Rep. Barbara Lee’s speech to the DNC

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, has just finished her speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.; as a member of the party’s platform drafting committee, she was tapped to speak in delivering that platform.

Here are her remarks as prepared:

I am so pleased I had a role in drafting this remarkable document. It embodies the values we hold dear as Democrats and as Americans. And it sets forth our great President’s vision for our future where together we will reignite the American Dream for ALL.

Because the reality is: four years ago, the American Dream had slipped out of reach for too many. And it had turned into a nightmare for millions.

President Obama changed our course. He invested in our future and put men and women back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges. He raised educational standards, invested in early childhood education and worked to make higher education more affordable for everyone. He invested in clean energy and enacted the broadest tax cut in history — reducing taxes on the middle class to near historic lows. He saved the American auto industry. He produced historic health reform. And he put forward a balanced deficit reduction plan that will put us on sound fiscal footing.

Today, our economy is growing again.

Our platform states that America faces a clear choice: move forward as a nation where everyone has the chance to get ahead, or go back to the same failed ideas that created the crisis in the first place. We will move forward, not backward.

Follow after the jump for the rest of Lee’s speech…

Republicans will raise taxes on low-income and the middle class to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.

They’ll end the fundamental guarantee of Medicare that people have earned.

They’ll let Wall Street write its own rules again.

They’ll allow the secret and unlimited special interest money in campaigns to advance its dangerous assault on our democracy.

They’ll shred the safety net and gut vital investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure in order to help the wealthiest avoid doing their fair share.

And they’ll allow insurance companies to once again deny health care to working families and interfere with women’s health care decisions

President Obama and Democrats will not let this happen. We will move forward, not backwards.

We believe we are bound together by a shared set of ideals and values — rooted in the notion that together we can overcome the greatest challenges that come our way.

We stand for an economy that’s built not from the top down, but from the middle out, and that provides opportunity for those aspiring to join the middle class. And we make ending poverty a national priority. We are a big tent party of inclusion and our platform speaks to the aspirations of all.

Our platform ensures that the opportunity to live the American Dream not only survives but thrives for generations to come.

We can’t afford to go back or abandon the change we’ve fought so hard for. We will not turn back the clock. We can move forward, we must move forward, and under the leadership of President Obama we will move forward!

Thank you.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • JAFO

    Yesterday, President Obsma mocked Mitt Romney saying that his acceptance speech was like watching a black and white television program on “Nick at Night.” Instead, he and is compatriots would have you believe that they are “moving forward,” focusing on the future. Tonight, convention goers were treated to a video featuring Ted Kennedy, interestingly enough including dusty old footage of the senator trashing Romney in a senate campaign. In coming nights, Dems will hear from former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. I wonder how many more “oldies but goodies” will make an appearance. Looking forward indeed.

  • JohnW

    News to me that Carter is on the schedule. However, since Ryan has been mocking Obama by saying the Carter years look good compared to Obama’s record, I hope somebody will point out the 10.3 million jobs the economy added during Carter’s single term. Since FDR, only Kennedy/Johnson exceeded that 13% per term growth. Not even Reagan and Clinton.

    Starting with Eisenhower, Repubs in the White House for 36 years. Dems for 24 years. Jobs added under Dems – 49 million. Under Repubs 35 million.


  • JAFO


    My comments were not directed at Mr. Carter in particular, but since you brought him up. Jimmy Carter is generally regarded as one of the least, arguably the least, effective president in American history. The fact that you most often see him described by his few admirers as “one of the most effective ex-presidents in American history” is testimony enough to his short list of accomplishments. It’s little wonder that even his appearance at the DNC convention reportedly will be tape recorded rather than live.

  • JohnW

    I admit to not being completely objective about Carter. As a small town radio station manager in Georgia during his time as governor, I knew about him long before most people ever heard of him. When he decided to run, I confidently told friends he would get the nomination. Even had him in my office once. Deeply admired his stance on civil rights at a time when it still wasn’t cool in the South. His separately elected Lt. Governor was Lester Maddox.

    That said, I recognize his weaknesses as President. He was not an effective leader of his own party (couldn’t get along with Kennedy or Tip O’Neill), tended to micromanage stuff and was the opposite of Reagan in terms of “sunniness.”

    But on policy, he was nowhere near the loser Republicans have taught us to believe. You certainly can’t criticize his jobs record, although presidents generally get too much credit for strong job growth and too much blame for weak growth.

    Camp David accords were a real success story. Although it wasn’t popular, I agreed with his decision to pull out of the Moscow Olympics after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

    Mostly, Carter gets blamed for inflation and the Iranian revolution.

    Carter put solar panels on the White House. Not a huge deal, but it sent a message. Then, Reagan removes the solar stuff just out of spite.

    As for Iran, we laid the groundwork for anti-Americanism there during the Eisenhower administration by overthrowing the government and installing the Shah. He was dying and on his way out no matter who was president. Nobody could have stopped it or slowed it down. Like Obama with Bin Laden, Carter approved an operation to get the hostages out. Not all dangerous operations have happy endings, but the hostages all came home alive.

    As for the economy, the inflation started building under the Johnson administration due to “guns and butter” and continued under Nixon/Ford due to oil price shocks. Nixon tried wage and price controls (talk about socialism), which only made matters worse by putting a lid on a boiling pot. Ford tried “Whip Inflation Now.” Inflation and then stagflation got out of control because the Fed has a loose monetary policy. The Carter economic advisers tried to get the Fed chief he inherited to tighten, but he wouldn’t listen. When Carter had the chance to name a new Fed chief, he appointed Volcker, who started tightening under Carter and continued under Reagan and finally broke the back of inflation. That produced a recession that was severe but necessary. Once inflation subsided, Volcker took his foot off the brake, which set the stage for strong economic growth in Reagan’s second term.

  • JAFO

    @#4, John W

    A very well-reasoned and thoughtful response. I respect your loyalty to Mr. Carter. I dare say history will not judge him among our best chief executives, but like every other American president, he does have his admirers.

  • Elwood

    I really like this thread!

    Five posts and not one word about Bobbie Lee!

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Summary of Dr Lee’s address: Vote for Prez, blah blah blah

  • RR senile columnist

    Jimmy Carter: Herbert Hoover for a new generation

  • JohnW

    Re: #4

    For Elwood’s benefit, here’s one word about “Bobbie Lee.” Left.

    About Carter and Hoover. That’s an interesting juxtaposition, considering that Hoover’s problem was Deflation; and Carter’s was Inflation. The economy gave up 6.4 million jobs (minus 20%) under Hoover and produced 10.3 million (plus 13%) under Carter.

    They do have one thing in common, other than the fact that both were educated as engineers. Both the Hoover and Carter administrations were preceded by 8 years of R’s in the White House. That’s true of Obama too.

    For the past 60 years, R’s in the White House for 36 years; D’s for 24 years. Jobs added by the economy total 35 million under the R’s and 49 million under the D’s.

    Just sayin’.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Ol Jimmy was wisely dumped by the electorate before the full force of the recession hit. Plant closings accelerated as interest rates rose and corporate debt became unmanageable for many manufacturers as well as retailers. None the less, by 1984 most voters felt better-off than they were in1980.

  • JohnW

    I like the twice a year raises I received during that period!

    LBJ’s “guns and butter,” two oil price shocks, Nixon’s wage & price controls and the Fed asleep at the wheel caused the wage/price spiral that resulted in stagflation and the economic conditions you described. Inflation pressure started in late 1967 , reached double digits in 1974/75, briefly tapered off and then picked up again in 1976.

    But what did Carter do or fail to do that contributed to all this? Nothing as far as I know. The fixer was Paul Volcker. And Carter is the guy who appointed him.

    Timing is everything. Volcker induced deep recession in the first half of Reagan’s first term. But, once he tamed inflation, he took his foot off the brake, which fueled much of the growth that Reagan gets credit for. Reagan’s tax cuts also contributed. Viva Volcker!

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Did anybody see either Dr Lee or Mr Peanut on TV or even the Internet? My guess is no.