Some reader thoughts on the reaction to Obama's speech:
Noonan, Tomasky, and Brooks are pissing me off this morning. Obama’s faced with an opposition party that will retain enough power even if he wins to obstruct anything "transformative," and the national debt constrains our resources anyway. So he put forward the agenda of an Eisenhower Republican, or what you’d call a Tory: continue incremental revival of manufacturing and education, pursue energy independence with an eye on countering climate change, maintain our national security, and deal with the debt using a version of Simpson Bowles. The unspoken complement of this realistic agenda will be to continue rolling out affordable healthcare and financial industry reform through the executive branch, and to use the power of his personal and family examples to model how we can live as citizens of virtue.
The one thing I appreciated about Brooks today was his recognition that Obama is self-aware and sane compared to so many of the twisted souls in politics. Why does so much of the country fail to recognize how fortunate we are to have this guy leading us?
I wish that the pundits would watch these speeches with ordinary people. Last night I watched the speech with a gathering of about 50 people, from junior-high age to seniors. Everyone loved the speech. The most important thing for me from his speech was that he was challenging us to be grown ups and offering a vision of a people who are united and proud of the contributions they make to each other. Success is something to be celebrated and shared – not hoarded. We have been treated like children for decades now but especially during the Bush years. We were told that we would be kept safe, didn't need to sacrifice or join the effort. We should simply go shopping. The current Republican party is pushing a fairy tale agenda of pay as little as possible in taxes, invest nothing in the people and infrastructure, and live happily ever after.
Last night you heard a President tell a nation that they must be tough, work hard, and contribute to something greater than themselves. You heard a President tell us that our founding values and the sacrifices of generations demanded that we be good citizens. You heard a President express his love for his people regardless of party or ideology. As always he has been leading by example and he gave us some insight into the feelings and emotions and some of the actual people who deepen his commitment to and love for our country.
My middle son watched the speech with me and was cheering because he sees in our President a person who is a role model and that gives him hope. He signed up to phone bank. My oldest son texted me to say that the speech was incredible and that he was moved by the way that he brought us back to hope – a mature hope that is grounded in service to others. But the best endorsement of the speech I found on my Facebook newsfeed after. It was a post by a former student of mine who wrote that she has never been interested in politics or voting before but that after watching the speech she couldn't wait to vote and to do her part as a citizen. I got tears in my eyes when I read that.
And then there is his family. Well they are beautiful – not just physically but in the way they love and enjoy each other. Yes he has family values – the real values that are based in love and respect and self sacrifice. You can tell that he puts his family first. He challenged all of us to view our nation as family and to put it first before our own desires. That this message and example of adult love and responsibility is inspiring to so many of us gives me hope.