For the last night of the 2012 DNC convention, 6th District Congressman Jim Clyburn took the podium. His charge is to fire up the troops.“We ought to be upbeat, we ought to as I see we have done now embrace Obamacare. Let’s lay out for the American people what it is that we’ve done with this president and the democrats in Congress, and let’s go out to the public and run on that. We’ll try to get the crowd up, ready to go.”
The lone Democrat in the congressional delegation, Clyburn wants state Democrats to turn their energies to helping North Carolina and Virginia, two key swing states.
This is his fourth national convention speech, and follows the night that former President Bill Clinton commanded the stage –and bipartisan kudos— for 48 minutes.
Clyburn says he thought that former President Clinton did a masterful job in making the case to finish the economic recovery.
“Last night we got a good explanation, or maybe a ‘splaining.’ As we say in Gullah-Geechee, you’ve got to ‘splain it. He explained it last night and now I think the president will build upon that and show his vision for the future,” he says.
Clyburn says he expects that President Obama will get a significant bump from the convention, but realistically he does not expect it to last long in a race that will remain hotly contested. “I think it will last until October 3, which I think is the date for the first debate; that’s when we’ll see real momentum building one way or the other starting out with the end of the first debate, and we’ll see what goes from there.”
Clyburn’s prepared speech:
Fifty-two years ago, President Kennedy accepted our party’s nomination saying, “We are not here to curse the darkness; we are here to light a candle.” This is the fundamental difference between the party of President Obama and the party of Romney-Ryan. President Obama has lit candle after candle, bringing our country out from the darkness of recession, only to see Republicans douse the flames and amuse themselves cursing the darkness. The Romney-Ryan Republicans, however, have walked away from bi-partisan efforts to find responsible approaches to moving this country forward, bringing only more darkness.
The architect of the Republicans’ backward blueprint is none other than their vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan. The Romney-Ryan plan will cut taxes for the wealthiest one percent, end the guarantee of Medicare and seek to balance the budget on the backs of hard-working Americans.
When too many of our senior citizens were living their golden years in the darkness of economic insecurity, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt and a Democratic Congress created Social Security, lighting a candle while the Republicans cursed the darkness. When too many of our elderly found their lives darkened by unaffordable and inaccessible healthcare, Lyndon Johnson and a Democratic Congress lit the candles of Medicare and Medicaid while Republicans stood on the sidelines and cursed the darkness. When the economy of our country languished in uncertainty, William Jefferson Clinton and a Democratic Congress lit the candles that illuminated the pathway to prosperity, reducing the deficit and creating over 20 million jobs. And we did so with—that’s right—every congressional Republican cursing the darkness.
When President Obama was sworn into office, our economy was losing over 700,000 jobs per month. Affordable quality care for all Americans was an unfulfilled, century-old pursuit. Bin Laden was plotting attacks while our troops were bogged down in Iraq.
So President Obama went to work lighting candles. He promised to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. Done! He promised to end the war in Iraq. Done! He promised to make membership in Al-Qaeda a high-risk occupation and begin winding down the war in Afghanistan. Done!
And he championed a veterans job corps to put our returning heroes back to work.
President Obama’s actions saved jobs throughout the automobile industry; 1.1 million jobs overall. Now, Ford and Chrysler are making record profits again and General Motors is back to number one. And President Obama’s courage made affordable, accessible, quality health care a right, not a privilege. We should not run from the term Obamacare. I am glad Obama cares. Because Obama cares, children born with diabetes can no longer be denied coverage on their parents’ insurance policies. People with catastrophic illnesses can no longer be dropped from coverage when they get sick. Families will no longer have their benefits capped.
Romans 13, verse 12 tells us: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Let us go from this place, lighting candles all across this great country and re-elect President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden so they can continue moving our country forward into the light.