Saturday, July 24, 2004

Two Speeches for Two Americas

The entire Kerry speech can be found here.
The President's speech can be found here.

Both John Kerry and President Bush spoke recently at the National Urban League Convention. I wanted to get a comparison between the President's speech and John Kerry's. From the start the speeches were very different.

I am not trying to emulate Michael Moore here, but there are portions of the speeches, which I have placed together that are not contiguous in the original. I hope to have not changed the meaning of any of the passages - I apologize in advance if this has happened.

This is by no means an objective view of the speeches -though I have tried to place the portions of each speech in as much of a side-by-side manner as possible. 
Kerry's Opening:

Thank you, Vernon, for that wonderful introduction.  He has been enormously helpful in my campaign.  I am grateful for Vernon’s common sense and experience – and for his leadership as head of my presidential debate team.   The issues we’re grappling with today are especially important, and I’m happy to discuss them anywhere, any time, with any American.

John Kerry opens with "Thank you", "my campaign", "my debate team".

President's Opening:

Thanks for the warm introduction. It's really good to be here. You know, Marc, you're right, the National Urban League is a vital and important part of the American scene. And I think the reason why is, not only is the mission important, but the people involved in the Urban League are dignified, decent American citizens. And I am honored to be in your presence.

The President opens with 'Thank you", "NUL is important", "people are dignified".

We'll skip the rest of the platitudes by each speaker.

John Kerry:

Now, more than ever, when it comes to civil rights, social justice, and empowerment, we need to listen to every voice that stands up and speaks truth to power.  I also want to say that for me, this is not just a check-the-box campaign stop. 

I don't know what this means, but why is it necessary to underscore that this isn't simply a "ticket punch" speech?

The President:

I believe this country can and will be a place of opportunity and hope for every single citizen. It's not a given; there's work to be done. But it's a goal, and it's an important goal.
I don't care what party you're in, what city you live in, or what state you're from, the goal has got to be -- America has got to be an hospitable, hopeful place for every single citizen.

John Kerry:

When I look around this city – when I look around neighborhoods and towns and cities across this nation, I see what so many of you see everyday.
We see jobs to be created.
We see families to house.
We see violence to stop.
We see children to teach – and children to care for.
We see too many people without health care and too many people of color suffering and dying from preventable diseases like cancer and AIDS and diabetes.
In too many places, we see freedom standing still.

So much is wrong with America
The President:

That's kind of the heart of what they call compassionate conservatism, that the American experience must be alive and viable for everyone, and that government has a role to help people have the tools so they can help themselves. See, I believe in the human spirit; I believe if people have the opportunity and the ability, they will achieve their God-given talents. That's what I believe. And I think that's a proper role for the federal government, to help people.
The last three-and-a-half years, we've worked on that. We've worked hard to make opportunity available and prosperity real and justice not a word. And I'm here to tell you, we're making good progress.

Things are not perfect in America, but they're getting better.

John Kerry:

When we look at what is happening in America today we must ask ourselves, where are the deeds?  The Bible teaches us:  “It is not enough, my brother, to say you have faith, when there are no deeds…Faith without deeds is dead.”

The deeds are in the faith-based initiatives Democrats keep voting against. the deeds are in the tax cuts the Democrats voted against.

Today we have an administration in Washington that looks at the challenges we face here and around the world and says this is the best we can do.  They say what we have now is the best economy of our lifetimes.  They have even called us pessimists for speaking truth to power.  Well, I say the most pessimistic thing you can say is that America can’t do better.

The only people who have been saying America can't do better are John Kerry supporters.

The President:

So the economy went through a lot. But we acted. See, I happen to believe if people have more of their own money in their pocket, they're going to spend, save, or invest, and when they do, that revitalizes economic growth and entrepreneurship. That's what the tax cuts were all about. That's why we raised the child credit. If you happen to have a two-year-old son like Mark does, it enables you to be -- have more money in your pocket. We reduced the marriage penalty. What kind of tax code is it, by the way, that penalizes marriage? We ought to be encouraging marriage in the United States of America. (Applause.)

We reduced the 10 percent bracket; we reduced taxes on everybody. I think that's the fair way to do things. And as a result, the economy is growing. The economy, since last summer, has been growing at the fastest rate in nearly 20 years. That's the truth, and that's positive news. If people are looking for work, you've got to have an economy which is vibrant and growing.

Republicans put money in your pockets, Democrats voted against it.

John Kerry:

Don’t tell us 1.8 million lost jobs is the best we can do, when we can create millions of new jobs.  We can change that…and we will.

The President:

And that's the case. We've added 1.5 million new jobs since August. There's more work to do, of course. Job opportunity isn't in every neighborhood and every corner of the country, I fully recognize that. But the economy today is strong, and it's growing stronger. And we've always got to remember why. I mean, inherent in the -- in new job creation is small businesses. That's the most important part of new job creation. See, most new jobs are created by the small business owners of America. And therefore, policy has got to recognize that. That's why we've got to have fair -- a fair legal system that doesn't -- these frivolous lawsuits make it awfully difficult for a small business owner to thrive.

The economy improved, I helped that, but small business made it happen.

John Kerry:

Don’t tell us unemployment is not a problem, when we see that African American unemployment is now above 10 percent – double the rate for whites.  It is unacceptable in the wealthiest nation on earth that we tolerate vast and growing pockets of poverty – from the hills of Appalachia to the streets of Detroit.  Raising the minimum wage and making life better for the working poor is part of my vision for a stronger America.  We can change that…and we will.

During the course of this campaign I’ve met young people who want nothing more than to be able to find a job in the place they were raised.  I’ve met steelworkers and mineworkers and autoworkers who have seen their jobs and equipment unbolted before their eyes and shipped overseas. 

As president, I will create a small business opportunity fund to ensure that small businesses have all the support they need to grow and thrive – expanding loans to micro-enterprises, increasing the federal government’s venture capital investments and expanding loan programs for small businesses.  

You're different and you should be angry about it! Demand more from your employers!
I will create incentives for small business in your communities.

The President:

The more small businesses there are, the more likely it is people are going to find work.
And there's more we can do to help people start their own businesses. The SBA has got a vital role -- that's the Small Business Administration. Loans to African Americans were up by 75 percent from last year. That's positive. In other words, somebody said, I need some help. They've come to the federal government. They said, I've got an idea, I want to start my own business, I want to say, I'm the owner. And the government says, we want to help you. It's a legitimate role to encourage ownership.
And that's what's happening right now in our society. We've rewarded $6 billion in new markets tax credits. Those are important. They promote economic and community development in low-income areas. And when you do that, the spinoff is more ownership for businesses.

Be an entrepreneur - your own boss. We have already created incentives for entreprenuers, who can then hire others from their community.

John Kerry:

I will also give states and metropolitan areas the flexibility to use transportation dollars the way you see fit.  And I will provide providing adequate funding for homeland security and port security so that the people in our metropolitan areas are able move about freely, get to good jobs and live without fear.

We'll tax the rich for one thing and use the money for something else.
I am not sure what Homeland security has to do with being able to get a job or move around freely.

The President:

An interesting project that's going on inside inner cities, which makes life better but also helps the entrepreneurial spirit, is the cleanup of brownfields. Since I've come to office, we've cleaned up more than 1,000 brownfields. Those are old industrial sites which have been abandoned. They're not only eyesores, they're blight in the communities. They've been cleaned up. They're now viable pieces of property. Businesses are springing up -- businesses around, businesses are springing up.
John Kerry:

Values mean helping all Americans lay the cornerstone of the American Dream with the purchase of their own home.  The Urban League has a long track record in counseling consumers and fighting to make the dream of homeownership real for millions of people.  Yes, it’s true, since the 1990s, homeownership has gone up in America. And that’s a good thing.  But it’s not that simple.  While homeownership has risen, programs that help hard-pressed families put a roof over their head have been cut. 

Actually only the wasteful spending within those programs have been cut.

The President:

So we're providing downpayment assistance, good counseling. Listen, people walk in, first-time home buyers, and they take a look at the contracts and the print's about that big, and they say, forget it. You know? They get driven away by the complexity of the situation. Sometimes they get skinned by loan sharks, you know? And we're doing everything we can to make sure the loan application process is understandable and fair and open. We're proposing tax credits to encourage the building of more affordable housing, particularly in inner-city America. In other words, we want there to be a greater supply of homes. (Applause.)
Let me tell you something hopeful about the country. For the first time in our history, a majority of families and minority groups own their own homes. We're making progress. People are saying, this is my home. And we must continue the progress we're making. (Applause.)

This statement is correct - home ownership has skyrocketed.

John Kerry:

Values also mean giving all our children a first-rate education, with smaller classrooms and better paid teachers.  Today, we see two school systems in America:  one for the well off and one for the left out.  For us and for you, values mean opening the doors of opportunity to all our children. 

We believe that educating our children is more important than giving another tax break to the wealthiest Americans.  This Administration’s budget falls $27 billion short of its promise to fully fund No Child Left Behind.  John Edwards and I have a plan to invest in our future, provide the needed funding and put a good teacher in every classroom – so that finally and truly, no child will be left behind.

But Democrats vote against programs, which give " the left out" parents the ability to send their children to the "well off" schools. They'd rather throw more money at something that is failing than invest in something that is succeeding.
People forget the federal funds come with some milestones that the schools are responsible for.

The President:

When I first came to the Urban League, I vowed to change that attitude in Washington. It was one of the things I said. I said, give me a chance to work the education system. And we have. We passed good law. Listen, the government has got a funding responsibility. We have. We've increased federal funding for K through 12 by 49 percent from 2001. I label that significant. (Applause.)
And I signed a bill into law creating taxpayer-sponsored scholarships for students in Washington, D.C. And let me tell you why. I believe this: If school choice is good for the wealthy, it's good enough for disadvantaged children in America. This is a good piece of legislation. (Applause.) It's a good piece of legislation, which is going to help improve education for all children in the nation's capital.

Give public education what they say they need - more money. At the same time, give parents a choice of where there kids go to school.

John Kerry:

We’ve got a plan to get the waste and greed out of our health care system and help families save up to $1,000 on their premiums.

Ok, two lawyers go into a convention and the first one says - "Law suits don't drive up health care prices." and the other one says, "Yeah, the insurance companies do (under breath) because we sue them."

The President:

See, our most solemn duty is to protect the American people. That's our most solemn duty. It's a duty brought upon us not at our asking, because we were attacked unmercifully by people who hate what we stand for. They hate the fact that we can have free dialogue just like this. They hate the fact that there's open discourse. They hate the fact that we're a free society where people can worship any way they see fit.
It's about terrorism, stupid.

John Kerry:

I know that great things are happening across America to strengthen families, lift up communities and bring opportunity and hope to our young people.  Some of these efforts are faith-based, some are community based.  They are all making a difference.  But for every good thing we’re doing there are millions more in need who are not being reached.  We need to do more to help our faith-based institutions that are on the front lines helping our families, and working with community-based organizations to meet this challenge. And we need to do it in a way that values our Constitution and also values the role that churches play in our communities across America. 

Give money to faith-based institutions.

The President:

My community and faith-based initiative recognizes the true strength of this country is in the hearts and souls of our citizens; that we recognize that oftentimes there's -- a change of heart will change behavior and governments can't change hearts. That changes when somebody who has heard a universal call to love a neighbor, puts their arm around somebody who hurts and says, I love you brother, I love you sister, what can I do to help you on your walk so your life is improved. (Applause.) This community and faith-based initiative is a vital part of this administration's program to help save lives. We've opened up federal grants to the faith community for the first time. I shouldn't say "for the first time." Most vigorously, let me put it to you that way.

And so now we've had over a billion dollars go out the door to faith-based programs, programs all aimed at serving America by saving lives. (Applause.) And it makes sense. It just makes sense. It makes sense to tap into the great strength and spirit of the country.

That was 1 billion with a B.

John Kerry:

We can provide a new direction for America if we remember that in all the great movements for civil rights and equal rights, the environment and economic justice for all, we have come together as one America to give life to our highest ideals. 

If you don't count Democrats filibustering civil rights, blocking judicial nominations and maintaining the welfare state.

The President:

And I believe in my heart that the policies and actions of this administration, policies that empower individuals and help communities, that lift up free enterprise and respect and honor the family, those policies are good for the nation as a whole. That's what I believe. And I'm here to thank you for giving me a chance to come and express those beliefs.
John Kerry:

The great poet Langston Hughes put it this way:
Let America be America again…Let it be the dream it used to be…for those whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain must bring back our mighty dream again.
With your help, in 2004, we can…we must…we will…bring back our mighty dream again.
Thank you and God bless you all.

The President:

I'm proud to be with an organization that does so good, so much good for the American people. I'm honored that your Chairman would extend an invitation to me. Thanks for coming, and may God bless you and may God continue to bless the country. (Applause.)

The President spoke a great deal about his cabinet and about the war on terror.  He spoke about helping reintroduce convicted felons into society.

John Kerry spoke about the President stealing the 2000 election by not counting black votes.

Based on what I am seeing in these speeches, I cannot wait until the debates. I think you are going to see a very different Bush campaign around that time.

I agree, there are two Americas. One is the "everything is broken and I can fix it" America. The other is the "we're doing good things in tough times" America. John Kerry accuses the Republicans of pessimism - I'm seeing it the other way around.


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