Thursday, June 19, 2008

"This is our time to unite in common purpose, to make this century the next American century."

Earlier this week, Sen. Obama gave another speech on the economy, this time in Flint, MI... a city that exemplifies the economic betrayals of the last few decades. Watch the whole speech (nearly 50 minutes) here-

Matthew Yglesias is really impressed with the vision of economic reform Obama is promising-
[A]s a policy speech it's pretty awesome, one of the best efforts to chart a truly progressive, forward-looking approach to the big picture questions that I've seen from a practical politician. Rather than a world in which we try to whether economic storms by slashing taxes and cutting services to the bone, or by sealing our borders to trade and immigration, Obama is outlining a vision in which government plays a crucial positive role in providing human capital (i.e., education), physical infrastructure, basic R&D, and in putting our energy policy on a sustainable basis.

This is the clearest example I've seen of Obama as education reformer, talking about universal preschool and investing more resources in the most challenging classrooms, but also noting that "resources alone won't create the schools that we need to help our children succeed" and we "need to encourage innovation – by adopting curricula and the school calendar to the needs of the 21st century; by updating the schools of education that produce most of our teachers; by welcoming charter schools within the public schools system, and streamlining the certification process for engineers or businesspeople who want to shift careers and teach."

With the economy looking to be front and center this November, and with people becoming more progressive again on the issue, it's no surprise that Sen. McCain has been struggling to avoid the issue, and continue to focus on the cliched national security memes that worked so well for the Republicans... pre-2006 anyway. But the many, severe problems we face are not going away by themselves or by some magical market fix. It'll require people both smart and invested enough in solutions to fix them.

Sen. Obama's ability to convince swing voters that he's that guy will be key to victory.


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