A speech for our hard times

A speech eerily pertinent to the present.

(Cross-posted at the Century Foundation’s Taking Note blog)

President Obama was giving a speech the other day. I heard something like the following:

Let me warn you and let me warn the Nation against the smooth evasion which says, “Of course we believe all these things; we believe in Social Security; we believe in work for the unemployed; we believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things; but we do not like the way the present Administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them- we will do more of them we will do them better; and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.”

But, my friends, these evaders are banking too heavily on the shortness of our memories. No one will forget that they had their golden opportunity…

Remember, too, that the first essential of doing a job well is to want to see the job done. Make no mistake about this: the Republican leadership today is not against the way we have done the job. The Republican leadership is against the job’s being done.

Oops I’m sorry. President Obama gave a nice speech, but the above words were actually spoken by someone else. I came across them on Hardball last night, which included a great interview with Rick Perlstein on Hardball. Watch the entire interview. But watch this great clip between 1:30 and 2:30 to find out who said the above words, and how.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

10 thoughts on “A speech for our hard times”

  1. Sadly Hardball neglected to include the last two paragraphs that wrap the message up. We need more FDR and less, ‘Come on guys, can’t we just PLEASE get along?’

  2. Folks need to remember that FDR had the solid South, 70% of both the House and Senate, and by convention the filibuster was only used to keep African-Americans down. If I was ahead by that much I’d dance in the end zone too.

  3. Obama had both houses (and 60 Senators.) Skilful use of the bully pulpit could negate the abuse of the Filibuster. But most of all, he had a gale force wind at his back after eight years of GWB, a huge mandate, and a blank slate to do with whatever he chose.

    I can’t recall anytime in my life that a President swept into office with more weapons, and more good will, than did Barrack Obama. That he blew it so completely, managing to alienate both his opponents and his base, is the miracle that will be his legacy.

  4. Adding on to NYShooter – and with the way things are going, Obama is hoping that the GOP doesn’t tank the economy, while helping them do just that.

    If we slide ‘back into’ recession (or rather, deeper down), he’s in trouble.

  5. That was a campaign speech. Obama, like FDR, is good at campaign speeches. Obama’s communication problem is that, when he’s not in campaign mode, his communications strategy is no match for Fox New and the rest of the right wing noise machine.

  6. NYShooter: “Skillful use of the bully pulpit could negate the abuse of the Filibuster.”

    How, exactly? Republicans don’t seem to give in just because the President says mean things about them. Red state Democrats might actually be helped by it.

  7. re Kenneth and Shooter…….these days the presidency is a 4 year campaign…….you gotta be in campaign mode ALL THE TIME. What I would like to see is this….IF Obama wins again his acceptance speech should NOT be the usual mushy crap about how graceful his opponent was and all that…..Instead I would like to see him come out swinging on victory day and issue a call to arms to his supporters….let them know that the battle isn’t over…that they need to show up at town hall meetings alongside the teabaggers and be prepared to get ugly…they need to be blasting their congresscritters offices with phone calls and never let up the pressure. The problem is that the teabaggers are a bunch of tough old codgers and young punks who think they can run over everybody else……..and dems and liberals are very easy to run over. I really don’t have much hope for the next several years……even if O gets re-elected.

  8. Senataur says:
    August 20, 2011 at 9:34 am
    NYShooter: “Skillful use of the bully pulpit could negate the abuse of the Filibuster.”
    How, exactly?
    *******************************************************************************

    “How, exactly?”……….If a politician, smart enough, and skilled enough, to defeat the Clinton powerhouse needs to ask an amateur layperson “how, exactly” to use the bully pulpit we are in more trouble than we thought.

    But for starters, how about he googles “FDR and his opposition” to get a clue.

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