Barack Obama: "Don't Get Cynical, Get Hopey"
Today, Obama did more of what he has been born to do: preach from a teleprompter, this time at the Paramount Theater in Austin. Here are the choice excerpts from the speech transcript. They hardly need commentary:
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Sometimes people say thank you for something I've done or a position I've taken, and some people say, "You're an idiot." (Laughter.) And that's how I know that I'm getting a good representative sampling because -- (laughter) -- half the letters are less than impressed with me.
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The crisis in 2008 hurt us all badly -- worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. But you think about the progress we've made. Today, our businesses have added nearly 10 million new jobs over the past 52 months. (Applause.) Our housing is rebounding. Our auto industry is booming. Manufacturing is adding more jobs than any time since the 1990s. The unemployment rate is the lowest point it's been since September of 2008. (Applause.) ... some of it had to do with decisions we made to build our economy on a new foundation. And those decisions are paying off. We're more energy independent. For the first time in nearly 20 years, we produce more oil here at home than we buy from abroad. (Applause.) The world's largest oil and gas producer isn't Russia; it's not Saudi Arabia -- it's the United States of America. (Applause.)
In education, our high school graduation rate is at a record high; the Latino dropout rate has been cut in half since 2000. (Applause.) More young people are graduating from college than ever before.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Si se puede!
OBAMA: Si se puede. (Laughter.)
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So when folks say they're frustrated with Congress, let's be clear about what the problem is. (Applause.) I'm just telling the truth now. I don't have to run for office again, so I can just let her rip. (Applause.) And I want to assure you, I'm really not that partisan of a guy. My favorite President is the first Republican President, a guy named Abraham Lincoln. You look at our history, and we had great Republican Presidents who -- like Teddy Roosevelt started the National Park System, and Dwight Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System, and Richard Nixon started the EPA.
The statement I'm making is not a partisan statement, it is a statement of fact. (Applause.) So far this year, Republicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every serious idea to strengthen the middle class. They have said no --
OBAMA: Don't boo now, because what I want you to do is vote. (Applause.)
They've said no to raising the minimum wage. They've said no to fair pay. They said no to unemployment insurance for hardworking folks like Kinsey's parents who have paid taxes all their lives and never depended on anything and just needed a little help to get over a hump. They said no to fixing our broken immigration system that we know would strengthen our borders and our businesses and help families. (Applause.)
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And what it does, is it just feeds people's cynicism about Washington. It just makes people think, well, nothing can happen, and people start feeling hopeless. And we have to understand, in the face of all evidence to the contrary in Washington, we can do better than we're doing right now. (Applause.) We can do better than what we're doing right now.
We know from our history, our economy does not grow from the top down, it grows from the middle up. It grows from a rising, thriving middle class. It grows when we got ladders of opportunity for everybody, and every young person in America is feeling hopeful and has a chance to do what they can with the God-given talents that they have. That's what we're fighting for. That is what you should be fighting for. (Applause.)
And that's the reason -- that's the reason why my administration has taken more than 40 different actions just this year to help working Americans -- because Congress won't.
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As long as Congress will not increase wages for workers, I will go and talk to every business in America if I have to. (Applause.) There's no denying a simple truth: America deserves a raise, and if you work full-time in this country, you shouldn't live in poverty. That's something that we all believe. (Applause.)
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Now, here's where it gets interesting. There are a number of Republicans, including a number in the Texas delegation, who are mad at me for taking these actions. They actually plan to sue me. (Laughter.) Now, I don't know which things they find most offensive -- me helping to create jobs, or me raising wages, or me easing the student loan burdens, or me making sure women can find out whether they're getting paid the same as men for doing the same job. I don't know which of these actions really bug them. (Laughter.)
The truth is, even with all the actions I've taken this year, I'm issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years. So it's not clear how it is that Republicans didn't seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did. (Applause.) Maybe it's just me they don't like. I don't know. Maybe there's some principle out there that I haven't discerned, that I haven't figure out. (Laughter.) You hear some of them -- "sue him," "impeach him." Really? (Laughter.) Really? For what? (Applause.) You're going to sue me for doing my job? Okay. (Applause.)
I mean, think about that. You're going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job -- (laughter) -- while you don't do your job. (Applause.)
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So rather than wage another political stunt that wastes time, wastes taxpayers' money, I've got a better idea: Do something. (Applause.) If you're mad at me for helping people on my own, let's team up. Let's pass some bills. Let's help America together. (Applause.)
It is lonely, me just doing stuff. I'd love if the Republicans did stuff, too. (Laughter.) On immigration issues, we've got -- and to their credit, there are some Republicans in the Senate who actually worked with Democrats, passed a bill, would strengthen the borders, would help make the system more fair and more just. But the House Republicans, they haven't even called the bill. They won't even take a vote on the bill. They don't have enough energy or organization or I don't know what to just even vote no on the bill. (Laughter.) And then they're made at me for trying to do some things to make the immigration system work better. So it doesn't make sense.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
OBAMA: I'm sorry, what are you yelling about now? Sit down, guys. I'm almost done. Come on, sit down. I'll talk to you afterwards, I promise. I'll bring you back. I'm wrapping things up here.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
OBAMA: I understand. See, everybody is going to start -- I'm on your side, man. Sit down, guys, we'll talk about it later, I promise.
So, look, here's what we could do. We could do so much more -- you don't have to escort them out. They'll sit down. I promise, I'll talk to you afterwards.
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Let's rally around a patriotism that says we're stronger as a nation when we cultivate the ingenuity and talent of every American, and give every 4-year-old in America access to high-quality education -- good-quality preschool. (Applause.) Let's redesign our high schools to make them more relevant to the 21st century economy. Let's make college more affordable. Let's make sure every worker, if you lose your job, you can get a good job training that gives you an even better job. (Applause.)
Let's embrace the patriotism that says it's a good thing when our fellow citizens have health care. It's not a bad thing. (Applause.) That's not a bad thing. It's a good thing when women earn what men do for the same work. That's an all-American principle. (Applause.) Everybody has got a mom out there or a wife out there or a daughter out there. They don't want them to not get treated fairly. Why would you be against that?
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There are plenty of people who count on you getting cynical and count on you not getting involved so that you don't vote, so you give up. And you can't give into that. America is making progress, despite what the cynics say. (Applause.) Despite unyielding opposition and a Congress that can't seem to do anything, there are workers with jobs who didn't have them before; there are families with health insurance who didn't have them before; there are students in college who couldn't afford it before; there are troops who served tour after tour who are home with their families today. (Applause.)
Cynicism is popular. Cynicism is popular these days. It's what passes off as wisdom. But cynics didn't put a man on the moon. Cynics never won a war. Cynics didn't cure a disease, or start a business, or feed a young mind. Cynicism didn't bring about the right for women to vote, or the right for African Americans to be full citizens. Cynicism is a choice.
Hope is a better choice. Hope is what gave young soldiers the courage to storm a beach. Hope is what gave young people the strength to march for women's rights and civil rights and voting rights and gay rights and immigrant rights. (Applause.)
Hope is what compelled Kinsey to sit down and pick up a pen, and ask "what can I do," and actually think maybe the President might read that story and it might make a difference. (Applause.) And her voice rang out here in the Paramount Theatre. And it's her voice and your voice that's going to change this country. That's how we're going to make sure that we remain the greatest nation on Earth -- not by asking what we can do for ourselves, but what we can do for each other and what we can do for our country.
And so, as President, I'm going to keep a promise that I made when I first ran: Every day, I will keep asking the same question, and that is, how can I help you? And I'll keep treating your cares and your concerns as my own. And I will keep fighting to restore the American Dream for everybody who's willing to work for it.
And I am going to need you to be right there with me. (Applause.) Do not get cynical. Hope is the better choice.
Thank you, Texas. Thank you, Austin. God bless you. (Applause.)
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Or, all the above, summarized in one sentence: it's the Republicans fault, and ban cynicism. (with a gratuitous JFK paraphrase thrown in for good measure)
Full transcript word cloud:
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