President Obama’s speech to the nation Monday night, August 1st:

“My fellow Americans.  Tonight I have signed an order raising the debt ceiling for the next two years.  I have taken this extraordinary step because I had no other choice.  My duties under our Constitution include being commander-in-chief of our armed forces.  Our forces are presently engaged in two long wars as well as hostilities in North Africa.  I have taken a solemn oath to ‘preserve, protect, and defend’ our Constitution.  To jeopardize in any way the well being of our troops, especially while in conflict, to endanger their pay and the housing and care of their families, to place in doubt our ability to pay for the care of the wounded, to place in doubt all the logistical support armies in the field depend on, would not only be unconscionable, it would be unconstitutional.

“My counsel and some of the finest Constitutional scholars in the land have expressed ambivelence about this step.  There will be time for them, and our judicial branch, to debate, and quite possibly overrule, my decision.  But that will take time and we do not have time.  Lives are at stake.  I know with certainty that at least one segment of American society, the parents and loved ones of our brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines serving abroad, will understand and hopefully support this extraordinary action.

“This must be made clear: I do not support any notion of what some have called an ‘imperial presidency’ or executive authority that unbalances our Constitutional balance of powers.  But when Congress cannot or will not act, and when the lives of our forces in conflict are at stake, I must exercise the full responsibilities of the office I have undertaken to execute.  I simply have no other choice.  And I fully expect those Justices of our Supreme Court who have previously defended extraordinary executive power to understand and appreciate the necessity of this action in our nation’s security interest.

“No American is more confident than I in our elected representatives resuming  their legislative responsibilities.  When extreme passions are spent, and angers and frustrations at our purposefully convoluted democratic process run their inevitable course, Congress will once again do its duty.  And to all those in various movements and the media who find it convenient to blame ‘Washington’ for our troubles, let me remind you that the President and everyone in Congress were elected by a majority of the voters in the nation or in their respective States and districts.  We are you.  And you are us.  We are here because you sent us here.  And neither a  single individual nor small group of zealots should or will dominate our process or dictate the national interest.  No single group should or will have its way.

“I close tonight with this prayer: God in heaven protect our troops, the dedicated young men and women who defend our country.  Be with them and guide and protect them and all those they defend in foreign lands.  Bring them home safe…and soon.  And as you do, dear God, please continue to bless this land, even when we have not deserved your blessing.”

21 Responses to ““Preserve, protect, and defend””

  1. Dennis Says:

    Well said, Mr. President. The Nation stands behind you, once again.

  2. Curtis E. Mulkey Says:

    Very good Speech Senator, too bad we will never hear it. To stand up in front of the American People,( through a Camera lens) and give that Speech would require a “Leader” and the only one of those in the White House has the #2 job.

  3. Pat Boice Says:

    Excellent! I would support such a speech!

  4. Paul K Says:

    A righteous, and right-headed, approach that shouldn’t seem radical at all. Thanks for this… the costs of leadership should always equal or exceed the costs of being led. The benefits surely do.

  5. Michael Sullivan Says:

    Nicely done–and far & away my policy preference given what else is on the table–but this President isn’t going there.

  6. Giacomella Milesi Ferretti Says:

    Great speech Gary!! you really hit the nail about the total absurdity of the US foreign policy that brought the country to such a terrible economic crisis… Obama would never admit it and he is fighting for “his” survival as President and is unable to provide any positive change to the difficult conditions of the majority of the American population… sadly all this will also affect the rest of the world, as all economies are waiting the outcome of the decisions that will be taken in Washington before August 2! Did Obama ever consider the chaos that his decisions were carrying for other nations besides the US? I mean by this waging unending wars, increasing US military presence in the occupied countries, bombing Libya, and ignoring the consequences these actions would bear on the US, and on the rest of the world too… he forgot too easily the promises he made during his presidential campaign and first days at the WH!

  7. Jeff D Says:

    Hear, hear!

  8. MinerSam Says:

    Since, to avoid increasing the annual deficit, and therefore a growing debt the President would have had to:

    1)Kept the $Trillions the Republicans PUT into Enron style off balance debt. (Enron was GWB’s largest contributor along w/the Moonies & jailed Abromov) INSTEAD President Obama put the Republican hidden debt back into the budget!

    2)Would have had to end Iraq the day he entered office & brought back 24million pieces of equipment. A logistical impossibility!

    3)Would have had to End Prescription drugs for seniors the day he entered office which the Republicans ramrodded through at 6:15 AM to get Seniors
    to vote for Bush’s second term. Where Republicans made it illegal for OUR
    Government (largest customer of health care) to Negotiate Volume Discounts like Walmart does every day of the week. Which paid Drug companies 114% of normal price, and is slated to increase our debt by 8Trillion over time.

    4)Would have had to do the same as the Republicans did in Afghanistan in 1989 i.e. after arming people, I.E., abruptly leave making the US look like a None Self Aware idiotic giant — which in 1989 gave those who became
    the Taliban & aLqaeda the chutzpah to believe they could destroy US the
    way they believe they destroyed the USSR!

    And since Obama did not do all those unrealistic and foolish things some may
    not realize that Obama is a rational none Idealistic Intelligent Leader. Which I believe he is who, unlike the No Nuance and Proud of it Mr. Bush, is able to walk and chew gum, and does, as Clinton did, want to USE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THE HARD THINGS to preserve Social Security and Medicare for the long term THROUGH LOGIC & REASON. And that this is why he has not just stepped in and used the 14th amendment.

    Let’s not forget that 87% of the debt was wracked up by the Republicans. Where were Wolf Blitzer, Judy Woodruff, David Gregory not to mention the
    Murdoch/Linbough/norquest/hanity Republican Lie machine when the Republicans were sending pallet-fulls of Hundred dollar bills to Iraq to pay bogus Texas companies.

    Where were they when The Republicans were collecting 1.5Trillion in Social Security SURPLUS and giving it to upper income while ONLY 9% was going into US jobs. The rest of the tax cut money drove up Commodities like Oil which drove up the cost of US manufacturing, or in it’s search for “Yield” bought up packages of Chopped up subprime mortgages, while people like Trump was running workshops, all over the country, on how to buy Real Estate in the morning and sell it in the afternoon. Which brought us a Huge oversupply of Real Estate and created huge
    job loss from the bust.

    But one big Republican Lie that goes unchallanged on every station as a means of getting average Americans busy with their lives who are not psychic to vote Republican is: “When Government spends it crowds out the private sector” This is
    one product of the Republican dumming down of America by the by the Gas&Oil Party which destroys everything they touch. Including the Government We the People Pay to protect our quality of life and standards of living!

    =Screaming into the Wind.

  9. Jim Engelking Says:

    If only President Obama had it in him. He is a good man, an intelligent, honorable, well-meaning man. He was dealt a worse hand than he even suspected. But he has yet to show Presidential mettle in political combat.

  10. Matters of Principle, Gary Hart 07/31/11 « Machimon Says:

    […] “Preserve, protect, and defend” […]

  11. Gary Hart Says:

    NBC News just carried a story of Admiral Mike Mullen, chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressing troops in Afghanistan. Their greatest concern? Whether they were going to be paid so they could support their families. This is outrageous for the mightiest military power in human history. Shame on all responsible for the debt crisis–both those who created it and those who refuse to pay for it. If for this reason alone, the President should raise the debt ceiling unilaterally. This isn’t about finances or even ideology. It is about an honorable nation living up to its most fundamental obligations and responsibilities.

  12. Michael Fish Canada Says:

    Thanks for the speech. Unfortunately Obama won’t give it. Here is what he wrote in the Audacity of Hope. Copied from comments to Paul Krugman’s blog this afternoon.

    Comment No 13. by Vastleft MA July 31st, 2011 3:20 pm

    in part…. From “The Audacity of Hope” by Barak Obama:

    “That Reagan’s message found such a receptive audience spoke not only to his skills as a communicator; it also spoke to the failures of liberal government, during a period of economic stagnation, to give middle-class voters any sense that it was fighting for them. For the fact was that government at every level had become too cavalier about spending taxpayer money. Too often, bureaucracies were oblivious to the cost of their mandates. A lot of liberal rhetoric did seem to value rights and entitlements over duties and responsibilities.

    …by promising to side with those who worked hard, obeyed the law, cared for their families, and loved their country, Reagan offered Americans a sense of a common purpose that liberals seemed no longer able to muster. And the more his critics carped, the more those critics played into the role he’d written for them—a band of out-of-touch, tax-and-spend, blame-America-first, politically correct elites.”

    Recommended Recommended by 29 Readers

    That is the real man that Americans elected to clean up the mess left by the Bushes and Reagan. No Surprises there. Eh? Michael Fish Canada

  13. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    Senator Hart, thank you once again for your excellent insight and brilliant writing. Your added comment brings to mind an ongoing discussion that I have with many of my friends who have served in some branch of the US Military, mostly during the Viet Nam Era. We are all distressed and disgusted that so many current members of Congress have never served this wonderful country in a military capacity, nor have any of their children. These people, who are making life and death decisions regarding the wonderful men and women who have chosen to serve in the military and are ready to give their lives for our nation, at times seem to act as if our military personnel are pawns in the political chess game of life and are expendable. Not one single life is expendable, especially for a decision made by someone who has never put their own life or the life of one of their children on the line. For the current members of Congress to have so little regard for our service men and women as to play power games for their own person gain is appalling. Some of the items that have been added to the budget are not worth even being considered and should not be allowed, such as a balanced budget amendment requirement by the Republican ultra-conservatives. They had control of the white House for 20 of the last 30 years and never proposed a balanced budget once. Seven out of the eight budgets that President Clinton got passed were balanced and even reduced the deficit. Not a single Republican budget has reduced the deficit, but all have increased it. They only want a balanced budget when a Democrat is in the White House. Stop playing games and pass a reasonable budget.

  14. Steve O Says:

    Senator Hart, you continually demonstrate that I was right to campaign for you starting back in 1983. I am so saddened that we do not seem to have any statesmen leading our government. Abraham Lincoln’s words have never rang more true: ““A statesman is he who thinks in the future generations, and a politician is he who thinks in the upcoming elections.”

  15. Bob McBarton Says:

    Nicely done.

  16. Forest Book Says:

    I would like to recommend a book: “Psychological Operations and Political Warfare in Long-Term Strategic Planning” by Janos Radvanyi :: Clearly its working.

  17. 201SweetP Says:

    Even if he made that speech it is a little too late

  18. Tim Stevens Says:

    If you suport a thoughtful guy that does not win, to fight the good fight is a victory in it’s self reguardless of the percieved outcome. But to win the power and responsibility to govern and in 3 years turn that bottom up change, hope, and yes we can spirt into we had to or they would ( fill in threat here ) is hard to accept, or believe in. Better a mans fate who tries and fails than one who wins and acquiesesce what was won. It’s not 2012 yet. Government at its best? Take Back America

  19. The debt ceiling and the best speech never given | Philologos Says:

    […] The following comes from former Colorado Senator (1975-1987) Gary Hart. This may very well be the best speech on the debt-ceiling never given: President Obama’s speech to the nation Monday night, August […]

  20. Sandwichman Says:

    Dear Senator Hart,

    I am investigating extensive plagiarism by the confessed Oslo terrorist, Anders Breivik, from work written and/or edited by William S. Lind, who was your co-author on the 1985 book, “America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform.” As Mr. Lind’s “philosophy” appears to have played a key role in Breivik’s professed motive, I expect that his background will be coming under increased scrutiny from the media and possibly Norwegian justice and security authorities. I am writing to inform you of the current facts known.

    Pages 11 to 37 of Anders Breivik’s (“Andrew Berwick”) “2083: A European Declaration of Independence” are taken almost word-for-word from the 2004 pamphlet, “Political Correctness: A Short History of an Ideology” edited by William Lind and published by Paul Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation. The two texts are roughly 95% identical. Furthermore, this introductory section constitutes the ideological framework, which the rest of Breivik’s manifesto elaborates from sources that frequently have themselves been based on the Lind/FCF cultural conservative “Political Correctness = multiculturalism = Cultural Marxism = Frankfurt School = evil design to destroy Western Civilization” thesis.

    The outline of the grand conspiracy alleged by Lind has been traced by several researchers to a 1992 article, “New Dark Age: Frankfurt School and Political Correctness” by Michael Minnicino published in the Lyndon Larouche publication, Fidelio. Minnicino has subsequently recanted his account, attributing his article to cultist pressure to conform to Larouche’s peculiar doctrines. Transmission of the Larouche doctrine to the Weyrich/Lind organization appears to have been effected in an unpublished 1996 “report” on critical theory by far right activist, Raymond V. Raehn. Raehn’s report was cited extensively in a 1997 article by Gerald L. Atkinson, “Who Placed American Men in a Psychic ‘Iron Cage?” Patrick Buchanan, in chapter four of his 2002 book, “The Death of the West” credulously recites the Larouche/Raehn/Atkinson/Lind conspiracy theory, complete with “scholarly” footnotes to Raehn.

    Chip Berlet has done extensive investigative reporting on the origins and dissemination of this Frankfurt School conspiracy theory, as has Bill Berkowitz. Frankfurt School historian, Martin Jay, who was interviewed for a 1999 television broadcast by Lind has written about the experience in a recent issue of Salmagundi. I am including below a collection of links to recent blog posts by Berlet and myself that elaborate on the information summarized above.


    Tom Walker

    Martin Jay’s article in the Fall-Winter 2010-2011 Salmagundi, “Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Franfurt School as Scapegoat of the Lunatic Fringe,” in which Jay tells about his being sandbagged by William S. Lind/Free Congress Foundation television documentary, “Political Correctness: The Frankfurt School.”

    See: “Martin Jay Spills Some Beans!” at Ecological Headstand

    See also Chip Berlet’s and my posts about the extent of Breivik’s plagiarism from Lind’s “Political Correctness: A Short History of an Ideology.”

    Berlet: “Oslo Terrorism Roundup” at Talk to Action

    Berlet: “Updated: Breivik’s Core Thesis is White Christian Nationalism v. Multiculturalism” at Talk to Action

    Sandwichman: “What is Cultural Conservatism?” at Ecological Headstand

    Sandwichman: “Confessions of a Cultural Marxist” at Ecological Headstand

  21. Current National Debt Says:

    Great web site. A lot of useful info here. I’m sending it to several buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks on your sweat!

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