Thursday, October 30, 2008

Harry Truman - 60th Anniversary of "The Greatest Campaign Speech"

Sixty years ago today, President Harry Truman made what some consider the best Democratic campaign speech ever.

"I have told the people that there is just one big issue in this campaign and that's the people against the special interests.

The Republicans stand for special interests, and they always have.

The Democratic Party, which I now head, stands for the people--and always has stood for the people."

"Of all the fake campaigns, this one is the tops, so far as the Republican candidate for President is concerned. He has been following me up and down this country making speeches about home and mother and unity and efficiency, and things of that kind. He won't talk about the issues, but he did let his foot slip, when he endorsed the 80th Congress. He endorsed that Congress! He said that Congress had done great things for the future of this country.

It has done great things for the special interests in this country. It has worked for the lobbies, the worst lobby outfits in the history of the United States have been in Washington, surrounding that 80th Congress. And they haven't done a thing that these good-for-nothing lobbies haven't asked them to do."

"Then I asked this Congress to do something about the health of the people of this country. I asked them for health insurance. I asked them for hospitals. You know, in this country there are two classes of people that get all the medical care that they ought to have; and that is the fellow who has got a million dollars at this end of the scale, and the fellow that hasn't got a cent at this end. But the people in the middle, the large number of people in the middle between those two classes, can't afford to go to a hospital, they can't afford to pay what it costs, sometimes; and they can't afford sometimes even to pay the doctor's bill, after they get service.

I wanted an insurance program that would work, so that a fellow would have a little money saved up, when it came time to pay medical and hospital bills, and the doctor and the hospital would get paid promptly. But the Republicans are against that. They say that's socialized medicine. Well, it isn't. That's just good commonsense, and some of these days we are going to get it, because the Democrats are going back in power, and we are going to see that we get it."

"People are waking up that the tide is beginning to roll, and I am here to tell you that if you do your duty as citizens of the greatest Republic the sun has ever shone on, we will have a Government that will be for your interests, that will be for peace in the world, and for the welfare of all the people, and not just a few."

It is one of the best enunciations of core Democratic principles I've ever heard and should be required reading for all progressives. The audio is mesmerizing.

Here's the complete text.

Catch you later.....

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