Obama's In

Senator Barack Obama officially announced today that he’s running for President. My favourite paras from his speech.

It was here, in Springfield, where I saw all that is America converge – farmers and teachers, businessmen and laborers, all of them with a story to tell, all of them seeking a seat at the table, all of them clamoring to be heard. I made lasting friendships here – friends that I see in the audience today.

It was here we learned to disagree without being disagreeable – that it’s possible to compromise so long as you know those principles that can never be compromised; and that so long as we’re willing to listen to each other, we can assume the best in people instead of the worst. …

Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. Let’s set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Let’s recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Let’s make college more affordable, and let’s invest in scientific research, and let’s lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America.

And as our economy changes, let’s be the generation that ensures our nation’s workers are sharing in our prosperity. Let’s protect the hard-earned benefits their companies have promised. Let’s make it possible for hardworking Americans to save for retirement. And let’s allow our unions and their organizers to lift up this country’s middle-class again.

Let’s be the generation that ends poverty in America. Every single person willing to work should be able to get job training that leads to a job, and earn a living wage that can pay the bills, and afford child care so their kids have a safe place to go when they work. Let’s do this.

Let’s be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis. We can control costs by focusing on prevention, by providing better treatment to the chronically ill, and using technology to cut the bureaucracy. Let’s be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president’s first term. …

I know there are those who don’t believe we can do all these things. I understand the skepticism. After all, every four years, candidates from both parties make similar promises, and I expect this year will be no different. All of us running for president will travel around the country offering ten-point plans and making grand speeches; all of us will trumpet those qualities we believe make us uniquely qualified to lead the country. But too many times, after the election is over, and the confetti is swept away, all those promises fade from memory, and the lobbyists and the special interests move in, and people turn away, disappointed as before, left to struggle on their own.

That is why this campaign can’t only be about me. It must be about us – it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the occasion, the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice – to push us forward when we’re doing right, and to let us know when we’re not. This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of citizenship, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.

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8 Responses to Obama's In

  1. Corin says:

    Andrew, are you going to assist his campaign at all? BTW, I am moving to Canberra next week, hopefully I can come to one of your public lectures at ANU.

    What seems interesting is that the two favoured candidates – McCain and Clinton – seem to be experiencing far more difficulty – esp. over Iraq – than I would have expected. Obama is an excellent chance to win some of the Democratic primaries as Clinton stalls with the faithful. Can he convince enough people he can win a long primary campaign?? Early signs are very encouraging ….

    I would suggest that the ‘stump’ speech and the TV debates will be key to Obama – as Clinton is not a great orator like her husband. By account Obama is great at this. It has some hallmarks of Kerry and Edward …. hopefully they will reverse the order this time in favour of the one who can campaign best.

  2. David Mathews says:

    Andrew, I’ve taken the liberty of establishing a blog on Barack’s site: “Australians Supporting Obama”. Hopefully we can generate a strong level of support in Australia for Barack’s campaign.


  3. Andrew Leigh says:

    Corin, I’d probably give him money if it wasn’t illegal for foreigners to donate. Similarly, I’d happily work for free on policy development for him, if it weren’t for the fact that he probably has half the academics and thinktankers in America now lining up at his door. Look forward to having you in Canberra, btw.

    David, nice initiative! Pity that his early announcement makes it virtually impossible that he’ll visit Australia between now and Nov ’08.

  4. Patrick says:

    Yawn. What’s so exciting about someone running for VP? Oh, you guys think he’s a presidential candidate!

  5. Claire says:

    I’d be voting for him if I could (may do anyway, since Texas seems to be particularly slack about voter registration). And he has one hell of a speech-writer.

  6. Sacha says:

    Just curious – what is it about Obama what inspires people? I havn’t been struck by it although I like his rhetoric about working across the aisle (which I would do or think is a positive way of working).

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  8. Leon says:

    Sacha –

    I think there’s a lot about him that’s inspiring. Obama is charismatic, exudes optimism, is young, seems untainted by Washington culture and therefore has a distance from recent high profile scandals, has attempted bipartisanship, and doesn’t have the impression that he’s desparately trying to shake an ice queen image. Also, he’s an evangelican Christian family man and Harvard alumnus.

    You could be more critical and say that he bandies about words like “hope” and “opportunity” in his bestselling books, but I think I’m too much of a fan to concede that.

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