Springsteen Stumps for Obama in Parma, Ohio

Here is some of what he had to say yesterday. 

I’m here today for Ohio, and for President Obama, and because for 30 years I’ve been writing about the distance between the American dream and American reality. I’ve been gauging that distance through a big part of my life. I’ve seen it from inside and oustide: as a blue-collar kid from a working-class home in New Jersey — where my parents struggled, not always successfully, to make ends meet — to the Ninth Ward in New Orleans after Katrina, to meeting folks from food pantries all around the United States, working daily to help our struggling citizens through the hard times we’ve been suffering through.

Our vote — our vote is the one principal way we get to determine that distance in that equation. Voting matters. Elections matter. Think of the events of the last 12 years and try to convince yourself they don’t. We get an individual hand in shaping the kind of America we want our kids to grow up in.

I’m a dad, I’ve got three kids, I’m 63… and I’ve lived through some galvanizing moments in American history: the Civil Rights struggle, the peace movement, times when you could feel the world shifting under your feet. I remember President Obama’s election night was an evening when you could feel the locked doors of the past finally being blown open to new possibilities.

But then comes a hard, daily struggle to make those possibilities real in a world that is brutally resistant to change. We’ve seen that over the past four years; the forces of our opposition have been tireless.

But I came here today because I’m thankful for universal health care, the lack of which was for so long an embarrassment to our country. I’m thankful for a more regulated Wall Street. I’m thankful GM is still making cars. What else would I write about?! I’d have no job without that!

I’m here today because I’m concerned about women’s rights. I don’t have to tell you about the dangers to Roe v. Wade under our opponent’s policies.

I’m also here today because of the continuing disparity in wealth between our best-off citizens and our everyday citizens. That’s a disparity that I believe our honorable opponents’ policies will only increase and that threatens to divide us into two distinct and foreign nations, until many of us are going to end up like a song I wrote in the 1980s, “Jackson Cage”: “just the scenery in another man’s play.” If we marginalize so many of our citizens, their talents, their energies, their voices will go unfound and unheard. We will lose their contributions to this great land of ours; we will impoverish ourselves and set ourselves on the road to decline. So their opportunities must be protected, and I think President Obama understands this.

And I’m here today because I’ve lived long enough to know that despite those galvanizing moments in history, the future is rarely a tide rushing in. It’s often a slow march, inch by inch, day after long day, and I believe we are in the midst of those long days right now. And I’m here because I believe President Obama feels those days in his bone, for all 100 percent of us. I believe he’s got the strength, the commitment, and the vision to live these days with us, and to carry the standard forward toward a country where, as I’ve written, “nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone.”

Dionne: Ideological Hypocrites

How can the GOP presidential candidates claim to be “free market virgins” when:

  • They have been drawing government paychecks for years?
  • They seek government “largesse” for their constituencies?
  • They promise senior citizens never to cut Medicare or Social Security?
  • They support large defense contracts that “are an enormous intrusion in the operation of the free market?”
  • They support government bailouts?  

Read all about it in today’s E.J. Dionne column.

Here is a taste:

Can conservatives finally face the fact that they actually want quite a lot from government, and that they are simply unwilling to raise taxes to pay for it?

This is why our political system is so broken. Conservatives keep pretending that they can keep anti-government promises that they know perfectly well they are destined to break. We won’t have sensible politics again until our friends on the right bring their rhetorical claims into closer alignment with what they do — and what it takes to make government work.

This Week’s Patheos Column: Seeing the Hand of God in Natural Disasters

In case you missed it, Pat Robertson believes last week’s East Coast earthquake is a sign from God. According to the Virginia televangelist, the 4-foot crack in the Washington Monument has a spiritual meaning. “It seems to me,” he told his 700 Club audience, that “the Washington Monument is a symbol of America’s power . . . We look at the symbol and we say ‘this is one nation under God.’ Now there’s a crack in it . . . Is that a sign from the Lord? . . . You judge. It seems to me symbolic.”

Robertson is not the only one who has recently connected natural disasters to God’s judgment. In a campaign stop in Florida this week, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said that God used the earthquake and hurricane Irene to send a message to politicians in Washington. As far as I have been able to decipher it, the message had something to do with stopping deficit spending and listening to the collective voice of the American people who apparently oppose such spending. (The Bachmann campaign claims that she was, oddly, making these comments about the catastrophes in a light-hearted vein.)

A recent survey found that 40 percent of Americans believe that natural disasters are signs from God. If you believe this, you have much of American history on your side. Let me explain.

Read the rest here.