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Intro: "Most Presidential speeches don't mean much. Tuesday in Osawatomie was different..."

President Obama speaking in Osawatomie, Kansas, 12/06/11. (photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images)
President Obama speaking in Osawatomie, Kansas, 12/06/11. (photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images)

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+23 # bugbuster 2011-12-08 17:15
MGIL_WEIN is probably right about the difficulty of head-on approaches to income disparity. Progressive taxation is a start. What about the unions? Since Reagan busted PATCO, the govt has been no friend of unions. That has to change. In my lifetime I hope to see the far right sent back down through the manhole covers they slithered out of behind Reagan and Gingrich.
+10 # fettenberg 2011-12-08 17:20
it's now the 2nd term's election year, so why not give the liberals what they loved hearing during the first term's campaign. just last week, the was an essay online detailing 20 major ways that O'd made us less free. He's one sneaky and loose-backed politician who'll say a lot of contradictory things so long as they satisfy the full spectrum of his constituency. Dont forget: he's actually continued many warlike and deceptive and repressive practices started by GW Bush. This speech is a non-sequitur when you look at that blighted record.
+13 # 2011-12-08 17:32
same old same old rhetoric.
+32 # Gizmo 2011-12-08 17:46
When Obama fires Tim Geithner, I'll start paying attention to his words. Until then, it's just more of the same hot air we heard during his campaign for the Presidency.
+13 # Vern Radul 2011-12-08 18:25
He can't really fire his employer.

When he quits working for him you mean, I think, yes?
+11 # RLF 2011-12-08 19:46
And Holder...the holder of Wall St.s hand!
+4 # phantomww 2011-12-08 21:39
Just a nice speech. He rips Wall Street but he has received more donations from Wall Street than all 8 of the Republican canidates combined. His top donor in 2008 was Goldman Sachs. He is in bed with Wall St and is using OWs as the "useful idiots". All talk, with hopey changy. How about Glass Stegal? Nice to see all the lemmings lining up after a nice speech. "please sir, can I have more"
said little Oliver Twist
+14 # m... 2011-12-08 18:15
Tell me why I should believe that this was anything more than a self serving campaign speech..?
Show we even an instance of 'OBAM THE LEADER' over these past years of the Obama 'Change We Can All Believe In' Presidency.
He cannot even lead his own Party and they're just as Corporate Run as he seems to have been.

I HOPE it signals a REAL change We can All Believe In.

I BELIEVE its just populist campaign fluff.
+22 # giraffee2012 2011-12-08 18:21
No matter what the President has said in the past - if he caves in in the next year - even he knows he won't win a 2nd term.

He has too many clues from the 99ers and the un and under employed to ignore the job he has to do. He cannot just talk and cave again.

The GOP/TP are putting on quite a show with their "debates" and if Newt gets the nomination - he cannot hide his temper and will be his worst enemy (we really don't change even if we are "born again")

AS for those who live in states where the GOP are making it near impossible for a Dem to vote -- I have a dream (no that line was taken)--- but I have an idea. Register as a Republican! You won't get to vote in the primary but you don't care because as a Dem you wouldn't vote for a GOP in the primary anyway. Then you can get registered because they AIN'T going to turn down a new GOP registration. If President Obama is not on your ballot - write him in.

JUST don't pay huge amounts of money to vote -- it is your right and keep calling your rep/senator and any Congress person who will listen that "it is your write"

VOTE in 2012 - the most important election to date.
+1 # X Dane 2011-12-08 20:51
Thank you for staying positive giraffe.
It sure isn't easy, when most are so angry. They forgot what Obama has been up against from the very first day.
+7 # diacad 2011-12-08 18:51
Obama is a day late and a dollar short. No, that's wrong- the Obama campaign has plenty of money. Where is it all coming from? Those who trusted him last time, ordinary American working people, certainly can't afford to fund him again, even if they were in a mood to do so. Somebody upstairs likes him.

Obama uttered all the essential elements in this so-called "turning-point" speech even before he was elected. He had a mandate to act on them after taking office, and a Congress under Democratic control. He chose to be "bipartisan" when it wasn't necessary, and frittered away any chance to prove that his pre-election posture had any reality to it.

Now the Republicans are in a position to block much of his renewed verbal commitments, which will fit into his finger-pointing tactic for the election next fall. Since the Democrats have not offered any viable alternatives in the upcoming primaries, we have no real choice but to hope again and vote again.

Mere hope is getting tiresome. My recommendation to progressives is to hold your nose and vote for the Big Zero again, and meanwhile build a strong Progressive Party movement so we are not behind the 8-ball forever. We need a third dimension in American electoral politics; we needed it yesterday. It will take time; it has already started on a state level in several places. The Vermont Progressive Party has already elected many local and state officials. It can be done!
+1 # X Dane 2011-12-08 20:39
diacad in your righteous anger you are UNFAIR. For if you rememeber. the tone in Washinton was ugly, and one PROMISE Obama made, was to change the tone. He DID try...and if he had NOT, he would have got hell as he is now... for trying.
He also,... as promised,.. tried to be bipartisan. Again no luck.

You cannot blame a person for TRYING to keep a promise. Unfortunately the tone in DC has become even uglier.
-2 # Todd Williams 2011-12-09 09:44
Right on X Dane.
+4 # angryspittle 2011-12-08 18:54

He talks the talk.

But he is a paraplegic.

Fool me once, your fault.
+9 # Okieangels 2011-12-08 19:09
I figured as soon as the 2012 campaign season was underway, Obama would turn populist and progressive. Lo, and behold!
-7 # Todd Williams 2011-12-09 09:45
He's always been Populist and Progressive. IOpen your eyes.
+3 # nice2blucky 2011-12-10 05:31
You are confusing words with deeds.

I see you.
-1 # X Dane 2011-12-10 15:07
Tod I agree with you most of the time.
but Fareed Zakaria did an interview with Obama, moths before the election and he said categorically, that Obama was definitely not a socialist. "He is a PRAGMATIST".

I think that is what he has been all the time. Trying to get the besr out of a ROTTEN situation
0 # X Dane 2011-12-08 19:10
I will readily admit that I am a believer in the president. Anybody who runs for president has a B I G EGO, and Obama does too. He thought that because of his mental powers he could accomplish, what he promised. One big promise was to improve the tone in Washington.
He reached out to republicans right away. They were invited to,.... I think The Super Bowl at the White House.

Unfortunately he overestimated his persuasive powers, and monumentally underestimated the hate of the republicans. They could not wait to kick him out of there. Their minds were made up before he EVER sat foot in the Oval Office.
The incredible hardship so many of our fellow citizes suffer because of illness and the high cost of healtcare, convinced him that he should tackle it first. As promised.
He rightly concluded, that it would not be possible to do it in the last part of his term.
Unfortunately the job situation is so MUCH WORSE than he and his advisors expected. I do think it shocked all of us, that people did NOT get back to work.
Trying to achieve bipartisanship, made him give in, where many of us did not want him to. But I do believe he wants to accomplish what most of us would like, and the Kansas speech HAS to be a BLUEPRINT for his second term.
-2 # RLF 2011-12-08 19:49
He couldn't even marshal the Democraps!
+1 # noitall 2011-12-10 02:22
In fairness to Obama, marshalling the "Democraps" is like herding cats. The Republiholes are locked in gooose-step precision behind what ever dumb assed self-serving, greedy idea they propose but the Dems are all independent thinkers. SOme are down-right turncoats but that's democracy, no? The Republichumps are functioning like a fascist dictatorship. Unfortunately (fortunately), their leader isn't totally in lock step with them, although his disfunctional efforts toward bipartisanship gets tiresome.
+10 # HerbR 2011-12-08 19:16
Yes, and now it's up to us citizens to turn that speech into the marrow of a political movement to which there is only token resistance, so let's get to that. We got the word, now let's act accordin'.
0 # alanterentiv 2011-12-08 19:17
I'm betting it's hot air.
+1 # John Gill 2011-12-08 19:25
I was really shocked yesterday by the number of comments to R. Reich's article singing the praises of Obama's speech. After all this time, and so many disappointments , it seemed weird to me that a majority of commenters were ready to believe Obama all over again, as if there is any evident relationship between that man's promises offered in that golden warble, those dulcet tones, and what he actually does. I voted for him in 2008, and in the words of another guy you know you can trust: "Fool me once...fool me...shame on you...fool me...can't fool me again"....well something like that anyway.
-1 # RLF 2011-12-08 19:49
think maybe they are campaign workers getting paid to answer?
0 # DurangoKid 2011-12-08 19:29
From now until the election, Obama will be Obama the candidate we elected and then once again revert to Obama the president. No president can join a class war against the 1%. He cannot even remain neutral. If he tries ignore the 1% in favor of the 99%, he will be thwarted one way or another.
+4 # RLF 2011-12-08 19:50
Especially if you have no cajones!
-2 # John Gill 2011-12-08 20:06
Agreed. That is because they are in the pocket of the 1% before they ever set foot in that oval office. I have become convinced, (mostly thanks to Mr. Obama's behavior in office,) that until enough American citizens decide to withhold their votes from the two-headed, (Republican/Dem ocrat,) snake that is the corporate oligarchy, and cast their lot with a viable third party candidate, (Yes, win or lose.) that the will of the 99% will continue to be ignored in favor of the 1%. The game is rigged. I hear a lot of people saying it's better to vote for the lesser evil than to split the vote with a third party candidate. I used to believe that too, but no longer.
+2 # jon 2011-12-08 22:03
To throw away an election with a futile gesture is to invite an absolute fascistic rule - with an internment Camp Reagan.

The only way we stand a chance is to get a rock-solid Democratic majority in Congress and the White House.

THEN, maybe we can get the money out of elections and restore the Reagan destroyed fairness in broadcasting act.

Until those two things happen, there will be NO level playing field.
+3 # Michael_K 2011-12-08 20:04
"This time around, Obama seems to be taking as his model Bill Clinton, one of whose slogans in 1992 was ‘The Forgotten Middle Class”

Remember that Bill Clinton initiated most of the grotesquely treasonous policies that annihilated our rights (wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, etc.) and sabotaged our economy (NAFTA, a dozen predatory trade agreements, etc.) and is only saved from the distinction of being our worst president ever, by the fact that Baby Bush and O'Bama succeeded him and made a great effort to actually be worse.
+1 # Dale 2011-12-09 08:08
We heard Obama´s campaign rhetoric and many were taken in, then we see the nice words betrayed by Dirty Deeds. Obama is a slick servant of the Plutocrats and Corporate War Lords. It wont be any different if he is reelected. I hope that there will be NO choice on the ballet for President.
+1 # tenayaca 2011-12-09 09:50
Should we have HOPE for CHANGE again? Or is this another Obama campaign ploy? Maybe his support for the Sanders' Amendment to Save Democracy would help us believe he's turned a corner and understands who ELECTED HIM!!
+2 # tenayaca 2011-12-09 09:53
Oh, side note on whose ideas these are. HUEY LONG. Reading his bio (by T. Harry Williams, I think) and his "SHARE THE WEALTH" campaign was one of the main motivators for FDR to turn progressive, which he was not when he was elected.
+2 # RMDC 2011-12-09 10:14
The Kool Aid drinkers are out in full force in the "liberal" media. The comment above about believing Obama when he fires Tim Geithner is right on the mark. There's another dozen bankers and corporate CEO's that comprise Obama's economic team. When they go, it will be time to break out the Kool Aid. But until then, let's stick to the hard stuff.
0 # reiverpacific 2011-12-09 10:37
I like to think that this is a good man who has had nothing but an obstructionist opposition determined to block his every attempt at progressive legislation hoping to get him discredited and out of office, racist tactics and all.
I HOPE that he has been just letting them hang themselves and each other, which they seem to be doing quite a good job of currently.
What I'd really like to see and hear is his SINCERE disavowal of "Clean Coal", "Safe Nuclear" in favor of support and funding alternative energy, linked with a modern revamp of the nation's infrastructure (thereby creating millions of jobs AND opportunity) funded by diminishing the military (and making police part of community), taxing the monopolistic wealthy, and REALLY reform health care with single-payer.
Also stop saber-ratting at Iran (which I believe will eventually implode at the hands of it's youth), over the Pacific at China and at other Middle Eastern nations, address human-rights abuses at home before slapping other nations on the wrist starting with freeing Leonard Peltier and many other political prisoners!
-And do something about the current corruption in the Supreme Judiciary.
If he and his party get another super-majority I hope that they use it this time to the benefit of the submerged masses whom they claim to represent.
We'll see -action to follow words -much yet to be addressed and it's all related and linked to progressivism vs, medievalism
0 # Todd Williams 2011-12-09 11:00
I just love the phoney, turncoat liberals on this site. What's wrong folks? It's either your way or the highway? Well I for one am a longtime Democrat who believes in Obama and hates what the Rethug Party has come to represent. If y'all don't like that, then by all means bring on the negative red votes. The more I get, the more I know I am right on this!
+2 # RMDC 2011-12-09 12:41
Todd Williams -- maybe there was a time back in the days when FDR was alive when republicans and democrats were different in principle and in practice. Those were the days when labor unions actually had some political power.

But now both parties have been totally captured by the same corporate and wall street billionaires. Both Obama and the rethug candidates are taking orders from the same people. There's only a change in appearance. It is true that Obama is a much better looking, speaking, acting, thinking person than any rethug. But that is not enough. When it comes to government policy, he is just the same.

Just think -- It is Obama who has two major "contra" wars going in Syria and Libya. He is ginning up a war against Iran that has all the same qualities as Bush's illegal attack on Iraq. Obama is destroying social security by undermining its funding base. No rethug could be doing worse.

Obama is a demthug.
-2 # Todd Williams 2011-12-09 14:01
I completely disagree with you, RMDC. This kind of reasoning will surely hand the Rethugs the Presidency. Do you or do you not want a Rethug as President? I am not in agreement with Obama over everything, but surely he can lead us, with the help of a solid Dem controlled Congress, back to some level of American greatness. If I didn't believe that, I would be looking at another country in which to live.
+2 # RMDC 2011-12-09 18:52
Todd Williams -- I sort of expect that the Rethugs are doing now what they did in 1996 -- put up a total loser of a candidate so that the democrat that the rethug insiders really want can return to office. They have to run someone but winning would lose the best president they ever had. This is what happened with Clinton and it is happening to Obama. After all Obama's administration is fulled with ex-Clintonites.

Yes, I would want a Rethug in the whore house in Jan 2013, even though I would not piss on a rethug if he were on fire. If a Rethug tried to do the things Obama is doing there would be a revolution in the US. Only Obama can defund and bankrupt social security. Only Obama could have begun a full scale military conquest of Africa. Only Obama and completely hand the US economy to investment banks and not get any criticism from liberals and progressives. At least a rethug will wake a lot of americans up from their deep democratic sleep.
+2 # Todd Williams 2011-12-09 14:04
I just can't believe the phoney libs on this site. I though there would be more Progressives here considering the content of the articles. I can't believe how many of you have abandoned the Democratic Party just when it needs you. Some of you really ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
0 # josephhill 2011-12-09 18:23
Todd Williams:
I don't know how you define "progressive" or "liberal", but Obama is neither. I'm a socialist; so I'm more disgusted with this jerk Obama than most.

Anybody who votes for a Democratic Party presidential nominee must be a glutton for disappointment. The Dem Party counts on the votes of all the chumps, since that Party subscribes to the view that they can continue to feed at the corporate trough as long as their guy/gal is perceived to be LESS Evil than whatever fascist the Republicans offer up as a nominee!

Neither of the "two" parties deserves my vote; but I consider voting to be a sacred duty of EVERY eligible citizen.

I refuse to vote for someone who doesn't represent the values that I hold dear. I will continue to vote ONLY for candidates whose character and platform seem best for the People. I've voted for Nader, McKinney, and other GREEN Party candidates for years; and I expect to do it again this year....unless, by some miracle, the Dems throw out this pseudo-Democrat and nominate someone like Kucinich who is both honest AND principled.

Voting for Dems like Obama encourages that benighted Party to keep nominating cowards and corporatists. As far as I'm concerned, the "NEW" Democratic Party can go the way of the old Whig Party that became irrelevant 150+ years ago...AFTER the THEN "THIRD-PARTY" Republicans abandoned it.
+2 # josephhill 2011-12-09 18:35
Doesn't anybody else think it strange that "OUR" so-called democracy offers only "TWO" viable but mediocre options to choose between?! It's not because EITHER of these parties is resoundingly popular. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans is apt to win any popularity contests. I'm hopeful that, now that OWS has energized the 99%, we might be seeing a complete political re-alignment.

Let's hope...but let's NOT pin our hopes on either of these "two" right-of-center parties. We deserve better...MUCH better!
+1 # josephhill 2011-12-09 18:40
"If I didn't believe that, I would be looking at another country in which to live."


Such a drastic move seems awfully inconvenient, especially when it's so much easier to switch to a 3rd-party that won't treat voters as chumps.
+3 # noitall 2011-12-10 02:29
Todd, you might be playing an important role in continuing the castration of the Democratic Party. They are Republican-lite . Neither party represents this 99%. They pay attention occasionally to get the votes but they flop back into the step afterwords. Its the money. It costs a gruntload to get into office and they aren't kidding themselves about that reality. Publically funded elections might put the blush back into the Dems cheeks but right now, their as pale as those old Republicants. They toe the line in order to get the geedas to stay in office so that they can "continue to do the good work". Only thing is they don't have the time.
+1 # leonardthefast 2011-12-09 15:51
I was a loyal supporter of Obama and voted for him in 2008. I was surprised and disturbed by two actions of his in the summer of 2008: 1) His vote in support of the telecom immunity bill and 2) his support of the original absurd and vulgar bailout. Both actions were obviously contrary to his previously stated campaign goals.

My speculation: ALL candidates for the presidency who are front-runners are at some point prior to the election invited to a secure location
and shown the professionally produced films, from all angles, of the assassination of JFK, and told that the same will happen to them AND their families should they be elected president and NOT do what they are told to do by those who actually run this country and make ALL the MAJOR decisions.
+2 # josephhill 2011-12-09 18:49
Hey, Leonardthefast. ..let's not forget his votes for the "PATRIOT ACT" and his continuation of at least 2 wars, his caving in on Healthcare, his backing off from the vitally important Climate Change movement.

Where are Harry Truman and LBJ when we need them. Both had flaws and missteps; but at least we knew they had the guts to LEAD and to stand up for The People.
+2 # giraffee2012 2011-12-09 19:49
Please sign the amendment to remove the "person hood" decision and money from our politics.

Call your Congress people - tell them if they don't support this amendment - you will not vote for them.

Never ever vote for anyone who is supported by Koch Bro, Rove, (you can tell by the negative ads only because the 2010 Supreme decision allows unlimited money with no disclosure of who is behind the money.

Get registered early + mail-in ballots. And get those in Dem districts (especially minorities, old, students, etc) registered. Stand up to the governors who are requiring unreasonable standards to get an ID. If you are a U.S. Citizen - and not a felon - you have a RIGHT to vote (FREE of charge)
0 # dandevries 2011-12-10 19:41
"all the issues that Occupy Wall Street has been banging on about for months"

All (nearly) three of them, months that is. cf. Allen G. in Wichita Vortex Sutra: "Yesterday's headlines are amnesia.

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