Back in the salad days of 1992 I wrote a stump speech for Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa who was then running for president. The campaign liked it, wanted to use it, but Harkin dropped out of the race shortly after. Great timing, John. So here’s another one for President Joe. The independents are frustrated with him, largely because he doesn’t really speak to their issues.
My fellow Americans . . . and all those who didn’t vote for me:
Today, let’s talk about some painful issues, things that have come about in your lives and mine that are a little uncomfortable to speak about. I’m talking about the personal costs of inflation, the global economy, and the dreadful state of our politics.
I’m not going to give you an “America the beautiful” approach today. Inflation, I know, is what’s affecting all of us. It can be brutal—especially for those with low incomes. And it continues to rise unabated. The Consumer Price Index has jumped at an 8.2 percent annual rate—and that’s a 40-year high.
Compared to a year ago, food prices have gone up 11.2 percent. What I want to tell you is that this isn’t just an American problem. It’s global. You’ve heard the stories about famine in under-developed countries. People in our own country continue to go hungry.
Fires, famine and floods don’t have to be part of the human condition.
But inflation affects the price of most everything, not just food. Rising rent costs are driving many protests. Healthcare costs rose nearly 1 percent in September, the most in two years. New cars and most consumer goods cost more. I know: I’m telling you what you already know.
How to fix this? It won’t be easy. The Federal Reserve is working to get more people employed, but that can be a long haul. Claims of unemployment have jumped dramatically in states hard hit by the recent hurricanes. The labor market is very tight. Republicans have offered no—I repeat no—provisions to deal with any of this. They’d rather scare you with talk about how crime has taken over the country. Yet our most immediate goal must be to stabilize the economy.
Pocketbook and life issues are central to that. Covid is not beaten and could be merely in recession. And rising American healthcare costs are going to cripple the economy. We have to get them under control, but frankly that depends on winning you over to vote with us in the midterms and beyond. The opposition has no plans to fix our healthcare. For them, it’s not a right but just another business.
Ditto with gun control and abortion, the personal freedom issues of our times. The upcoming elections will determine whether we can make abortion legal again through new legislation. We simply must do this!
What I’m asking is that you simply vote for freedom over obstruction. Republican opposition leaves no room for compromise. And their obstruction begins and ends with Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories. The Big Lie about the 2020 election basically proposes a vast conspiracy to defraud the voters. If you believe in that, I have another bridge to sell you.
I won’t berate you here with the accomplishments of my administration. That doesn’t cut much ice when many of you are concerned with putting food on the table. I also know that many of you don’t want to return to the chaos and anxiety of the Trump years. As Americans, you know that we can do better, much better.
With your help we will do better! Thanks for listening.