And the crowd roared
Local Democrats were excited about the selection of Jim Webb to give the Democratic response to the State of the Union address. We bumped up the time of our meeting last night so that we could go to a bar together afterwards and watch. They gave us the whole back room, and free chicken wings, and we ate and drank and critiqued the president. And then we fell silent when it was Jim Webb's turn. And then he said this.
On both of these vital issues, our economy and our national security, it falls upon those of us in elected office to take action.
Regarding the economic imbalance in our country, I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20th century. America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines. The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt.
Roosevelt spoke strongly against these divisions. He told his fellow Republicans that they must set themselves as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other. And he did something about it.
As I look at Iraq, I recall the words of former general and soon-to-be President Dwight Eisenhower during the dark days of the Korean War, which had fallen into a bloody stalemate. "When comes the end?" asked the general who had commanded our forces in Europe during World War II. And as soon as he became president, he brought the Korean War to an end.
These presidents took the right kind of action, for the benefit of the American people and for the health of our relations around the world. Tonight we are calling on this president to take similar action, in both areas. If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way.
And the room erupted. You should have heard them roar.