Gustav

As Hurricane Gustav approaches the Gulf Coast, we’re reminded of Republican government in action:

On the eve of Hurricane Gustav’s expected arrival, many in New Orleans, from residents of the Ninth Ward to the city’s mayor to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, have their doubts about whether the levees will hold.

There is a real likelihood of getting some overtopping. Additionally, rain is a big factor here,” said DHS chief Michael Chertoff about water pouring over the tops of the levees.

Three years since Katrina and $3 billion later, the levees still leak and much of the repair work remains incomplete.

“Huge areas of Louisiana are going to be devastated. We’re going in essence to see what Katrina didn’t destroy, what Rita didn’t destroy in 2005 being destroyed now in 2008,” said Ivor Van Heerden, a professor at Louisiana State University who wrote a book about why the levees broke during Katrina.

At best the levees are estimated to be able to withstand water levels rising at the rate of an inch and hour. The coming storm, however, promises much more. In some places storm surge could reach 18 feet.

The Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with repairing the levees, says work was being accelerated.

Despite Congress authorizing $12.8 billion to rebuild the levees, only $3 billion has been spent. The engineers blame red tape, saying the studies, approvals and environmental committees have all slowed down the work.

The Army Corps is already trying to blame it on the environmentalists, but considering that the press recently found engineers filling the levees with newspaper, their protestations aren’t really credible. In fact, they failed to use the money and are scrambling to finish in 48 hours what they haven’t done in 3 years.

[Emphasis added]

And even though the GOP is looking to exploit Gustav to erase their record of incompetence, this latest hurricane reminds us of how they dealt with the last one:

FLASHBACK: McCain voted against Katrina relief multiple times

[B]oth Obama and Biden were either co-sponsors of, voted for or drafted Katrina relief or oversight bills.

Biden was the sponsor of Senate amendment 1661, which was to provide emergency funding to victims of Katrina.  The vote failed 41-56, with McCain voting against it.

[…]

McCain also voted against not one, not two (this one failed by three votes) but three other Democratic-introduced Senate amendments that would have brought much needed relief to Hurricane victims.

And yes, he voted against a bipartisan oversight commission to study the failings and recommend corrective measures to ensure that the next time will be better.

Let’s keep reminding America how much McCain really cares about putting country first.

[Emphasis added]

What a coincidence–it’s an election year and suddenly John McCain is concerned about a hurricane barreling down on the gulf.  Remember, last time around McCain and his fellow Republicans were nowhere near as charitable.

Exploiting a major tragedy for political purposes–is that putting country first?

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Initial Thoughts on Sarah Palin (UPDATED)

1. The McCain campaign is clearly desperate to harness some of the Obama mojo. Much of Palin’s speech sounded like watered-down Obama, particularly where she talked about being an outsider, about bipartisanship and about reform (and remember, this talk of ‘reform’ is coming from someone who was ringingly endorsed by now-indicted Senator Ted Stevens and is under a state investigation for abuse of power).

2. Looks like Gov. Palin has been given her very own deck of POW cards to play. The McCain campaign plays the POW card to defend against legitimate criticisms and to defend every bad policy McCain has endorsed. They’re cheapening both McCain’s service and the service of every other American POW and soldier who has suffered for their country.

3. I thought-I hoped–the McCain campaign had a smart strategic reason for picking Gov. Palin. I hoped it wasn’t just a naked pander for women’s votes, particularly those of Hillary Clinton’s former supporters.

And then Palin brought up Hillary Clinton, in a blatant attempt to win over Clinton’s former supporters. But Sen. Clinton and her supporters have almost no common ground with Palin on any of the issues, and they’re not shallow–they won’t simply vote for McCain because his running mate is a woman.

Clinton’s qualities that earned her such a strong following was that she was an experienced fighter for progressive causes, particularly for choice and equality for women. Palin is not experienced, she has no record of fighting for women’s rights (or any other progressive cause), and she’s strongly anti-choice. I was hoping McCain didn’t pick her just to pander, but after that speech there is no doubt in my mind this was a desperate move.

The choice in this election couldn’t be clearer–Barack Obama picked a Vice President to help him govern; John McCain picked a Vice President to help him win the election.

UPDATE: There is dissention in the ranks:

Though it was high in shock value, the Palin pick left bruised feelings among the short-list contenders who were not picked — and infuriated some Republican officials who privately said McCain had gone out on a limb, unnecessarily, without laying the groundwork for such an unknown. Two senior Republican officials close to Mitt Romney and Tim
Pawlenty said they had both been rudely strung along and now “feel manipulated.”

“They now know that they were used as decoys, well after McCain had decided not to pick them,” one Republican involved in the process said.

[Emphasis added]

And like I wrote about below, the GOP is spinning hard, pushing Palin’s ‘executive experience’ — an empty buzzword used to describe a Governor, Mayor, CEO, etc. with no real notable accomplishments.

Atrios catches the flaw in their argument:

Republican on MSNBC is arguing that Palin has much more experience than Joe Biden because all he did was run committees in the Senate.

By this logic Palin has much more experience than John McCain.

Whoops

UPDATE II: Here’s Sarah Palin campaigning for indicted Senator Ted Stevens, who was under federal investigation at the time this video was filmed:

Inexperienced, corrupt, abusing power–Sarah Palin is a George Bush Republican, through and through.

UPDATE III: Another oops:

Flashback: Palin Said She Didn’t Like Hillary’s “Whining”

Today in Ohio, new McCain veep pick Sarah Palin made a big play for Hillary voters by referencing her now-famous “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” quote.

But Newsweek reports that back in March, at a Women and Leadership event held by the mag, Palin’s view of Hillary wasn’t quite as charitable:

Once onstage, together with Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Palin talked about what women expect from women leaders; how she took charge in Alaska during a political scandal that threatened to unseat the state’s entire Republican power structure, and her feelings about Sen. Hillary Clinton. (She said she felt kind of bad she couldn’t support a woman, but she didn’t like Clinton’s “whining.”)

EPIC FAIL

John McCain has announced that his Vice Presidential running mate will be Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Sarah who?

Sarah Palin, who has spent a scant year and a half as the Governor of Alaska.

Now, Barack Obama serves on the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees. He cosponsored the Secure America & Orderly Immigration Act and the Secure Fence Act. Obama introduced the Lugar–Obama bill, which will keep nuclear arms and other dangerous weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue states. In other words, he has spent his time in the Senate dealing with and leading on national security and foreign policy issues.

But that wasn’t enough experience for John McCain. Time and time again, McCain and his campaign have said that this election is about experience and that Barack Obama doesn’t have enough of it. They have tried to make foreign policy–and John McCain’s ‘experience’ on foreign policy–the central issue of this campaign.

Now, John McCain has destroyed all of those arguments, exposing them for the hollow partisan rhetoric they really are. You can’t say that experience–particularly foreign policy experience–is necessary to be President and then turn around and put someone a heartbeat away from the Presidency who has no experience whatsoever. It’s Republican hypocrisy at it’s most blatant.

Republicans will talk about ‘executive experience,’ a vague buzzword politicians use when they have no actual accomplishments or notable achievements to point to. And they might talk about Palin as a clean government crusader, though they’ll probably leave out the charges that Palin has been abusing her power as Governor:

Lawmakers will hire someone within a week to investigate whether Governor Sarah Palin abused her power in firing Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. The legislative council approved 100,000 dollars for the investigation that will find out whether Palin was angry at Monegan for not firing an Alaska State Trooper who went through a messy divorce with Palin’s sister.

On Monday afternoon, the Joint Legislative Council, filled with Republicans and Democrats, voted 12 to 0 to formally call for an investigation against Governor Palin

[Emphasis added]

That article was dated a month ago, BTW. This investigation will be ongoing during the course of the Presidential campaign.

Hypocrisy? Corruption? Abuse of power? It seems like McCain’s VP–just like McCain himself–is going to give us four more years of the same.

UPDATE: When she ran for Governor, Palin received a ringing endorsement from now-indicted Senator Ted Stevens (R):

The AK GOP is chock full of corruption–keep this ad in mind whenever anyone describes Palin as a ‘reformer’ or ‘squeaky clean.’

UPDATE II: Just one month ago, this occurred:

Palin dissed veep job

[…]

Larry Kudlow of CNBC’s “Kudlow & Co.” asked her about the possibility of becoming McCain’s ticket mate.

Palin replied: “As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration.”

[Emphasis added]

Yes We Can

John McCain has been asking, is he ready to lead?

Tonight, Barack Obama removed all doubt: yes, he is.

Here are his full remarks from Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado:

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women – students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors — found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments – a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he’s worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives – on health care and education and the economy – Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made “great progress” under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors – the man who wrote his economic plan – was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a “mental recession,” and that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.

For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy – give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.

Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

That’s the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.

Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American – if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime – by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less – because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our “intellectual and moral strength.” Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents; that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility – that’s the essence of America’s promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we’re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice – but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.

So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose – our sense of higher purpose. And that’s what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America’s promise – the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that’s to be expected. Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what – it’s worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it – because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I’ve seen it. Because I’ve lived it. I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I’ve seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I’ve seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I’ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

“We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Mitt Romney, Karl Rove’s Vice President

Politico reports that Karl Rove recently called John McCain, urging him not to pick Joe Lieberman as his Vice Presidential running mate and pushing him to pick Mitt Romney instead.  From the article:

Republican strategist Karl Rove called Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) late last week and urged him to contact John McCain to withdraw his name from vice presidential consideration

[…]

[Rove’s] decision to wade into the vice presidential selection process could provide Democrats fresh ammunition to tie McCain to the polarizing Bush.

It is also chafing some Lieberman allies and others wary of the selection of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“Rove is pushing Romney so aggressively some folks are beginning to wonder what’s going on,” grumbled one veteran Republican strategist.

From his perch on Fox, Rove has touted McCain’s fierce primary rival as strong vice presidential material.

Karl Rove was the architect of Bush’s presidency.  The fact that Rove has become an adviser to McCain proves just how much John McCain is in the pocket of Bush’s people, which will be proven even more if McCain picks Romney.

Mitt Romney is Karl Rove’s hand-selected Vice Presidential candidate, period. McCain’s selection of Romney would prove to us that, if McCain wins, the same people who are running Washington now will run it for the next four years; the only thing that’ll change will be the name on the White House stationary.

McCain/Romney ’08–four more years of the same.

Liveblogging Bill Clinton At The Democratic National Convention

9:02 PM EST: Bill Clinton takes the stage to the tune of “Don’t Stop Thinkin’ About Tomorrow”

9:05 PM EST: Clinton’s trying to speak, but three straight minutes of applause and cheers is drowning him out.

9:06 PM EST: We have important work to do tonight.  I’m here first to support Barack Obama [applause and cheers, standing ovation]

And second, I’m here to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden.  Though, as you will soon see, he doesn’t need any help from me.  I love Joe Biden, and America will too.

What a year we Democrats have had.  Our primary stared with an all-star lineup, and we ended up with two all-star candidates.  That campaign generated so much heat it increased global warming.  In the end, my candidate didn’t win, but I’m proud of the campaign she ran [cheers].  I’m glad she never gave up and I’m grateful for the chance Chelsea and I had to go all around America.

I’m not so grateful to speak in the wake of Hillary’s magnificent speech last night, but I’ll do the best I can.  Last night, Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she will do everything she can to elect Barack Obama.[applause and cheers]  That makes two of us.  [louder applause and cheers]

Actually, that makes 18 million of us [cheers] because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November.  Here’s why–and I have the privilege of speaking here, thanks to you, from a perspective that no other American Democrat except President Carter can.

Our nation is in trouble on two fronts.  The American dream is under siege at home and America’s leadreship around the world is weakened.

[…]

Clearly the job of the next President is to restore the American dream and rebuild America’s leadership in the world.  Everything I learned in my 8 years as President–and everything I’ve learned since–has taught me that Barack Obama is the man for this job. [cheers]

Now, he has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to a higher purpose.  He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful President has had.  His policies are far superior to the Republican alternative.  He has shown a strong grasp of the challenges America faces and a commitment to rebuilding our armed forces. His background has shown him able to lead our diverse nation in an ever-growing and interdependent world.

In his first Presidential decision–the selection of a running mate–he hit it out of the park.  [cheering] With Joe Biden’s experience and wisdom–with Barack Obama’s instincts and insight–America will have the national security judgment we need.  Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world. [cheering] Barack Obama will uphold the oath to preserve and defend the constituiton of the United States. [cheers]  Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States [applause and cheers]

As President, he will put America back in the forefront in the fight against global warming and to reduce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.  He will enhance America’s global leadership in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, including a renewal of the battle against HIV/AIDS here at home. [applause and cheers]

A President Obama will chose diplomacy first and force as a last resort.  But, in a world troubled by terror, trafficking in drugs, guns and people and other threats to our security and values, when he cannot convert adversaries he will stand up to them. Barack Obama will not allow the world’s problems to obscure it’s opportunities.

[…]

9:15 PM EST: Barack Obama knows we cannot be strong abroad if we’re not strong at home. [cheers]  People everywhere have been more swayed by the power of our example than the example of our power [long applause and cheers]

Look at the example the Republicans have set. [boos] In this decade, American workers have consistently given us rising productivity–year after year they work harder and produce more.  What did they get in return? Declining wages, fewer jobs, smaller pension & healthcare benefits and the biggest increase in income equality since the 1920’s. [boos]

I will never forget the parents of children with autism and other serious conditions that they couldn’t afford healthcare or get medicaid unless they quit work or got divorced.  Are these the values Republicans are proud of? What about the strained military families, the assault on science, the defense of torture, the assault on unions and the favor of the wealthy? What about Katrina and cronyism? [cheers] My fellow Democrats, America can do better than that [cheers] and Barack Obama will do better than that. [cheers and applause]

9:19 PM EST: [Chants of ‘yes we can’] But first, we have to elect him. [cheers]  The choice is clear–the Republicans, in a few days, will nominate a good man who has served his country heroically and suffered terribly.  He loves his country every bit as much as we do. But in this election, he embraces the radicalism that has defined his party for twenty-five years.  IT’s a philosophy the American people never got a chance to see ina ction fully until 2001, when the Republicans gained control of the White House and Congress.

They took us from record surpluses to an exploding debt.  They decreased working people’s incomes.  From 8 million Americans lifted out of poverty to 5.5 million driven down into poverty and millions more without healthcare.  And their candidate is promising more of the same.  More tax cuts for the wealthy that will swell the deficit.  More going it alone in the world instead of building shared opportunities and shared benefits.  They actually want us to reward the past 8 years by giving them 4 more. [loud boos]

9:22 PM EST: Let’s send them a message–thanks, but no thanks.  In this case, the third time is not the charm. [cheers]  My fellow Democrats, 16 years ago you gave me the profound honor to lead our party to vistory and to lead our nation to a new era of peace and broadly-shared prosperity.  Together we prevailed in an election where the Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief. Sound familiar?

It didn’t work in 1992 because we were on the right side of history, and it won’t work in 2008 because Barack Obama is on the right side of history. [cheers and applause]  Senator Obama’s life is the 21st-century incarnation of the American dream.

[…]

We see our values reinforced by the Obama family and by Joe Biden and his family.  Barack Obama will lead us away from the division and fear of the past eight years back to unity and hope.  So if, like me, you believe America must always be a place called hope, then join Hillary and Chelsea and me in making Barack Obama the next President of the United States.  Thank you and God bless you.

[cheers, standing ovation, applause]