President Obama made an uncharacteristic move as he went after Trump and Republicans in their praise of an economy his policies ultimately enabled. But there is so much more to his message.
President Obama knocks Trump on economic recovery
The former President first reminded the audience of the economy handed to him by his predecessor.
“But when I came into office in 2009, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. 800,000.,” President Obama said. “Millions of people were losing their homes. Many were worried we were entering into a second great depression. So we worked hard to end that crisis but also to break some of these longer-term trends.”
President Obama then enumerated a few of his economic successes.
“The actions we took during that crisis returned the economy to healthy growth and initiated the longest streak of job creation on record,” Obama said. “And we covered another 20 million Americans with health insurance and cut our deficits by more than half, partly by making sure that people like me who have been given such amazing opportunities by this country pay our fair share of taxes to help folks coming up behind me.”
He then specified the state in which he left the economy.
“And by the time I left office, household income was near its all-time high, and the uninsured rate hit an all-time low, ” the President pointed out. “Poverty rates were falling.”
And then Obama went for Trump and the Republicans for their hypocrisy, intransigence, and dereliction of duty.
“I mention this just so when you hear how great the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,” the former President said. “I’m glad it’s continued, but when you hear about this economic miracle that’s been going on, when the job numbers come out, monthly job numbers and suddenly Republicans are saying it’s a miracle, I have to kind of remind them. Actually, those job numbers are the same as they were in 2015 and 2016 and — anyway. I digress. So we made progress, but — and this is the truth — my administration couldn’t reverse 40-year trends in only eight especially once Republicans took over the house of representatives in 2010 and decided to block everything we did. Even things they used to support.”
President Obama is absolutely correct. The decline of America is a 40-year process of trickle-down economics, an extraction of capital from the masses to a few by the American Plutocracy. While Obama was good-intentioned, the presidency and the system is bigger than any president irrespective of their level of benevolence.
The type of change we need in America requires a Progressive movement bigger than we currently have though what we have now is a good start. But we must grow our base to include many we would normally think we cannot work politically as I mentioned in an earlier post.
It takes a lot of work and time, many times one on one, to change minds or at least to have many on the Right consider some Progressive policies. If we are to have real policy change in this country, just winning the election with 50%+1 isn’t enough. It will take the hard work of everyone. It is essential that we engage with everybody, whether Liberal, Progressive, Conservative, Right Wing, or TEA Party. …
Contrary to popular belief, a large percentage of Trumpists and Right Wingers are reachable. It is all about engaging them, getting down to their level. Some are unwilling to do that work, and that is fine. However, discouraging and disparaging this type of engagement because of misinterpreted research loses us a huge opportunity especially in these time.
Later in the speech, it was wonderful listening to the former president taking a very Progressive stance in his narrative. It is one that will awaken many who for some time thought of Democrats as folks pushing Republican Lite policies that did little for them. Many who otherwise would not vote, will if Progressives and Democrats continue to push the message that speaks to their wants and needs.
Watch the full speech and read transcript here.