Yesterday, I looked at the 10 Dumbest Republican Quotes of 2012. Today I am taking a look at the smartest Democratic quotes for the same year. It is pretty obvious that the Democrats were as good as saying smart things as the Republicans were saying dumb things. The list is big, and it isn’t easy to pare it down to just ten. But I’ll have a go at it nevertheless.
Without doubt, the Democratic National Convention is a goldmine of brilliant utterances. President Obama was at the top of his game and it is no wonder that it is the president who dominates my list. Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry, and Elizabeth Warren also all make the cut. But Frankly, even a Top 20 list would not be long enough to include every worthy quote from the DNC alone.
As I noted yesterday, the best Romney could find to say about Michigan was that he liked its trees because they’re the “right height,” whatever that means. But the Democrats had an answer to his vapid observation: Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan said at the DNC,
“Sure, Mitt Romney loves our lakes and trees. He loves our cars so much, they have their own elevator. But the people who design, build, and sell those cars? Well, in Romney’s world, the cars get the elevator; the workers get the shaft.” – September, 2012.
So without further ado, here is my Top 10 Smartest Democratic Quotes of 2012:
10. Michelle Obama: “I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are.” – September, 2012.
9. Barack Obama: “You didn’t build that.” – July, 2012.
A little explanation is in order. Some would see this quote from President Obama as a Republican victory. Republicans certainly want you to believe that. But Democrats knew what President Obama was saying; they knew what he meant; they knew that it uncovered a basic truth about America and Americans:
“There are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.”
7. Barack Obama: “All they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years: Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!” – September, 2012
6. Barack Obama: “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.” – October, 2012
5. Joe Biden: “That’s a bunch of malarkey.” – October, 2012
This is another one of those comments that requires some explanation, a classic sound bite in need of context:
RADDATZ: … Governor Romney, and you’re talking about this again tonight, talked about the weakness; talked about apologies from the Obama administration. Was that really appropriate right in the middle of the crisis?
RYAN: On that same day, the Obama administration had the exact same position. Let’s recall that they disavowed their own statement that they had put out earlier in the day in Cairo. So we had the same position, but we will — it’s never too early to speak out for our values.
We should have spoken out right away when the green revolution was up and starting; when the mullahs in Iran were attacking their people. We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer when he was turning his Russian-provided guns on his own people. We should always stand up for peace, for democracy, for individual rights.
And we should not be imposing these devastating defense cuts, because what that does when we equivocate on our values, when we show that we’re cutting down on defense, it makes us more weak. It projects weakness. And when we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to test us. They’re more brazen in their attacks, and are allies are less willing to…
BIDEN: With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey.
4. Joe Biden: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”
If anything encapsulates Obama’s first term, it is these ten words: short and to the point.
3. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): “Republicans say they don’t believe in government. Sure they do. They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends. After all, Mitt Romney’s the guy who said corporations are people.
“No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people. And that’s why we need Barack Obama.” – September, 2012
Elizabeth Warren’s words give me Goosebumps three months later. This would have been number 2 if not for President Obama’s brilliant stroke that turned Romney’s trap on himself and obliterated his hopes in front of 70 million Americans. Which brings us to number 2.
2. Barack Obama: “Please proceed, Governor.” – October, 2012
Now to look at this, without any context at all, you’d just shrug. But this was perhaps President Obama’s most brilliant stroke in all of 2012. As Jon Stewart put it, Romney thought he was about to trap Obama, but, ”When you’re feel you’re about to spring what you, Governor Romney, think is the checkmate moment of the debate, and your debate opponent says to you, ‘Please, proceed,’ ‘Hold on, are you trying to open that door? Let me open it wider. The door you appear to want to walk through.
“You might want wonder if, a la Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, that door your opponent your door is pointing to is merely paint on a rock.”
1. John Kerry (D-MA): “Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.” – September, 2012.
Barack Obama: “You get nothing.” – December, 2012.
We can’t watch President Obama say this to John Boehner during their fiscal cliff negotiations. We have only The Wall Street Journal assurances that the conversation even took place. Republicans have made of it a rallying cry but Democrats hear it and cheer as the President goes once more into the breach on their behalf. Even if apocryphal, it is powerful and so deserving of mention. This is how it went down according to the Wall Street Journal (Via Political Wire):
“Mr. Obama repeatedly lost patience with the speaker as negotiations faltered. In an Oval Office meeting last week, he told Mr. Boehner that if the sides didn’t reach agreement, he would use his inaugural address and his State of the Union speech to tell the country the Republicans were at fault.”
At one point, Boehner told the president, “I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?”
Replied Obama: “You get nothing. I get that for free.”
The best part is, if, as I said yesterday, we have to endure another year of utterly crude and intellectually vapid Republican comments, you can be sure that the Democrats will be ready and willing to help them put their heads up their own asses. As the saying goes, behind every red cloud is a blue lining….
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.