reaction: ‘a spirited defense of a progressive vision’

President Barack Obama reviews his fiscal policy speech with advisors in the Oval Office. Pictured, from left, are: Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling; Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew; and Director of Speechwriting Jon Favreau. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Steve Benen: …. As heartening as it was to hear President Obama’s full-throated condemnation of the House Republican budget plan – he didn’t pull any punches – what made his remarks this afternoon especially satisfying was his defense of the progressive vision.

…along the way, the president made a point of reminding his audience that government, the institutions of the modern welfare state, and the modern social compact are worthy of a spirited defense. Indeed, to hear Obama tell it, the progressive vision is the American vision.

See here for extract

There’s a word to summarize this approach to government. It’s called “liberalism.”

Jonathan Bernstein put it this way: “Liberals have wanted a full-throated affirmation of why government is a good thing? Obama delivered, with perhaps his strongest case for a liberal vision of government that he’s given so far during his presidency.”

The “sellout of the left” this wasn’t. What we saw today was an unapologetic defense of a progressive vision of government, cased in terms that were equal parts moral and pragmatic. America doesn’t hear it often enough, and Obama delivered it with passion and conviction today.

Read the full post here

Steve Benen: The President’s rousing rejection of Republican radicalism …. President Obama’s speech on the nation’s fiscal future was one of my favorites in a long while. It was exactly the sort of spirited defense of government and progressive values the nation desperately needed to hear right now.

…Last week, when the White House was criticized from the left for not having said more about the GOP vision, I wrote about my expectations for this week’s message: “I want to see a forceful, unapologetic response. I want a hearty defense of government. I want officials explaining why Paul Ryan’s plan is dangerous and ridiculous.”

This afternoon, in Obama’s address, I got all of those things …There were concerns among some of my fellow progressives going into this speech that the president may accept parts of the GOP plan or express some sympathies for the Republican vision. The opposite happened – this was a full-throated condemnation, not just of the radical Paul Ryan plan, but of the far-right goals it intends to pursue.

I know many hoped to hear this message from the White House last week, but from where I sat today, it was worth the wait.

Full post here

Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Obama made the moral case for what it means to be a democrat … For some time now, a bunch of us have been wondering when – or whether – Obama would step up and make a strong case for an expansive vision of Democratic governance … it’s fair to say Obama delivered.

Sure, the speech had flaws …but Obama did offer perhaps the most ambitious defense he may have ever attempted of American liberalism and of what it means to be a Democrat.

Crucially, right at the outset, Obama cast the battle with the GOP as one over whether we are going to maintain the social safety net and the national social contract as we’ve understood it for decades — and cast this question as central to our national identity. He used a key word — “commitments” — to describe Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance, insisting: “We would not be a great country without those commitments.” In other words, the social safety net and the liberal social contract are indispensable components of America’s greatness.

…We cannot know right now whether the steadfastness of Obama’s rhetoric in defending core liberal and Democratic ideals will be matched by equal resoluteness in practice when the battles heat up and the temptation to make deals and jettison core priorities intensifies. But Obama did tell us in clear and unequivocal moral terms what he thinks it means to be a Democrat, and those who have been waiting for him to do so should be quite satisfied by what they heard.

Full post here

22 Responses to “reaction: ‘a spirited defense of a progressive vision’”

  1. 1 CTGirl7
    April 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Pardon???? What does he mean by this:

    “For some time now, a bunch of us have been wondering when – or whether – Obama would step up and make a strong case for an expansive vision of Democratic governance … it’s fair to say Obama delivered.”

    This is not the first time President Obama has made “a strong case” for the Democrats. The problem is they want him to hold their hands and put words in their mouths… are these folks grown-ups or what? Please forgive the rant, but that is just annoying!

    • 2 LunarSea
      April 13, 2011 at 8:11 pm

      I was just coming to comment on that very thing:

      I’m like what’s the surprise here? This is the same thing they said after:
      The speech on Race;
      The State of the Union Address on ending DADT;
      When he spoke with the dems just before the HCR vote;
      The wall street speech;
      The Win the Future speech;
      The air strikes in Lybia;
      The tax deal;

      and many more. Each time I have heard him make the case for the ‘expansive vision’ and ‘what it means’ to be a Democrat.

      But this part of the article makes me think there is no hope for the PL:

      As I see it, he’s saying if the President tries to make deals it’s as good as jettisoning core priorities…again! We might as well brace ourselves for that outrage ’cause we just know this speech will be forgotten like all the other speeches in favor of more handwringing.

    • 3 LunarSea
      April 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      Somehow in botching the above post I also managed to leave out the part that makes me think there’s no hope for some:

      ‘We cannot know right now whether the steadfastness of Obama’s rhetoric in defending core liberal and Democratic ideals will be matched by equal resoluteness in practice when the battles heat up and the temptation to make deals and jettison core priorities intensifies.’

      (no more blockquotes for me!)

  2. 4 Me4obama
    April 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Am extremely proud to be an Obama Democrat.

  3. 6 Sue in Minnesota
    April 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    As am I……this was a brilliant effort by our President. I trust him completely, and support him fully. I will do everything I can to promote the truth, and encourage support for our remarkable President. America needs him more than she realizes…time to wake the people up! It’s time to unite.

  4. April 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Today’s was more than an excellent speech, it was an Obama Doctrine. Greg Sargent may have been unsure if the President would cave or not against heavy Republican resistance, but I’m not. I have trusted Barack Obama since I first caught sight of him, before he declared his candidacy for the presidency, and I have never been disabused of that trust.

    And, by the way, Mr. Sargent, that paragraph opener, “Sure, the speech had flaws … ” puzzles me. Where exactly were those “flaws” of which you write? Or was that a preemptive caveat to show you as exceptionally open-minded? This kind of let’s-look-at-both-sides weaseling aggravates me as much as some of the Right Wing and Tea Party frothing at the mouth. At least they can’t help themselves — their brains, you know, are a little lopsided. So if you, as a credible commentator, admired the speech, don’t be afraid to say it outright.

    • 8 hgerhard
      April 13, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      I am very proud of my President and I support him without reservation. Count me as one of his supporters who have never felt disappointed, have never doubted his ability to make the best out of the most difficult circumstances. Most importantly, I trust him absolutely. Whenever the pre-emptive whining on the left or the disingenuous fingerpointing on the right start up again, I simply tune out, certain in my knowledge that they will both be proven wrong in time.

  5. 9 barb
    April 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I stand proudly as a supporter of our President. He laid out a fantastic message of his plan for the future and I agree 100%. Now to get the word out to those who don’t watch his speech tonite and to pound my keyboard at the negative naysayers who lie or refuse to discuss the positive and realistic message that he has laid out.

    • 10 M
      April 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm

      Barb, While I listened to the speech today I kept thinking I wish EVERYONE was listening to this speech. I think there are so many people in this country who disalign themselves with the democratic party because they feel morally need to say they are republican due to one big issue…abortion. I just wish they would take the time to listen. I kept thinking that most reasonable people could only agree with what PBO had to say today. I was wondering how this important message can get out there to those who close themselves up from listening or even giving him a chance. I see you say above that you’ll pound your keyboard. Thank you for doing so. Little by little that pounding has to make a difference!

  6. April 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    As do I Barb. He is an amazing leader.

  7. 12 Theo67
    April 13, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Yes, I also questioned the negatives thrown into these critiques, but realized that these people who have been screeching for so long, just can’t bring themselves to just praise the speech or the man. They have to throw in some vague attacks, just to prove they haven’t been drinking the kool-aid.

    I think it was a resoundingly successful speech – no qualifiers. Absolutely brilliant, as expected. Many have said it on this blog and at BWD – anyone who’s been paying attention knew exactly what was coming today, and we recognize this amazing man as the one we’ve been supporting all along.

  8. 13 eVa
    April 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    The best part was at the end after POTUS left the stage, we see Paul Ryan practically sprint the hell out of there LOL! Must of realized he just got served big time! bwahahaha

  9. 14 anniebella
    April 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Today after listening to my President I felt like giving him a standing ovation. When he finish his speech I turn the tv, I didn’t listen to the cable chatter because I’m sick of them. As I’ve said so often, we have a dam good President and I am so proud of him.

    • 15 Sue in Minnesota
      April 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      I am quickly getting to the point where I don’t value much of anything that comes through our MSM. If people go right to the source, our President and his adminsistration, it quickly becomes clear that the MSM is working off an alternate script. I trust our President because I have witnessed and listened first hand….I have seen a consistency, honesty and integrity that is rare. And what I have witnessed has little resemblance to the portraits constantly being drawn and redrawn by our MSM.

  10. 16 anniebella
    April 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    By the way I made my first donation to Obama for America re-election campaign. I plan to send something else soon as I can. This is to important. We have the media going around trying to convince people that Trump is a serious canidate. America need President Obama for four more years. We have to do what we can to make sure that happens.

  11. 17 LunarSea
    April 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Oops Chipsticks, I think there is an unclosed blockquote on my post above but no way to edit it. I don’t know if it will affect the posts that follow. My bad.

  12. 18 LunarSea
    April 13, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I heard the republicans were mad hatters after the speech because they say President Obama invited them to sit up front just to humiliate them. Of course that’s not true but boy were they angry. I gotta wonder if they thought he would get up there, wave the white flag and praise Ryan for all his mathematical splendor?

    • 19 Sue in Minnesota
      April 14, 2011 at 1:02 am

      That’s ridiculous, wrong on so many levels, I have to laugh. Republicans can not be humiliated unless they consent to it, and if their budget plan could stand up to scrutiny, where’s the source for embarrassment? Thought they could bamboozle America,
      but the curtain just got pulled back on their con game. Sorry fools, you brought it on yourselves.

  13. 20 Sonjia Duncan
    April 14, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Today was a little too stressful for me. I could not watch tv not even cspan. The whole theme was anti President Obama. I tried to keep busy by reading different blogs and everyone was telling the President what he must say or do. I don’t remember in my lifetime hearing people telling the President of the United States what he should say or do. I didn’t vote for someone that I felt needed to be told what to do. I felt that he already knew what to do and would surround himself with those who would know. These television entertainers need to find some other occupation and leave the running of this country to President Obama.

  14. 21 anniebella
    April 14, 2011 at 4:01 am

    How do the Republicans feel it is right to try to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and middle class, but give more tax cuts to the rich. Where is the fairness there? Paul Ryan’s plan want to do away with Medicare, the Republicans ought to be embarres, not by anything the President said, but by what they want to do to the poor and the middle class. Someone need to remind them that Jesus Christ said to take care of the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the sick. I don’t recall him saying take care of the rich.

    • 22 Sue in Minnesota
      April 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

      In their world of delusion they see themselves as self-reliant and exceptional….they don’t recognize or acknowledge all the support systems and people that have helped them along the way. I read awhile back that Paul Ryan’s father passed away when he was still in high school. His college education was paid for in part by social security benefits he received. In life, we engage in an equation, a relationship between self and others. Both parts of the equation require our attention and our efforts, both are essential to our successes…….it’s a balancing act. No one, absolutely no one can extract themselves from that equation.

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