When I was writing Obamagrams, I regularly urged everyone to not only listen to speeches Obama gave, but to read those speeches as well. The combination of the two gave you a much deeper understanding of Barack’s thinking than you could get from either in isolation.
Similarly, for those of you who haven’t done so already, I urge you to listen to at least some portion of some of Pete Buttigieg’s talks, and then read those portions, too.
In this Post and my next one, I will suggest doing just that, first with his speech announcing his candidacy in April in South Bend and then, in my next Post, his foreign policy speech in June. The latter is particularly relevant in light of recent events.
In 2007, I passed along the full text of Barack’s speech in 2002, declaring his opposition to the Iraq war. I said then that it was a “true measure of this man’s judgement and eloquence” because he wrote it “long before he had a fleet of advisors and speechwriters.”
The same can be said of Pete’s first speech as a candidate written without a fleet of advisors and speechwriters. After all, he has been writing his own political opinion pieces since he was a student at Harvard.
The following are some excerpts from the written text. You will note Pete’s gift for narrative and the primacy he places on values before policies. As he said in an interview around that time, “You know, our party has this tendency to lead with the policies. First, we’ve got to explain our values.”
Thank you to my fellow mayors, Mayor Cabaldon, Mayor Whaley, and Mayor Adler [all of whom introduced him], and all of the current and former mayors here today [more than 50 mayors have endorsed him.]…
I’m here today…to tell a different story than “Make America Great Again.”
Because there is a myth being sold to industrial and rural communities: the myth that we can stop the clock and turn it back…It comes from people who think the only way to reach communities like ours is through resentment and nostalgia, selling an impossible promise of returning to a bygone era that was never as great as advertised to begin with. The problem is, they’re telling us to look for greatness in all the wrong places…
The forces of change in our country today are tectonic. Forces that help to explain what made this current presidency even possible. That’s why, this time, it’s not just about winning an election — it’s about winning an era.
Not just about the next four years — it’s about preparing our country for a better life in 2030, in 2040, and in the year 2054, when, God willing, I will come to be the same age as our current President.
I take the long view because I have to. I come from the generation that grew up with school shootings as the norm, the generation that produced the bulk of the troops in the post-9/11 conflicts, the generation that is going to be on the business end of climate change for as long as we live…
The principles that will guide my campaign are simple enough to fit on a bumper sticker: freedom, security, and democracy [emphases added].
First comes freedom…Our conservative friends care about freedom, but only make it part of the journey. They only see “freedom from.” Freedom from taxes, freedom from regulation …[But] health care is freedom…Consumer protection is freedom…Racial justice is freedom…Women’s equality is freedom…
Now let’s talk about security. The idea that security and patriotism belong to one political party needs to end now.
We are here to say there’s a lot more to security than putting up a wall from sea to shining sea…Security means cybersecurity…And let’s pick our heads up to face what might be the great security issue of our time, climate change and disruption…So let’s call this what it is, climate security, a life and death issue for our generation.
Freedom. Security. And now let’s talk about democracy. Because no issue we care about …will be handled well unless our democracy is in better shape. It’s not democratic enough if legitimate voters are denied the opportunity to exercise their rights…And we can’t say it’s much of a democracy when twice in my lifetime, the Electoral College has overruled the American people…
The horror show in Washington is mesmerizing, all-consuming. But starting today, we are going to change the channel. Sometimes a dark moment brings out the best in us. What is good in us. Dare I say, what is great in us. I believe in American greatness. I believe in American values. And I believe that we can guide this country and one another to a better place…
We stand on the shoulders of optimistic women and men. Women and men who knew that optimism is not a lack of knowledge, but a source of courage. It takes courage to move on from the past…
After all, running for office, itself, is an act of hope. This afternoon, are you not hopeful? Don’t we live in a country that can overcome the bleakness of this moment? Are you ready to turn the page and write a new chapter in the American story?
Please find the full speech attached to this email. Pete Buttigieg Campaign Kickoff Speech 4-14-19
By both listening to and reading Pete’s speeches, you will get a fuller appreciation for his values, the quality of his thinking, and his extraordinary ability to communicate them.
I will pass along his foreign policy speech in a few days. It was delivered in June, but couldn’t be more timely for the chaotic moment we’re living through right now.
Please, as always, pass it along.