From my view, it was the most remarkable production in U.S. political history.
In his historic speech, Barack Obama once again coupled Democrats with tenacity, determination, and the strength to stand up to the Republicans on the one issue they always use against us: national security. The Barack Obama that showed up last night is no one to be messed with. The sheer brute masculinity, coupled with his grace of delivery of the speech, put the Republicans, but more specifically, John McCain on notice.
“If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.” – Barack Obama, Democratic Nominee for President
Gone was the soaring word fogs that had so troubled me during the primary season. Replaced by sculpted rhetoric that carved out a critique of George W. Bush and John McCain that could only conjure up images of the hug. Obama took the speaking style that mesmerized voters for the last eighteen months, but this time added a dividing line between himself and his adversary, willing to not only draw distinction, but political blood.
For — for while — while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face.
When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.
You know, John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives.
And today, today, as my call for a timeframe to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficit, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.
“Muddle through” in Afghanistan, that was John McCain’s foreign policy prescription. Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, feels otherwise.
“I don’t have troops I can reach for, brigades I can reach, to send into Afghanistan until I have a reduced requirement in Iraq,” Mullen told reporters at the Pentagon. “Afghanistan has been and remains an economy-of-force campaign, which by definition means we need more forces there.”
Not only has John McCain been myopic in his military strategy, as he lays out his case for commander in chief. He’s been completely clueless about the other serious threats we face beyond Iraq. It’s as if he’s never thought about them. Central Asia takes second place to Iraq, while Senator McCain misidentifies the borders of Pakistan. Meanwhile, McCain displays the same arrogant recklessness as Bush when recently saying “we are all Georgians,” when it’s clear our priorities are anything but aligned and certainly not connected through quantifiable actions.
Barack Obama laid John McCain out, calling him on, not only his lapse of military judgment and strategic vision, but tying that to the first priorities of all presidents: the people’s welfare.
America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this. (APPLAUSE)
This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.
We’re a better country than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment that he’s worked on for 20 years and watch as it’s shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.
We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty… (APPLAUSE) … that sits… (APPLAUSE) … that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.
The African American gentleman standing beside me said it best, when he didn’t think I was listening. “Lord have mercy. After all these years…” …then his voice trailed off.
America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices. And Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past, for part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose, and that’s what we have to restore.
We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. (APPLAUSE) The — the reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. (APPLAUSE)
I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.
Martin Luther King, Jr. has his heir.
So I’ve got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first. – Barack Obama
Make no mistake about it. The Republicans are in rewrite.
Cue Brooks & Dunn.