Speaking this afternoon at Lake Harriet Band Shell in Minneapolis, Minnesota with Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar in the house, in addition to Governor Mark Dayton, Congressman Keith Ellison and Mayor Betsy Hodges, President Obama let go of the tight constrictions of diplomacy and got real about the problems in DC: It’s Republicans and their failed trickle down fantasies. They just don’t get what people are going through.
“(S)o far this year, Republicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every single serious idea to strengthen the middle class,” President Obama told the crowd. Lest you think he’s exaggerating, he went through the list and it’s not pretty.
Read on via a White House transcript:
And sometimes I’m supposed to be politic about how I say things — (laughter) — but I’m finding lately that I just want to say what’s on my mind. (Applause.) So let me just be clear — I want you think about this — so far this year, Republicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every single serious idea to strengthen the middle class. You may think I’m exaggerating, but let me go through the list. They’ve said no to raising the minimum wage. They’ve said no to fair pay. Some of them have denied that there’s even a problem, despite the fact that women are getting paid 77 cents for every dollar a man is getting paid.
They’ve said no to extending unemployment insurance for more than three million Americans who are out there looking every single day for a new job, despite the fact that we know it would be good not just for those families who are working hard to try to get back on their feet, but for the economy as a whole. Rather than invest in working families getting ahead, they actually voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: Don’t boo, by the way. I want you to vote. (Laughter and applause.) I mean, over and over again, they show that they’ll do anything to keep in place systems that really help folks at the top but don’t help you. And they don’t seem to mind. And their obstruction is keeping a system that is rigged against families like Ben’s and Rebekah’s.
Now, I’m not saying these are all bad people; they’re not. When I’m sitting there just talking to them about family, we get along just fine. Many of them will acknowledge when I talk to them — yes, I know, I wish we could do something more, but I can’t — but they can’t be too friendly towards me because they’d be run out of town by the tea party. (Laughter.)
But sometimes I get a sense they just don’t know what most folks are going through. They keep on offering a theory of the economy that time and again failed for the middle class. They think we should give more tax breaks to those at the top. They think we should invest less in things like education. They think we should let big banks, and credit card companies, and polluters, and insurers do only whatever is best for their bottom line without any responsibility to anybody else. They want to drastically reduce or get rid of the safety net for people trying to work their way into the middle class.
And if we did all these things, they think the economy will thrive and jobs will prosper, and everything will trickle down.
And just because they believe it, it doesn’t mean the rest of us should be believing it — because we’ve tried what they’re peddling, and it doesn’t work. We know from our history that our economy does not grow from the top down, it grows from the middle out. We do better when the middle class does better. We do better when workers are getting a decent salary. We do better when they’ve got decent benefits. (Applause.) We do better when a young family knows that they can get ahead. And we do better when people who are working hard know that they can count on decent childcare at an affordable cost, and that if they get sick they’re not going to lose their homes.
Yesterday the bear was on the loose at an ice cream shop and today he’s getting real with the truth. Republicans are out of touch with what real people are going through. Indeed, it’s fair to say that most politicians are out of touch with what real people are going through. They believe that talking about the poor and middle class is simply something they have to do to get elected. That’s why it’s imperative for voters to look at a politician’s record.
For example, currently the Republican Speaker of the House is aiming to sue President Obama for taking action to help the workers and citizens of this country after Congress failed to act.
Republicans have rejected all jobs bills, instead clinging to the Keystone Pipeline as a “jobs bill” — when in fact it is just more corporate giveaways instead of an investment in this country. Look at their records to see if it matches with their rhetoric.
No matter the party, they should be for raising the minimum wage, be for extending unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed, for fair pay for women, not be cutting aid to children and the elderly in tough times, want to address climate change, not be advocating for more war when the VA is underfunded and they refuse to fund it, and in general should be putting people ahead of corporations. These used to be bipartisan ideas. If they are not anymore, Republicans need to admit that they are no longer for the working man and woman, against children and the elderly, against our veterans when they get home, and against reality regarding climate change.
President Obama is fired up and taking aim. Wise Republicans (?) would recall what happened to Obama’s past opponents before stepping in more mud. But we all know this GOP is not wise at all.
Image: White House photographer Pete Souza
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.