Guest post by Lysis
Here's what she had to say to the South Carolina Democratic Women's Council:
You're right. I am running to live, again, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But I don't want to be there all by myself. I want Democrats elected from the local to the county to the state to the federal level, once again making the case that when Democrats win, Americans win.So how can we adopt a message that will work across the country, from the local to the county to the state to the federal level, one that can be adjusted to meet local needs and appeal to a wide range of demographics and ideologies?
She's taking a shot at that, too:
I want to say just a few words about what's happening to American families and what's happening with our economy, because I've always believed fundamentally that when families are strong, America is strong. And we've come through some really tough economic times.
I've looked at the statistics and South Carolina has pulled itself up, as other places have as well. American families have made a lot of sacrifices. People lost jobs, people lost homes, people had to put college on the back burner, retirement on the back burner. But everybody just kept going. It took a lot of determination, and across America, we're beginning to see the results of all that hard work.
And I will say that there does seem to be a pattern. Democratic presidents, and there's two in particular that I'm thinking about over the last 35 years, seem to inherit a mess of problems. Have you noticed that?
So then, they have to dig us out of the ditches they find themselves in, and put us back on the right track. And of course, I'm talking about Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. But of course, presidents don't do it alone. They do it with the American people. It's a partnership.
And today, we are standing up again, but we're not yet running. And we face a choice. Are we going to hand over our country, once again, to the people and policies that crashed our economy before and that will shred the progress that we've made?
(Shouts of "No!" from the audience)
Well, that's obviously the right answer. But that's what this campaign is going to be about. Because we're going to have to stand up to the people who want to keep the deck stacked in favor of those at the top. We're going to have to make sure that the success of our country is shared across the economy and that more families have a chance to get ahead. Not just to get by, but to stay moving forward with the kind of confidence and optimism that have always marked the best times in America.
It's time to make the words "middle class" mean something again. They should represent the solemn promise that anybody willing to work hard can make a decent living and a better life, not just get by paycheck to paycheck.Earlier this week, I wrote about how Clinton was launching her campaign at FDR Four Freedoms Park, and the symbolism inherent in a location honoring that man and that speech.
But FDR gave another speech while he was campaigning for re-election to the presidency, one that introduced the concept of a "New Deal" that would become the cornerstone of Democratic politics. At the time, Republicans were complaining that FDR hadn't done enough to get us out of the depression, and that they should be returned to power:
At last our eyes are open. At last the American people are ready to acknowledge that Republican leadership was wrong and that the Democracy is right.
My program, of which I can only touch on these points, is based upon this simple moral principle: the welfare and the soundness of a Nation depend first upon what the great mass of the people wish and need; and second, whether or not they are getting it.
What do the people of America want more than anything else? To my mind, they want two things: work, with all the moral and spiritual values that go with it; and with work, a reasonable measure of security--security for themselves and for their wives and children. Work and security--these are more than words. They are more than facts. They are the spiritual values, the true goal toward which our efforts of reconstruction should lead. These are the values that this program is intended to gain; these are the values we have failed to achieve by the leadership we now have.
Our Republican leaders tell us economic laws--sacred, inviolable, unchangeable--cause panics which no one could prevent. But while they prate of economic laws, men and women are starving. We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings.
Never before in modern history have the essential differences between the two major American parties stood out in such striking contrast as they do today. Republican leaders not only have failed in material things, they have failed in national vision, because in disaster they have held out no hope, they have pointed out no path for the people below to climb back to places of security and of safety in our American life.
Throughout the Nation, men and women, forgotten in the political philosophy of the Government of the last years look to us here for guidance and for more equitable opportunity to share in the distribution of national wealth.
On the farms, in the large metropolitan areas, in the smaller cities and in the villages, millions of our citizens cherish the hope that their old standards of living and of thought have not gone forever. Those millions cannot and shall not hope in vain.
I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people. Let us all here assembled constitute ourselves prophets of a new order of competence and of courage. This is more than a political campaign; it is a call to arms. Give me your help, not to win votes alone, but to win in this crusade to restore America to its own people.We are only ten days away from Clinton's big speech at FDR Four Freedoms Park. There has never been a better opportunity to make the case, once and for all, that it is the Democrats who are best for the American people. The future of our country lies not in bringing people together by appealing to the middle, but in establishing a solid majority of partisans for our cause.
We must proudly proclaim ownership of our incredible legacy as a party, from FDR and JFK through Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. We must also proclaim that it all of their work has only been a beginning, and we cannot move from damage control to truly rebuilding our nation without consistently controlling the levers of power.
We can only do this if every American goes into the voting booth and votes a straight Democratic ticket. We need to control every governorship, every congressional seat, every mayoral office and municipality and state legislature and county judge that we can. As Clinton says, "When Democrats win, America wins."
Even if Clinton is not ultimately the messenger, this must be the message.