we worked for. That is the change our president delivered.

Four years ago, at this very dinner, President Obama promised he would take the fight to Al Qa’eda, those who were actually responsible for 9/11. He said he would bring justice to Al Qa’eda’s leaders.

Tonight, Osama bin Laden is history. Al Qa’eda has been decimated. Thanks to the bold, determined leadership of our President, justice has been done. And America is safer for it.

Typical of the person I know, President Obama did not brag. He thanked our troops and intelligence services for their excellent work, and he moved on to the next terrorist who was threatening America and brought him to justice.

He didn’t hang a banner and he didn’t pretend the mission was accomplished. He got the job done.

That is the change we believed in. That is the change we worked for. That is the change our president delivered.

Four years ago, Senator Obama stood before you and said he wanted to “stop talking about the outrage of 47 million Americans without health care and start actually doing something about it.”

He promised then: “I will make certain that every single American in this country has health care they can count on and I won’t do it 20 years from now, I won’t do it 10 years from now, I will do it by the end of my first term as President.”

Now folks, you know this, politicians have been making that promise for over 60 years. President Obama delivered.

Because of President Obama’s leadership, an insurance company cannot turn you down because you have a pre-existing condition. Because of President Obama, they cannot discriminate against you because you’re a woman, or have grown older. Because of President Obama, kids can stay on their parents’ policy until they enter the workforce.

Because of your support, Iowa, and his courage, no American will ever again receive a letter that says: “Sorry, you’ve reached the limit. We won’t pay for your cancer treatment any more.” Republicans opposed every one of those reforms, but now we have those life-saving protections, that peace of mind, because of President Obama’s leadership.

That is the change we believed in. That is the change we worked for. That is the change our President delivered.

President Obama stood here at this dinner four years ago and promised, “to make sure that every American child has the best education that we have to offer – from the day they are born to the day they graduate from college.”

As President, he has doubled college scholarships. He’s brought down the cost of college loans. He invested in schools and innovation with the Race to the Top. He expanded access to community colleges, the most undervalued asset in our education system.

You gave him that chance. Republicans fought him every step of the way, but because of his leadership, millions of young Americans have been given a better chance.

That is the change we believed in. That is the change we worked for. That is the change our President delivered.

You heard him say it, right here in Iowa, four years ago. He made the pledge, not just to you, but to the American people. And now you’ve seen him deliver on the promises he made.

That’s how we measure character in a leader: doing what you say you will do. Now, I had the privilege of seeing that character close up, working by his side during two of the most harrowing years any President has faced in our lifetime … And, no, despite what you’re thinking right now, they were not harrowing days because I was at his side.

They say you learn the most about someone’s character in a crisis … then I think we all know our President pretty well. During our greatest economic crises in decades, the strength of our President’s character was on display every day.

The President inherited an economy that was spiraling towards depression. He inherited a financial system that had frozen up and an auto industry that was near collapse.

The problems President Obama faced were not caused by accident. They were caused by policies — Republican policies.

The first time I worked in the White House, for President Clinton, we had a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate with a Democratic President. We passed an economic plan without a single Republican vote. And that plan put America back to work and back to economic growth.

It created millions of private sector jobs. It lifted seven million Americans out of poverty. It reformed welfare as we know it. And it put 100,000 cops on America’s streets.

We balanced the budget. We put America on a path to zero debt by the year 2009 … It seemed so far away then.

We left President Bush a record surplus and he left President Obama a record national debt.

You know how that happened: the Republicans happened. They held the White House, the House and the Senate for six long years. And they did something no one had ever tried in 200 years of history: they tried to fund two wars by cutting taxes three times. . . .

They took everything they inherited: the jobs, the surplus, the stature of our country around the world — and they squandered it.

It’s ironic … I figured the one thing Republicans were really good at, was inheriting things.

But that’s what the Republicans handed President Obama and America on day one, January 20th, 2009 — the worst economic mess for a president since FDR took over from Herbert Hoover.

But President Obama didn’t complain, and he didn’t blame. He knew the burdens of everyday Americans were a hell of a lot more searing than his own. So he rolled up his sleeves and he went to work on behalf of the hard-working families of this country.

Every day I worked by his side, I saw a leader who didn’t ask what was the easy thing to do, what was the politically convenient thing to do, but what was the right thing to do, what was the essential thing to do, for America and America’s future.

The President did not make choices based on politics. He made them because of his principles. He did not make choices for the next election, he made them for the next generation.

Trust me, I know this first hand, he didn’t make decisions based on whether they were quick, or politically convenient, because I was often recommending the quick or politically convenient thing to do. And I didn’t win any of those fights. President Obama never tailored what he believed to the moment.

Now, compare that to Mitt Romney:

Once he was pro-choice, now he’s not.

He was pro gay rights. Now he’s not.

He supported gun control. Now he doesn’t.

He supported efforts to deal with greenhouse gases and climate change. Now he doesn’t.

He supported immigration reform. Now he doesn’t.

He supported national health care reform with a mandate. Now he doesn’t.

Mitt Romney says he’s a man of steadiness and consistency …

And if that’s true, then I’m a linebacker for the Chicago Bears.

While people have talked about all his flip-flops, I actually think there’s a different part to Mitt Romney that people don’t fully appreciate. It’s what he’s been steadfast about — what he has refused to bend on, where he has never flip-flopped, and never abandoned his position. And that’s his position on the middle class versus the most fortunate: what he’s failed to do for the middle class and what he’s willing to do for the most fortunate. . . .

 

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