New York Sen. Hillary Clinton gave a wide-ranging speech in Colorado on July 10, 2005, at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival.
She said we should stay in Iraq until the Iraqis can run their own government, that America needs to get serious about weaning itself from dependence on oil by looking into alternative energy technologies, and that we are living in an age of discovery, citing the coming wave of nanotechnology and artificial intelligence,
None of that made headlines, however. Her speech made “news” because of this quote:
“I sometimes feel that Alfred E. Newman is in charge in Washington,” she joked, getting a warm laugh as she described President Bush’s attitude toward the tough issues of the day as, “What, me worry?”
What followed was a critique of the Bush presidency that was thoughtful, well-reasoned and, of course, true:
She accused Bush of undermining the national economy with deficit spending and huge tax cuts for the wealthy; endangering U.S. soldiers by not giving them the proper equipment to fight the war in Iraq; and harming the nation’s historic role as a leader in scientific research and technological innovation by slashing funding for such efforts.
“There has not yet been one net job created in the last four years,” she continued, arguing that the Bush administration has concentrated on helping the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
That middle class, she said, is now threatened by the ailing economy, which is suffering from everything from a burgeoning national debt (she called America the “largest debtor nation the world has ever known”), to the loss of manufacturing diversity, rising health care costs, loss of pensions in many sectors and other causes.
“You can find rich people anywhere in the world,” she said. “But you can’t find the American middle class anywhere else in the world.
“There’s no overwhelming crisis – we’re just slowly being eroded day by day.”
But none of that made the news either.