Thursday, October 4, 2012

What Obama Should Have Said But Didn't

Opening Statement:  I want to be a president for all the people, whether rich or poor, Democrat or Republocan ... not just the 54% that don't receive any government benefits.  I will not write off any American.

Entitlements:  Just a few weeks ago, Governor Romney, in a private gathering of donors, sounded very different from the way he is sounding tonight speaking to all of you. He said that the 46% of Americans who receive government benefits feel like victims, that they have become dependent on government. It sounded like he felt they were losers.  I strongly disagree.  The seniors who have paid into Social Security all their lives, the injured veterans coming back from Iraq and all our wars after having fought for their country ... these are people who have paid their dues, they are indeed entitled to support from the government at this point in their lives.  What about the poor?  The poor who have never had a fair chance to get ahead because of poor schooling, a government obligation, deserve the support of the government to help them pursue their dreams of life, liberty, and happiness.  That is why President Clinton turned welfare into workfare.

The Role of Government: As it says in the Declaration of Independence, the role of government is to "secure these rights" ... meaning the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In other words, government's role is to create a situation where everyone has at least an equal opportunity to pursue those rights. The government needs to be there for all the people, and especially those who are at a point in their lives when they are facing hardship and are vulnerable ... whether it is from old age, from natural disaster, from injury received in defense of their country, from unjust discrimination, or being born on the wrong side of the tracks. That is the ethic of the American sense of government, the American social contract.     

Health Care:  No, Governor, you're wrong.  We do not have the best health care system in the world.  Far from it.  Despite spending more money by far on health care per person than the rest of the world, the United States consistently scores near the bottom of the pack of industrialized countries on almost every measurable outcome of national health. That is why the board, that you are so fond of mentioning, was created.  While places like the Cleveland Clinic and several others have instituted practices that have delivered better health care at lower cost, the rest of the health care industry has not embraced those examples and so our costs keep rising while we have unsatisfactory health care outcomes. This is clearly confirmed in a recent report by the Institute of Medicine.  The board was created so that these excellent health care practices developed by private clinics would be mandated for the entire health care industry.  So that we can at the same time significantly lower costs while improving people's health.
Closing:  I have tried to be the President for all Americans.  Countless times during my first four years, I have reached across the aisle on all the major issues to try to work with Repulican legislators.  But in virtually each and every case, the Republicans just said, "no."  They have stated very bluntly, as did the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, that their sole goal was to see that I would be a one-term president.  Every decision they have made was to weaken me by weakening the country. During the Republican primary season and at the nominating convention, Governor Romney sounded like the most radical of the radical Tea Party Republicans.  He wrote off almost half of America's citizens, half of you. Tonight he tried to make you believe he is now once again the old caring Mitt Romney who was Governor of Massachusetts. I ask you ... who is he?  How will he really govern?