President Obama was touting his speech on the economy in the days leading up to it for good reason. Undeniably the speech he delivered in Illinois yesterday will reverberate for days and weeks to come. It was a shot across the bow of the Tea Partiers in Congress that have been obstructing, fake-repealing Obamacare and passing idiotic, Draconian anti-abortion laws instead of working with the president to really fix the economy. Obama’s White House has apparently decided that waiting for a recalcitrant and intransigent political opposition force to grow up isn’t really working, so he’s taking his message to the street, kicking off his tour yesterday.
That sound you heard yesterday and today from the right-wing in this country is histrionics over the fact that it was a damn fine speech, and that they know they are truly on the losing end of the battle. Their beloved austerity is debunked and while Obama’s approval rating has also flagged a bit recently, their approval rating is still below 20%. It’s now more important than ever for them to keep feeding red meat to their base, focusing them on fake scandals and social issues they’re losing in epic proportions on instead of letting them hear the words Obama spoke, which is another big sign that they know they’re in trouble. It’s 1998 all over again. They’ve been focusing on nothing but bringing the president and his agenda down and all the gerrymandering int he world won’t save them in the purple counties in the country who see pointless political witch hunts as being the last thing we need in this country right now.
Obama’s speech was a well-timed opening salvo, and here are the five quotes that will have their heads, at the very least, spinning:
#5. “…they’ll talk about government assistance for the poor, despite the fact that they’ve already cut early education for vulnerable kids, they’ve already cut insurance for people who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own.”
Talk about calling them on their bullshit. This line exactly sums up the hypocrisy of the rhetoric from the right. You can’t claim to be all about helping the poor and working class and then turn around and gut, slash, cut and burn every single program that helps those very people. Well, you can, but you’re just a hypocritical ass at that point. Or you know, a Tea Partier.
#4. “This isn’t a Democratic idea. You know, Republicans built a lot of stuff. This is the land of Lincoln. He — Lincoln was all about building stuff. First Republican president. And yet, as a share of our economy, we invest less in our infrastructure than we did two decades ago.”
You want to know why TEAPublicans hate this line? It’s so true. They used to be a bold party of new ideas. They were the party that freed the slaves, but the problem is they sold that idealism out in the 1950s and ’60s to snatch up all the old, racist segregationist votes. Believe it or not Republicans used to believe in infrastructure support and development too. Republicans hate this line because it tells the truth about how very far they’ve strayed from their once proud history.
#3. “You’ve got a faction of Republicans in the House who won’t even give that bill a vote, and that same group gutted a farm bill that America’s farmers depend on but also America’s most vulnerable children depend on.”
Truth. The truth hurts the Republicans’ image more than anything, and this quote is a direct telling of the truth. House Republicans are in the middle of slowly killing the Senate’s immigration bill and they did literally just screw over both farmers and needy children. All of this over their ideological crusade to kill the government and make it useless. They’ve certainly accomplished the second half of that mission, and they’re well on their way to achieving the first part, which is why when Obama calls them out on it, their heads explode.
#2. “If you ask some of these folks…about their economic agenda…they’ll shift the topic to out-of-control government spending, despite the fact that we’ve cut the deficit by nearly half as a share of the economy since I took office.”
Again — truth, followed by more truth, all wrapped up in a layer of yet again more truth. The two biggest reasons we had a record deficit in June were that we finally raised taxes on the wealthy by letting those Bush Tax Cuts expire, and because we’ve already sliced out so much of our spending to begin with. Cutting the deficit in half that quickly is probably part of the reason why the economic recovery has been so sluggish. More aggressive stimulus is what was needed at the time. But the bottom line is that Obama now looks poised to continue the speeches and continue pointing out where the truth and the GOP’s rhetoric forever diverge.
#1. ”I say to these members of Congress: I’m laying out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot. So now it’s time for you to lay out your ideas. You can’t just be against something. You got to be for something.”
This is the one that gets the most to the heart of what’s so terribly wrong about Congressional Republicans. For the last five years all they’ve done is throw one tantrum over another without offering any alternatives. They want to repeal Obamacare but have no replacement for it (because they don’t really want to replace it, no matter what they tell you). The “new” ideas they do have are just terrible like privatizing Social Security and restricting abortions to the moments between orgasm and fertilization. They’ve been essentially a passive-aggressive group of whining babies with nothing constructive to add, and Obama just called them on it in front of the entire country.
Watch Rachel Maddow’s take on President Obama’s populist speech: