Hillary Clinton, riding high on the endorsements she received from Iowa's only two Democrats currently holding statewide office, gave a fiery speech at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner on Friday night.
Taking (and leaving) the stage to loud chants of "Hillary! Hillary!", Clinton's highly partisan speech garnered huge enthusiasm from the crowd of Iowa party activists, earning a lengthy standing ovation; once the audience got up, they didn't sit down again until she was off the stage.
Mixing personal stories with a strong case for progressive policies, Clinton did more than just draw contrasts between herself and the Republican candidates.
She made a passionate case for the Democratic party as a whole, affirming her commitment to fight for the election of Democrats in every corner of the country and for every elected office, from Senator and Governor right down to the local school board.
She celebrated the unity of our party, and aimed all of her ammunition toward the retrograde relics on the other side of the aisle.
She reaffirmed her commitment to fighting for reproductive rights, immigration reform, and higher wages for working families, and stood in solidarity with the diverse communities that make up the base of the Democratic party.
Perhaps most significantly, she celebrated the legacy of the Obama administration forcefully and enthusiastically, standing with our president and promising to build on the work he has done in bringing our country back from the brink.
It was a hell of a speech, so good that it prompted the following response from Iowa Starting line:
But enough talking about this speech! I've gone ahead and made a transcript of the whole thing..@HillaryClinton didn't just give one of her own best speeches, she gave one of the best #IACaucus speeches I've ever seen #IDPHOF— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) July 18, 2015
Read it (and watch it) in its entirety after the jump.
The speech starts with an acknowledgement of a united party and the leadership of President Obama:
It is really a great delight to be here with all of you and with my fellow candidates. I want to congratulate all of the inductees, and Andy, thank you for all that you're doing to bring back the Democratic Party in Iowa.She then makes the politics personal, reflecting on her new role as a grandmother and the transformative impact of her mother on her own life:
Just look around this room and you can see that Democrats are united, we're energized, and we are ready to win this election!
Now you know, and I do as well, that elections are always about the future. But this time I feel that even more powerfully. Maybe it's because our country has worked so hard to come back from the financial crisis.
With President Obama's leadership and the determination of the American people, we're standing again. But we're not yet running the way America should, and now we have to choose whether we're going to return to the failed top-down policies that wrecked our economy before, or move forward to chart a stronger, fairer, more prosperous future.
Now maybe it is the grandmother in me, but this is deeply personal. There's something about becoming a grandparent. It is truly transformational. Some of you know what I am talking about. It anchors you in the present, and you suddenly have this incredible, amazing little person who commands a lot of attention.She then pivots to drawing serious contrasts between the two parties:
But it also forces you to think about the future in a new way. What kind of world will be waiting for her? What kind of country will we have when she becomes an adult, and what are our responsibilities to shape it?
I'm thinking a lot these days about my own mother and what she did for me. Abandoned and mistreated by her own family, she was out on her own by fourteen, working as a housemaid. But she didn't give in to bitterness or despair.
And I remember asking her, "How did you keep your resilience? How did you keep your faith in the goodness of people and a future that would be better than the past?"
And here's what she said.
Someone along the way believed she mattered. The first grade teacher who saw that she had nothing to eat at lunch, and without embarrassing her, brought extra food to share. The woman whose house she cleaned, suggesting she go to high school, so long as her work was done.
And because those people believed in her, she was able to believe in me, and to give me the great gift of believing in others and in our country.
So my mother wasn't surprised that my first job out of law school was at the Children's Defense Fund. She wasn't surprised that I've spent my life fighting for women, children, families, and our country. After all, that's what she taught me to do. And she never stopped pushing me to fight harder for others to have the same opportunities she never had.
I can still hear her saying, "Life's not about what happens to you. It's about what you do with what happens to you. So get back out there." And that's why I'm here with you today. That's why I'm so determined to build a better future, not just for my granddaughter, but for all of our children and grandchildren.
And that's why I'm never going to let the Republicans rip away the progress we have made.Then she contrasts her economic agenda with those of Jeb Bush and his fellow Republicans:
You know, we Democrats are in the future business. But from the Republican candidates for president, we see the opposite. Now they may have some fresh faces, but they are the party of the past.
We Democrats, we look at America and we see limitless potential. We believe in a basic bargain. If you work hard and do your part, you should be able to get ahead and stay ahead. And we believe that the measure of our success should be how much incomes rise for hardworking families, not just for CEOs and money managers.
Well, Republicans believe something very different. Their answer is always the same. Cut taxes for the super wealthy, let big corporations write their own rules. That's it.
Trickle down economics has to be one of the worst ideas of the 1980's. It is right up there with New Coke, shoulder pads, and big hair. I lived through it, and there are photographs, and we're not going back to that.
This past Monday, I laid out an agenda for raising incomes so hardworking Americans can afford a middle class life. An agenda for strong growth, fair growth, and long term growth. That will be my mission from the first day I'm president to the last. And this campaign has to be about how we unlock the potential of every American, because that is how we unlock the potential of America itself.
Now I'm having a great debate already with Republicans about what that means for our country. In the past week, Governor Bush scrambled to explain his statement that Americans need to work longer hours. He now says he just wants part time workers to be able to find full time jobs.On to growing the economy through breaking down barriers for women:
Well, so do I. There's just one problem. His policies, and the policies of all these Republican candidates, would make that harder.
Giving more tax cuts to those at the top won't do anything for those part time workers. Rolling back rules for Wall Street will not help families get ahead. And getting rid of the Affordable Care Act certainly won't help entrepreneurs. Just ask the folks in the sharing economy.
Americans don't need lectures. They need raises!
So if Republicans really want to help us, why don't they join us in breaking down the barriers, so more Americans can enter and succeed in the workforce, especially women.Our values go beyond money and the fight for LGBT equality goes beyond marriage:
Now, I know when I talk about this, some people think - I can see it in their eyes - "There she goes again with the women's issues." Well, I'm not going to stop, so get ready for a long campaign.
You see, I have this old fashioned idea that we can't afford to leave anybody on the sidelines, and women who want to work should be able to do so without worrying every day about how they're going to take care of their child, or what will happen if a family member gets sick.
That's not a luxury. It's a growth strategy.
Paid leave. Earned sick days. Childcare. Minimum wage. These are not women's issues. They're family issues and they're economic issues.
So I will keep fighting for them and ask you to join. And I'm going to keep fighting for equal pay, because when women get shortchanged, families get shortchanged. And when families get shortchanged, our economy and our country get shortchanged.
Unlocking potential, though, goes beyond dollars and cents. It really is about our values. How we treat each other. The kind of country we want to build.On immigration, Trump is a disgrace but not an outlier, as he represents his party's policies:
On that historic day last month, when marriage equality became the law of the land, Republican candidates were complaining, not cheering. We even heard a call for abolishing the Supreme Court itself.
Instead of trying to turn the clock back, Republicans should be joining us in saying, loudly and clearly, "No! to discrimination, once and for all." LGBT Americans should be free not just to marry, but to live, learn, and work just like everybody else.
And then there's immigration. We've heard a lot recently from the new Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump. Finally, a candidate whose hair gets more attention than mine.Connecting reproductive rights to the right of collective bargaining:
But there's nothing funny about the hate that he is spewing toward immigrants and their families. It really is shameful.
And so is the fact that it took weeks for most of his fellow Republican candidates to stand up to him. The sad truth is that if you look at many of their policies, it is hard to tell the difference.
Just look across the border in Wisconsin. Governor Walker kicked off his campaign by rolling back reproductive rights for women and stripping union workers of their rights.Bringing it on home to Iowa, where the governor stands in the way of meeting the state's educational needs and mental illness challenges:
We don't need any more politicians who shame and blame women for making our own reproductive health decisions or attacking unions for fighting for middle class jobs.
And I know there are challenges right here in Iowa because you've been talking to me about them.Attacking Republicans again on Wall Street regulations, and eviscerating them on climate change:
Just listen to this. Iowa has fewer than 750 beds for more than 128,000 people in your state with serious mental illnesses. Families worry about relatives who need help and can't get it, and the Iowans I talk to don't understand why your governor would veto a bipartisan compromise without funding a viable alternative.
And that's not all. The governor also said no to investing in Iowa's students, teachers, and schools.
So tonight I'm adding my voice to yours. Governor Branstad, put down your veto pen. Iowa families don't need a standoff. They need solutions!
That's why we can't let Republicans take us back like they're trying to do.Nationalizing the election by planting the Democratic party firmly on the side of the American worker. She wants a pantsuit with long coattails:
We are not going back to trickle down economics or the Wild West on Wall Street.
We're not going back to insurance companies charging women more for the same coverage.
We're not going back to denying climate change. If you ask most of these Republican candidates about that, they'll say, "Sorry! I'm not a scientist."
Well then, why don't they start listening to those who are scientists!
Look, I'm not a scientist, either. I'm just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain, and I'm not gonna let them take us backwards.
So please, Iowa Democrats, join me!
Let's build up our party in every corner of this state and country. Elect Democrats at every level. Take back school boards and statehouses all the way to the White House.
I'm running to make our country work for you and for every American.
For the struggling, the striving, and the successful.
For the factory workers and the food servers who have taken care of us tonight.
For the veterans who served our country.
For the farmers who feed us and the small business owners who take a risk.
For the nurses who work the night shift and the truckers who drive for hours.And the big finish, promising to fight for everyone and shatter the highest glass ceiling, once and for all:
I am running for everyone who has ever been knocked down but refused to be knocked out.
I'm running for you.
We're gonna build an America where we don't leave anyone out or anyone behind.
Where you work hard and do your part, you will get ahead.
And where a father can tell his daughter, "Yes. You can be anything you want to be, even President of the United States."
Thank you all very much!