Chasing the Norm

Australian academic and blogger on politics, international relations, and culture

This is the change I’ve been waiting for

I supported Obama during 2007, 2008 for the skills he represented, far more than the position he held. I was always prepared to be disappointed, he is not my national leader, he was the most conservative of candidates, and yet his strategy of clinging close to the congressional leadership had led him closer to Health Care Reform than any man before him, Republican & Democrat. While believing every man deserves his due support, over the last few months, my enthusiasm has wained, along with his seeming political skill. Yet here, post-Massachusetts, in the depths of despair I find this, the very statement I have been wishing for him to make for the last few months:

Obama in Ohio 22 January 2010

“So here’s the good news: We’ve gotten pretty far down the road. But I’ve got to admit, we had a little bit of a buzz saw this week. (Laughter.)
Now, I also know that part of the reason is, is that this process was so long and so drawn out — this is just what happens in Congress. I mean, it’s just an ugly process. You’re running headlong into special interests, and armies of lobbyists, and partisan politics that’s aimed at exploiting fears instead of getting things done. And then you’ve got ads that are scaring the bejesus out of everybody. (Laughter.) And the longer it take, the uglier it looks.

So I understand why people would say, boy, this is — I’m not so sure about this — even though they know that what they got isn’t working. And I understand why, after the Massachusetts election, people in Washington were all in a tizzy, trying to figure out what this means for health reform, Republicans and Democrats; what does it mean for Obama? Is he weakened? Is he — oh, how’s he going to survive this? (Laughter.) That’s what they do. (Laughter.)

But I want you — I want you to understand, this is not about me. (Applause.) This is not about me. This is about you. This is not about me; this is about you. I didn’t take this up to boost my poll numbers. You know the way to boost your poll numbers is not do anything. (Laughter.) That’s how you do it. You don’t offend anybody. I’d have real high poll numbers. All of Washington would be saying, “What a genius!” (Laughter.)

I didn’t take this on to score political points. I know there are some folks who think if Obama loses, we win. But you know what? I think that I win when you win. (Applause.) That’s how I think about it.

So if I was trying to take the path of least resistance, I would have done something a lot easier. But I’m trying to solve the problems that folks here in Ohio and across this country face every day. And I’m not going to walk away just because it’s hard. We are going to keep on working to get this done — with Democrats, I hope with Republicans — anybody who’s willing to step up. Because I’m not going to watch more people get crushed by costs or denied care they need by insurance company bureaucrats. I’m not going to have insurance companies click their heels and watch their stocks skyrocket because once again there’s no control on what they do.
So long as I have some breath in me, so long as I have the privilege of serving as your President, I will not stop fighting for you.”

On Friday last week I couldn’t even pick up David Plouffe’s book ‘The Audacity to Win’, such was my disappointment at Obama. If he can however make this speech his widely known creed over the next few weeks & months, then he may indeed be the one we have been waiting for.

Now Pass.The.Damn.Bill

One ResponseLeave one →

  1. chrismbell

     /  January 26, 2010

    good post, great speech.
    Though it’s at another level, I can’t help thinking that I hope the Rudd Govt can find some eloquent things to say this year against the right wing drivel that’s dominating the press and airwaves.