Springsteen’s Obama tribute

Pundits call Bruce Springsteen's rallies for Obama "grudging." They completely miss the poetry of his endorsement

Topics: Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen,

Springsteen's Obama tribute (Credit: AP/Amy Sancetta)

Earlier this year Bruce Springsteen told reporters he didn’t think he’d tour again come election time. He expressed some disappointment with President Obama, but mainly he said politics isn’t his business and he didn’t intend to get involved every cycle. But he’s changed his mind. Today he’s in Parma, Ohio, and Ames, Iowa, performing at rallies for President Obama.

Pundits have noted his earlier reluctance to stump for Obama, and suggested the statement he released on behalf of the president is less than a full-throated endorsement. ABC’s Rick Klein called it “grudging.” I worked myself into a Twitter frenzy trying to prove it was anything but grudging, so I decided to post the whole statement here. It’s sober, factual about the obstacles Obama faced in his first term and yet full of praise for his accomplishments.

Through grit, determination, and focus, the President has been able to do a great many things that many of us deeply support.

Domestically, that record includes working to increase and expand employment for all, protecting our all important social safety net, passing guaranteed health care for most of our citizens, with important new protections for all of the insured, rescuing the auto industry and so many of the American jobs that go with it, protecting and enhancing the rights of women, and bringing us closer to full acceptance of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

In foreign affairs, that record includes following through on the removal of troops from the misguided and deceptive war in Iraq, and vigorously pursuing our real foreign enemies, especially the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

He closes with a chorus of reasons electing Obama is the best choice for the country’s future, that ends:

We’re still living through very hard times but justice, equality and real freedom are not always a tide rushing in. They are more often a slow march, inch by inch, day after long day. I believe President Obama feels these days in his bones and has the strength to live them with us and to lead us to a country “…where no one crowds you and no one goes it alone.”

Eight years ago Springsteen made his first foray into presidential politics and endorsed John Kerry, who lost. He told the New Yorker’s David Remnick why he didn’t plan to get involved this time around: “I did it twice because things were so dire,” he said. “It seemed like if I was ever going to spend whatever small political capital I had, that was the moment to do so. But that capital diminishes the more often you do it. While I’m not saying never, and I still like to support the President, you know, it’s something I didn’t do for a long time, and I don’t have plans to be out there every time.”

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He changed his mind, and I’m glad he did. “The country that we carry in our hearts is waiting,” he said back when he endorsed John Kerry. It’s still waiting, even after Obama’s first term, but Springsteen knows it will recede further into the distance if Mitt Romney wins in November.

Read the whole statement:

Dear Friends:

The election is coming up on all of us and we all have strong feelings about it. I’ve been getting asked a lot about where I stand, so for those who are interested, here goes.

This presidential election is different than the last one because President Obama has a four year record to run on. Last time around, he carried with him a tremendous amount of hope and expectations. Unfortunately, due to the economic chaos the previous administration left him with, and the extraordinary intensity of the opposition, it turned into a really rough ride. But through grit, determination, and focus, the President has been able to do a great many things that many of us deeply support.

Domestically, that record includes working to increase and expand employment for all, protecting our all important social safety net, passing guaranteed health care for most of our citizens, with important new protections for all of the insured, rescuing the auto industry and so many of the American jobs that go with it, protecting and enhancing the rights of women, and bringing us closer to full acceptance of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

In foreign affairs, that record includes following through on the removal of troops from the misguided and deceptive war in Iraq, and vigorously pursuing our real foreign enemies, especially the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Right now the opposition’s resort to voter suppression in so many states is not receiving as much attention as it deserves. I believe that all of us, of whatever views, should be opposing these anti-voter, anti-citizen efforts.

Right now, for the President to be effective in his next term he needs our increased support and he needs support in the Congress, where some sterling candidates, such as current Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, challenger Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, and so many others, are fighting to make their constructive voices heard.

Right now, there is an ever increasing division of wealth in this country, with the benefits going more and more to the 1 percent. For me, President Obama is our best choice to begin to reverse this harmful development.

Right now, there is a fight going on to help make this a fairer and more equitable nation. For me, President Obama is our best choice to get us and keep us moving in the right direction.

Right now, we need a President who has a vision that includes all of our citizens, not just some, whether they are our devastated poor, our pressured middle class, and yes, the wealthy too; whether they are male or female, black, white, brown, or yellow, straight or gay, civilian or military.

Right now, there is a choice going on in America, and I’m happy that we live in a country where we all participate in that process. For me, President Obama is our best choice because he has a vision of the United States as a place where we are all in this together. We’re still living through very hard times but justice, equality and real freedom are not always a tide rushing in. They are more often a slow march, inch by inch, day after long day. I believe President Obama feels these days in his bones and has the strength to live them with us and to lead us to a country “…where no one crowds you and no one goes it alone.”

That’s why I plan to be in Ohio and Iowa supporting the re-election of President Obama to lead our country for the next four years.

Bruce Springsteen

 

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