Skip to comments.FLOTUS speech written at a 12th grade level
Posted on 09/05/2012 10:39:56 AM PDT by ColdOne
CHARLOTTE, N.C. First lady Michelle Obama's Tuesday speech was written at a 12th grade level and was the most 'advanced' speech ever delivered by a presidential nominee's spouse, an analysis finds.
The University of Minnesota's Smart Politics blog finds, using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, that Obama's speech was delivered at a 12.84 grade level.
That's in contrast with Ann Romney's speech last week at the Republican convention, which measured at a 5th grade level.
The test which does not factor in the message of speeches judges readability by word syllables and sentence structure.
President Obama, on the other hand, has delivered some of the lowest grade level State of the Unions preferring shorter, simpler sentences in his addresses.
(Excerpt) Read more at politico.com ...
So over the head of 90% of those present at the DNC...
The politicians are getting better. We were assured Sarah Palin’s speeches tested at about grade -2 level.
So biden’s speech level will be at...............
So over the head of 90% of those present at the DNC...
No, no ... he can’t do that to himself Sarah.
I tried to listen to the speeches last night. The repetition about drove me nuts. It was like they knew they were talking to idiots and had to repeat what they saw as important lines over and over.
If you want an example go and listen to Rahm Immanuel’s speech. His phrase was “That was the change we believe in. That was the change we fought for.”
I’m stuned that McHell can read at a 12th grade level!
What? 12th grade at an inner city school?
This article sounds like a “my momma can whip your mama” argument from a 3rd grader.
The “first amazon” vs the next First Lady?
I write professionally. Anything I write for a newspaper is written at a sixth grade level. In my books I aim for an eigth-grade reading level.
Even in the technical papers I have written I try to keep it below a 12th-grade level, and most of that was dealing with stuff like space navigation.
It is not a sign of communications skills to express simple ideas in language only someone prepaping to enter college can understand. It is a sign of communication skill to express complex ideas in language a sixth-grader can understand.
“First lady Michelle Obama’s Tuesday speech was written at a 12th grade level”
Far over the heads of most of that audience.
Why did they need to write anything? The MSM was going to gush over it no matter what she said.
If true: Far over the head of the one who gave it.
I seldom post here, you might want to search and post pics of Obama and his shoes taken at south shore country club in Hyde park Chicago. Very nice place were the south Chicago rich have wedding reception.
Pics don’t show a struggle but shows very rich party and Obama big shoes lol.
Side note, place was used for blues brother movie! It’s where they played in the move.
Search Obama south shore cultural center pics,
Might want to get these pics info to rush, drudge etc
Just a thought, I’m out of here.
“I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.
At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.
The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old
Reading grade level =7.99
MichelleO is "better" than WSC. Who knew?
I doubt that a speech that uses “I” or “me” something like 83 times is really written at a grade 12 language, if it were really analyzed.
Sarah Palin, from what I have read, tends to write at a grade 8 level, which is considered acceptable for communications at a CEO level of major companies.
12th grade Ebonics version yo...
This speech was written at a fourth grade level, the level just above where fantasy yields to reality.
The speech was pure mythology.
I loved the fable of Ba-rack picking up the Mooch with a rust bucket.
The truth is, she was Ba-rack’s superior at the law firm they worked for, and as a Princeton Graf, she was probably a bitch on wheels.
At least Ann Romney did not lie when she spoke. The Mooch had to lie with every word, including “and” and “the”.
I guess that means Republicans could understand Moochelle’s speech and democrats could understand Ann Romney’s speech
Reading grade level = 9.87 (and really, that's about as high as you should go speaking to a general audience)
THE FORGOTTEN PEOPLE
Quite recently, a bishop wrote a letter to a great daily newspaper. His theme was the importance of doing justice to the workers. His belief, apparently, was that the workers are those who work with their hands. He sought to divide the people of Australia into classes. He was obviously suffering from what has for years seemed to me to be our greatest political disease - the disease of thinking that the community is divided into the rich and relatively idle, and the laborious poor, and that every social and political controversy can be resolved into the question: What side are you on? Now, the last thing that I want to do is to commence or take part in a false war of this kind. In a country like Australia the class war must always be a false war. But if we are to talk of classes, then the time has come to say something of the forgotten class - the middle class - those people who are constantly in danger of being ground between the upper and the nether millstones of the false class war; the middle class who, properly regarded, represent the backbone of this country.
We do not have classes here as in England, and therefore the terms do not mean the same; so I must define what I mean when I use the expression "middle class’.
Let me first define it by exclusion. I exclude at one end of the scale the rich and powerful: those who control great funds and enterprises, and are as a rule able to protect themselves - though it must be said that in a political sense they have as a rule shown neither comprehension nor competence. But I exclude them because in most material difficulties, the rich can look after themselves.
I exclude at the other end of the scale the mass of unskilled people, almost invariably well-organized, and with their wages and conditions protected by popular law. What I am excluding them from is my definition of middle class. We cannot exclude them from the problem of social progress, for one of the prime objects of modern social and political policy is to give to them a proper measure of security, and provide the conditions which will enable them to acquire skill and knowledge and individuality.
These exclusions being made, I include the intervening range - the kind of people I myself represent in Parliament - salary earners, shopkeepers, skilled artisans, professional men and women, farmers, and so on. These are, in the political and economic sense, the middle class. They are for the most part unorganized and unselfconscious. They are envied by those whose social benefits are largely obtained by taxing them. They are not rich enough to have individual power. They are taken for granted by each political party in turn. They are not sufficiently lacking in individualism to be organized for what in these days we call "pressure politics". And yet, as I have said, they are the backbone of the nation.
The communist has always hated what he calls the "bourgeoisie", because he sees clearly that the existence of one has kept British countries from revolution, while the substantial absence of one in feudal France at the end of the eighteenth century and in Tsarist Russia at the end of the last war made revolution easy and indeed inevitable. You may say to me, "Why bring this matter up at this stage, when we are fighting a war in the result of which we are all equally concerned?" My answer is that I am bringing it up because under the pressures of war we may, if we are not careful - if we are not as thoughtful as the times will permit us to be - inflict a fatal injury upon our own backbone. In point of political, industrial and social theory and practice there are great delays in time of war. But there are also great accelerations. We must watch each, remembering always that whether we know it or not, and whether we like it or not, the foundations of whatever new order is to come after the war are inevitably being laid down now. We cannot go wrong right up to the peace treaty and expect suddenly thereafter to go right. Now, what is the value of this middle class, so defined and described? First, it has "a stake in the country". It has responsibility for homes - homes material, homes human, homes spiritual.
I do not believe that the real life of this nation is to be found either in great luxury hotels and the petty gossip of so-called fashionable suburbs, or in the officialdom of organized masses. It is to be found in the homes of people who are nameless and unadvertised, and who, whatever their individual religious conviction or dogma, see in their children their greatest contribution to the immortality of their race. The home is the foundation of sanity and sobriety; it is the indispensable condition of continuity; its health determines the health of society as a whole.
I have mentioned homes material, homes human, and homes spiritual. Let me take them in their order. What do I mean by "homes material"?
The material home represents the concrete expression of the habits of frugality and saving "for a home of our own". Your advanced socialist may rage against private property even while he acquires it; but one of the best instincts in us is that which induces us to have one little piece of earth with a house and a garden which is ours: to which we can withdraw, in which we can be among our friends, into which no stranger may come against our will.
If you consider it, you will see that if, as in the old saying, "the Englishman’s home is his castle", it is this very fact that leads on to the conclusion that he who seeks to violate that law by violating the soil of England must be repelled and defeated.
National patriotism, in other words, inevitably springs from the instinct to defend and preserve our own homes.
Then we have homes human. A great house, full of loneliness, is not a home. "Stone walls do not a prison make", not do they make a house. They may equally make a stable or a piggery. Brick walls, dormer windows and central heating need not make more than a hotel. My home is where my wife and children are. The instinct to be with them is the great instinct of civilized man; the instinct to give them a chance in life - to make them not leaners but lifters - is a noble instinct. If Scotland has made a great contribution to the theory and practice of education, it is because of the tradition of Scottish homes. The Scottish ploughman, walking behind his team, cons ways and means of making his son a farmer, and so he sends him to the village school. The Scottish farmer ponders upon the future of his son, and sees it most assured not by the inheritance of money but by the acquisition of that knowledge which will give him power; and so the sons of many Scottish farmers find their way to Edinburgh and a university degree.
The great question is, "How can I qualify my son to help society?" Not, as we have so frequently thought, "How can I qualify society to help my son?" If human homes are to fulfil their destiny, then we must have frugality and saving for education and progress.
And finally, we have homes spiritual. This is a notion which finds its simplest and most moving expression in "The Cotter’s Saturday Night" of Burns. Human nature is at its greatest when it combines dependence upon God with independence of man.
We offer no affront - on the contrary we have nothing but the warmest human compassion - towards those whom fate has compelled to live upon the bounty of the State, when we say that the greatest element in a strong people is a fierce independence of spirit. This is the only real freedom, and it has as its corollary a brave acceptance of unclouded individual responsibility. The moment a man seeks moral and intellectual refuge in the emotions of a crowd, he ceases to be a human being and becomes a cipher. The home spiritual so understood is not produced by lassitude or by dependence; it is produced by self-sacrifice, by frugality and saving.
In a war, as indeed at most times, we become the ready victims of phrases. We speak glibly of may things without pausing to consider what they signify. We speak of "financial power", forgetting that the financial power of 1942 is based upon the savings of generations which have preceded it. We speak of "morale" as if it were a quality induced from without - created by others for our benefit - when in truth there can be no national morale which is not based upon the individual courage of men and women. We speak of "man power" as if it were a mere matter of arithmetic: as if it were made up of a multiplication of men and muscles without spirit.
Second, the middle class, more than any other, provides the intelligent ambition which is the motive power of human progress. The idea entertained by many people that, in a well-constituted world, we shall all live on the State in the quintessence of madness, for what is the State but us ? We collectively must provide what we individually receive.
The great vice of democracy - a vice which is exacting a bitter retribution from it at this moment - is that for a generation we have been busy getting ourselves on to the list of beneficiaries and removing ourselves from the list of contributors, as if somewhere there was somebody else’s wealth and somebody else’s effort on which we could thrive.
To discourage ambition, to envy success, to hate achieved superiority, to distrust independent thought, to sneer at and impute false motives to public service - these are the maladies of modern democracy, and of Australian democracy in particular. Yet ambition, effort, thinking, and readiness to serve are not only the design and objectives of self-government but are the essential conditions of its success. If this is not so, then we had better put back the clock, and search for a benevolent autocracy once more.
Where do we find these great elements most commonly? Among the defensive and comfortable rich, among the unthinking and unskilled mass, or among what I have called the "middle class"?
Third, the middle class provides more than perhaps any other the intellectual life which marks us off from the beast: the life which finds room for literature, for the arts, for science, for medicine and the law.
Consider the case of literature and art. Could these survive as a department of State? Are we to publish our poets according to their political colour? Is the State to decree surrealism because surrealism gets a heavy vote in a key electorate? The truth is that no great book was ever written and no great picture ever painted by the clock or according to civil service rules. These things are done by man, not men. You cannot regiment them. They require opportunity, and sometimes leisure. The artist, if he is to live, must have a buyer; the writer an audience. He finds them among frugal people to whom the margin above bare living means a chance to reach out a little towards that heaven which is just beyond our grasp. It has always seemed to me, for example, that an artist is better helped by the man who sacrifices something to buy a picture he loves than by a rich patron who follows the fashion.
Fourth, this middle class maintains and fills the higher schools and universities, and so feeds the lamp of learning.
What are schools for? To train people for examinations, to enable people to comply with the law, or to produce developed men and women?
Are the universities mere technical schools, or have they as one of their functions the preservation of pure learning, bringing in its train not merely riches for the imagination but a comparative sense for the mind, and leading to what we need so badly - the recognition of values which are other than pecuniary?
One of the great blots on our modern living is the cult of false values, a repeated application of the test of money, notoriety, applause. A world in which a comedian or a beautiful half-wit on the screen can be paid fabulous sums, whilst scientific researchers and discoverers can suffer neglect and starvation, is a world which needs to have its sense of values violently set right.
Now, have we realized and recognized these things, or is most of our policy designed to discourage or penalize thrift, to encourage dependence on the State, to bring about a dull equality on the fantastic idea that all men are equal in mind and needs and deserts: to level down by taking the mountains our of the landscape, to weigh men according to their political organisations and power - as votes and not as human beings? These are formidable questions, and we cannot escape from answering them if there is really to be a new order for the world.
I have been actively engaged in politics for fourteen years in the State of Victoria and in the Commonwealth of Australia. In that period I cannot readily recall many occasions upon which any policy was pursued which was designed to help the thrifty, to encourage independence, to recognize the divine and valuable variations of men’s minds. On the contrary, there have been many instances in which the votes of the thriftless have been used to defeat the thrifty. On occasions of emergency, as in the depression and during the war, we have hastened to make it clear that the provision made by man for his own retirement and old age is not half as sacrosanct as the provision the State would have made for him had he never saved at all.
We have talked of income from savings as if it possessed a somewhat discreditable character. We have taxed it more and more heavily. We have spoken slightingly of the earning of interest at the very moment when we have advocated new pensions and social schemes. I have myself heard a minister of power and influence declare that no deprivation is suffered by a man if he still has the means to fill his stomach, clothe his body and keep a roof over his head. And yet the truth is, as I have endeavoured to show, that frugal people who strive for and obtain the margin above these materially necessary things are the whole foundation of a really active and developing national life.
The case for the middle class is the case for a dynamic democracy as against a stagnant one. Stagnant waters are level, and in them the scum rises. Active waters are never level; they toss and tumble and have crests and troughs; but the scientists tell us that they purify themselves in a few hundred yards.
That we are all, as human souls, of like value cannot be denied. That each of us should have his chance is and must be the great objective of political and social policy. But to say that the industrious and intelligent son of self-sacrificing and saving and forward-looking parents has the same social deserts and even material needs as the dull offspring of stupid and improvident parents is absurd.
If the motto is to be, "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you will die, and if it chances you don’t die, the State will look after you; but if you don’t eat, drink and be merry, and save, we shall take your savings from you", then the whole business of life will become foundationless.
Are you looking forward to a breed of men after the war who will have become boneless wonders? Leaners grow flabby; lifters grow muscles. Men without ambition readily become slaves. Indeed, there is much more slavery in Australia than most people imagine. How many hundreds of thousands of us are slaves to greed, to fear, to newspapers, to public opinion - represented by the accumulated views of our neighbours! Landless men smell the vapours of the street corner. Landed men smell the brown earth, and plant their feet upon it and know that it is good.
To all of this many of my friends will retort, "Ah, that’s all very well, but when this war is over the levellers will have won the day." My answer is that, on the contrary, men will come out of this war as gloriously unequal in many things as when they entered it. Much wealth will have been destroyed; inherited riches will be suspect; a fellowship of suffering, if we really experience it, will have opened many hearts and perhaps closed many mouths. Many great edifices will have fallen, and we shall be able to study foundations as never before, because the war will have exposed them.
But I do not believe that we shall come out into the over-lordship of an all-powerful State on whose benevolence we shall live, spineless and effortless - a State which will dole out bread and ideas with neatly regulated accuracy; where we shall all have our dividend without subscribing our capital; where the Government, that almost deity, will nurse us and rear us and maintain us and pension us and bury us; where we shall all be civil servants, and all presumably, since we are equal, heads of departments.
If the new world is to be a world of men, we must be not pallid and bloodless ghosts, but a community of people whose motto shall be, "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield". Individual enterprise must drive us forward. That does not mean that we are to return to the old and selfish notions of laissez-faire. The functions of the State will be much more than merely keeping the ring within which the competitors will fight. Our social and industrial obligations will be increased. There will be more law, not less; more control, not less.
But what really happens to us will depend on how many people we have who are of the great and sober and dynamic middle-class - the strivers, the planners, the ambitious ones. We shall destroy them at our peril.
- 22 May, 1942
Robert Gordon Menzies - twice Prime Minister of Australia
What a bunch of hooey, right up there with her as a fashion queen
I think you meant 'Grad'... but 'Graf(t)' is(would be) funnier.
(p.s. This was written at a 13th grade level)
Most Hollywood movies are written for 3rd-6th grade levels.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
- Abraham Lincoln
Reading Grade level = 10.22
Methinks they may have SLIGHTLY lowered the standards since I had my Lit Survey courses back during the Paleocene Period.
“First lady Michelle Obama’s Tuesday speech was written at a 12th grade level”
Written by whom? The post says Michelle deliverd the speech, but does the article reveal the authorship?
Since the writing in her Princeton “senior thesis” was below the threshold of measurement, a claim that she now writes at a solid high school/college freshman level would not be very credible.
I wouldn't mind seeing someone give it the Voight-Kampff test.
Mrs. Romney’s speech did sound like it was at about the 5th grade level.
So far, I’ve given you the view from Main Street, USA. But now I’d like to share with you how a Common Sense Conservative sees the world at large.Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level = 8.64
Later this year, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – an event that changed not just Europe but the entire world. In a matter of months, millions of people in formerly captive nations were freed to pursue their individual and national ambitions. The competition that defined the post World War II era was suddenly over. What was once called “the free world” had so much to celebrate – the peaceful end to a great power rivalry and the liberation of so many from tyranny’s grip.
Some, you could say, took the celebration too far. Many spoke of a “peace dividend,” of the need to focus on domestic issues and spend less time, attention and money on endeavors overseas. Many saw a peaceful future, where globalization would break down borders and lead to greater global prosperity. Some argued that state sovereignty would fade – like that was a good thing? – that new non-governmental actors and old international institutions would become dominant in the new world order.
As we all know, that did not happen. Unfortunately, there was no shortage of warning signs that the end of the Cold War did not mean the end of history or the end of conflict. In Europe, the breakup of Yugoslavia resulted in brutal wars in the Balkans. In the Middle East, a war was waged to reverse Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. North Korea’s nuclear program nearly led to military conflict. In Africa, U.S. embassies were bombed by a group called al Qaeda.
Two weeks ago, America commemorated the 8th anniversary of the savagery of September 11, 2001. The vicious terrorist attacks of that day made clear that what happened in lands far distant from American shores directly affect our security. We came to learn, if we did not know before, that there were violent fanatics who sought not just to kill innocents, but to end our way of life. Their attacks have not been limited to the United States.
They attacked targets in Europe, North Africa and throughout the Middle East. Here in Asia, they killed more than 200 in a single attack in Bali. They bombed the Marriott Hotel and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. Last year in Mumbai, more than 170 were killed in coordinated attacks in the heart of India’s financial capital. In this struggle with radical Islamic extremists, no part of the world is safe from those who bomb, maim and kill in the service of their twisted vision.
This war – and that is what it is, a war – is not, as some have said, a clash of civilizations. We are not at war with Islam. This is a war within Islam, where a small minority of violent killers seeks to impose their view on the vast majority of Muslims who want the same things all of us want: economic opportunity, education, and the chance to build a better life for themselves and their families. The reality is that al Qaeda and its affiliates have killed scores of innocent Muslim men, women and children.
The reality is that Muslims from Algeria, Indonesia, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other countries are fighting al Qaeda and their allies today. But this will be a long war, and it will require far more than just military power to prevail. Just as we did in the Cold War, we will need to use all the tools at our disposal – hard and soft power. Economic development, public diplomacy, educational exchanges, and foreign assistance will be just as important as the instruments of military power.
During the election campaign in the U.S. last year, you might have noticed we had some differences over Iraq. John McCain and I believed in the strength of the surge strategy – because of its success, Iraq is no longer the central front in the war on terrorism. Afghanistan is. Afghanistan is where the 9/11 attacks were planned and if we are not successful in Afghanistan, al Qaeda will once again find safe haven there. As a candidate and in office, President Obama called Afghanistan the “necessary war” and pledged to provide the resources needed to prevail. However, prominent voices in the Democratic Party are opposing the additional U.S. ground forces that are clearly needed. Speaker of the House Pelosi, Defense Subcommittee Chairman Murtha, the Senate Armed Services Committee Chair, and many others, recently expressed doubts about sending additional forces! President Obama will face a decision soon when the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan requests additional forces to implement his new counterinsurgency strategy.
We can win in Afghanistan by helping the Afghans build a stable representative state able to defend itself. And we must do what it takes to prevail. The stakes are very high. Last year, in the midst of the U.S. debate over what do to in Iraq, an important voice was heard – from Asia’s Wise Man, former Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who wrote in the Washington Post about the cost of retreat in Iraq. In that article, he prophetically addressed the stakes in Afghanistan. He wrote: “The Taliban is again gathering strength, and a Taliban victory in Afghanistan or Pakistan would reverberate throughout the Muslim world. It would influence the grand debate among Muslims on the future of Islam. A severely retrograde form of Islam would be seen to have defeated modernity twice: first the Soviet Union, then the United States. There would be profound consequences, especially in the campaign against terrorism.” That statesman’s words remain every bit as true today. And Minister Lee knows, and I agree, that our success in Afghanistan will have consequences all over the world, including Asia. Our allies and our adversaries are watching to see if we have the staying power to protect our interests in Afghanistan. That is why I recently joined a group of Americans in urging President Obama to devote the resources necessary in Afghanistan and pledged to support him if he made the right decision.
That is why, even during this time of financial distress we need to maintain a strong defense. All government spending should undergo serious scrutiny. No programs or agencies should be automatically immune from cuts. We need to go back to fiscal discipline and unfortunately that has not been the view of the current Administration. They’re spending everywhere and with disregard for deficits and debts and our future economic competitiveness. Though we are engaged in two wars and face a diverse array of threats, it is the defense budget that has seen significant program cuts and has actually been reduced from current levels!
First, the Defense Department received only ½ of 1 % of the nearly trillion dollar Stimulus Package funding – even though many military projects fit the definition of “shovel-ready.” In this Administration’s first defense budget request for 2010, important programs were reduced or cancelled. As the threat of ballistic missiles from countries like North Korea and Iran grow, missile defense was slashed.
Despite the need to move men and material by air into theaters like Afghanistan, the Obama Administration sought to end production of our C-17s, the work horse of our ability to project long range power. Despite the Air Force saying it would increase future risk, the Obama Administration successfully sought to end F-22 production – at a time when both Russia and China are acquiring large numbers of next generation fighter aircraft. It strikes me as odd that Defense Secretary Gates is the only member of the Cabinet to be tasked with tightening his belt.
Now in the region I want to emphasize today: The reason I speak about defense is because our strong defense posture in Asia has helped keep the region safe and allowed it to prosper. Our Asian allies get nervous if they think we are weakening our security commitments. I worry about defense cuts not because I expect war but because I so badly want peace. And the region has enjoyed peace for so long because of our security commitment to our longstanding allies and partners.
Asia has been one of the world’s great success stories. It is a region where America needs to assist with right mix of hard and soft power. While I have so much hope for a bright future in Asia, in a region this dynamic, we must always be prepared for other contingencies. We must work at this – work with our allies to ensure the region’s continued peace and prosperity.
I know that you all -- like all of Asia and indeed the whole world – has a keen interest in the emergence of “China as a great power.” Over the past few decades China’s economic growth has been remarkable. So has the economic growth and political liberalization of all of our key allies in Asia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Asia’s economic growth and political development, together with our forward military presence in the region and strong alliances, have allowed the region to prosper in peace for a long time. We hope that Asia will continue to be an engine of world economic growth, will continue to democratize and will remain at peace.
Our future is now deeply linked to Asia’s success. Our children’s future. We must continue to strengthen our key alliance with Japan, a country going through its own democratic change. Together the U.S. and Japan built the security umbrella under which so many Asians prospered. While there is so much attention to China these days, we cannot forget the importance of Japan in helping to make this the “Pacific Century.”
The recent elections in Japan demonstrated that voters wanted reform and an end to debt and stagnation. We have a substantial stake in Japan’s success -- our alliance with must continue to be the linchpin of regional security. With its open political system and vibrant democracy, South Korea wants to play a larger role on the international stage as well. Of course it wants us to work together toward a future where the peninsula is irreversibly denuclearized, and unified. But it also wants to play a global role. We need to work together with Japan, South Korea and our steadfast ally to the south, Australia, to make sure Asia remains peaceful and prosperous.
Australia rightly reminds us to keep our eye on Southeast Asia, where Indonesia has proved that Islam and democracy can co-exist. Indonesia has fought extremism inside its own border and is consolidating a multi-ethnic democracy that is home to hundreds of millions of Muslims. Those who say Islam and democracy are incompatible insult our friends in Indonesia.
Our great democratic friend India is also “looking East”, seeking a greater role in East Asia as well. Together with our allies we must help integrate India into Asia. If we do so we will have yet another strong democracy driving Asia’s economy and working on shared problems such as proliferation and extremism. And we must continue working with the region’s most dynamic economy, China. We all hope that China’s stated policy of a “Peaceful Rise” will be its future course. You know better than most the enormous change that has taken place in China over the last thirty years. Hundreds of millions of Chinese have been pulled out of poverty as China has undertaken economic reforms that have resulted in unprecedented growth. Even today, China’s economy is projected to grow by some 8%. It is helping to edge the world out of recession.
China has amassed huge financial reserves. Chinese diplomats are engaged on every continent and, through its vote on the United Nations Security Council, China has become critical in gaining UN support on multilateral issues from Darfur to Iran to North Korea. Just four years ago, then-Deputy Secretary of State Bob Zoellick urged China to become a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system. He observed the many benefits to China of a “benign international environment.”
The peaceful regional environment that China has enjoyed was created through the hard work of Americans, Japanese, South Koreans and Australians. Secretary Zoellick urged China to step up and play its role too. We are working with China to de-nuclearize North Korea. But to be a responsible member of the international community China should exert greater pressure on North Korea to denuclearize and undergo the fundamental reforms it needs. Zoellick urged China to play a greater role in stabilizing the international energy market by ceasing its support of dangerous regimes.
China could play a role in stabilizing its ally Pakistan, and working for peace in Afghanistan. There are many areas where the U.S. and China can work together. And, we would welcome a China that wanted to assume a more responsible and active role in international politics. But Secretary Zoellick also noted that many of China’s actions create risk and uncertainty. These uncertainties led nations to “hedge” their relations with China because, in Zoellick’s words: “Many countries HOPE China will pursue a ‘Peaceful Rise’ but NONE will bet their future on it.”
See: this is the heart of the issue with China: we engage with the hope Beijing becomes a responsible stakeholder, but we must takes steps in the event it does not. See? We all hope to see a China that is stable, peaceful, prosperous and free. But we must also work with our allies in the region and the world in the event China goes in a direction that causes regional instability.
Asia is at its best when it is not dominated by a single power. In seeking Asia’s continued peace and prosperity, we should seek, as we did in Europe, an Asia “whole and free” – free from domination by any one power, prospering in open and free markets, and settling political differences at ballot boxes and negotiating tables.We can, must and should work with a “rising China” to address issues of mutual concern. But we also need to work with our allies in addressing the uncertainties created by China’s rise. We simply CANNOT turn a blind eye to Chinese policies and actions that can undermine international peace and security.
China has some 1000 missiles aimed at Taiwan and no serious observer believes Taiwan poses a military threat to Beijing. Those same Chinese forces make our friends in Japan and Australia nervous. China provides support for some of the world’s most questionable regimes from Sudan to Burma to Zimbabwe. China’s military buildup raises concerns from Delhi to Tokyo because it has taken place in the absence of any discernible external threat.
China, along with Russia, has repeatedly undermined efforts to impose tougher sanctions on Iran for its defiance of the international community in pursuing its nuclear program. The Chinese food and product safety record has raised alarms from East Asia and Europe to the United States. And, domestic incidents of unrest -- from the protests of Uighurs and Tibetans, to Chinese workers throughout the country rightfully make us nervous. It is very much in our interest and the interest of regional stability that China work out its own contradictions – between a dynamic and entrepreneurial private sector on the one hand and a one party state unwilling or unable to adjust to its own society’s growing needs and desires and demands, including a human being’s innate desire for freedom.
I do not cite these issues out of any hostility toward China. Quite the contrary, I and all Americans of good faith hope for the Chinese people’s success. We welcome the rise that can be so good for all mankind. We simply urge China to rise responsibly. I simply believe we cannot ignore areas of disagreement as we seek to move forward on areas of agreement. Believe me, China does not hesitate to tell us when it thinks we are in the wrong. I mentioned China’s internal contradictions. They should concern us all. We hear many Chinese voices throughout that great country calling out for more freedom, and for greater justice. Twenty years ago, many believed that as China liberalized its economy, greater political freedom would naturally follow. Unfortunately that has not come to pass.
Ummm, in fact, it seems China has taken great pains to learn what it sees as “the lesson” of the fall on the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union: any easing of political constraints can inevitably spin out of control. But, in many ways, it is the essence of China’s political system that leads to concerns about its rise. Think about it. How many books and articles have been written about the dangers of India’s rise? Almost as large as China – and soon to be more populous – virtually no one worries about the security implications of India becoming a great power – just as a century ago the then-preeminent power, Great Britain, worried little about the rise of America to great power status. My point is that the more politically open and just China is, the more Chinese citizens of every ethnicity will settle disputes in courts rather than on the streets. The more open it is, the less we will be concerned about its military build-up and intentions. The more transparent China is, the more likely it is they we will find a true and lasting friendship based on shared values as well as interests.
I am not talking about some U.S.-led “democracy crusade.” We cannot impose our values on other counties. Nor should we seek to. But the ideas of freedom, liberty and respect for human rights are not U.S. ideas, they are much more than that. They are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many other international covenants and treaties. They apply to citizens in Shanghai as much as they do to citizens in Johannesburg or Jakarta. And demands for liberty in China are Chinese, not American, demands. Just last year, many brave Chinese signed Charter 08, a Chinese document modeled on the great Czech statesman Vlacav Havel’s Charter 77. Charter 08 would not be unfamiliar to our Founding Fathers and was endorsed by Havel himself. No, we need not convince the Chinese people that they have inalienable rights. They are calling for those rights themselves. But we do have to worry about a China where the government suppresses the liberties its people hold dear.
Nothing of what I am saying should be seen as meaning conflict with China is inevitable. Quite the contrary. As I said, we welcome China’s responsible rise. America and China stood together against fascism during World War II, before ravages took over in China – we were ready to stand together with China to shape international politics after World War II. Much has been accomplished since President Nixon’s fateful visit. And again, we stand ready to work with what we hope will be a more open and responsible China on the challenges facing the 21st century.
All of you here know how deeply integrated the economies of the United States’ and China’s are. We rely on each other, sometimes unfortunately in unhealthy ways. America spends too much that we don’t have, and then we go to China as a lender of first resort. Our fiscal policy, lately, seems to be “tax, spend, borrow, tax some more, repeat” and then complain about how much debt China holds. America needs to gets its own fiscal house in order. That’s a Common Sense Conservative perspective. We can hardly complain that China holds so much of our debt when it’s over spending that created the debt.
But here’s the reality. If in fact the United States does the “right” thing – if we spend less and save more – then China will also have to rebalance its economy. We need to export more to China – and we’d like China to consume more of our goods – just as we need to save and invest more. This vital process – so crucial to both countries – is impeded by problems of market access. We must talk about these issues with more candor. If China adopts policies that keep our highest value products out of their markets, by manipulating technical standards or licensing requirements, our economic relationship suffers.
Our economic interdependence drives our relationship with China. I see a future of more trade with China and more American high-tech goods in China. But in order for that to happen, we need China to improve its rule of law and protect our intellectual property. We need to avoid protectionism and China’s flirtation with state-assisted “national champions.” On our part, we should be more open to Chinese investment where our national security interests are not threatened. In the end, though, our economic relationship will truly thrive when Chinese citizens and foreign corporations can hold the Chinese government accountable when their actions are unjust.
I see a bright future for America in Asia. One based on the alliances that have gotten us this far, one based on free and open markets, one that integrates democratic India into East Asia’s political life and one in which China decides to be a responsible member of the international community and gives its people the liberty – the freedom – they so desperately want. Sadly, however, our largest free trade agreement ever in Asia, with South Korea, sits frozen in the Congress. In contrast, China is behaving wisely in negotiating free trade agreements throughout Asia. We want an Asia open to our goods and services. But if we do not get our free trade act together, we will be shut out by agreements Asians our making among themselves.
All of you here follow global financial markets and economic policy closely, I know that it will come as no surprise to you that United States leadership on global trade and investment is being sorely tested at this moment. We are struggling with a monumental debate on whether fiscal discipline, or massive government spending, will drive a sustained recovery. We are struggling to repair the excesses that grew in our own economy and served as a trigger to a catastrophic collapse in the global financial system. And we are attempting to do so under the weight of a global imbalance of debt and trade deficits that are not only unbearable for the world’s mightiest economy, but also unacceptable in that they foster tensions between global economic partners like the United States and China.
I am proud to be an American. As someone who has had the tremendous opportunity to travel throughout the United States and listen to the concerns of Americans in towns and cities across the country, I can tell you that there is a sense of despair and even crisis afoot in America that has the potential to shape our global investment and trade policies for years, and even decades to come. Never has the leadership of our government ever been more critical to keeping my country, and the world, on a path to openness, growth and opportunity in global trade and investment. It would of course be a mistake to put the entire burden of restoring the global economy on the backs of America’s leaders. There is plenty of work for all of us to do in this matter. Governments around the world must resist the siren call of trade protection to bring short term relief during a time of crisis.
Those who use currency policy or subsidies to promote their nation’s exports should remain acutely aware that if there ever were a time in which such policies could be viewed as “tolerable,” that time has now passed. All participants who seek to find benefit in the global trading system must also take the responsibility of playing by the rules. The private sector has responsibilities as well. For instance, it should not be the responsibility of government to dictate the salaries of bankers or the ownership of companies. And yet, due of the excesses committed by some, this is exactly where we find ourselves now because government now owns substantial portions of the private economy – even, unbelievably, in the United States. These are challenging times for everyone, but we in the United States must humbly recognize that if we are to lead and to set the direction for the rest of the world, it must be by our example and not merely our words. And we must tread lightly when imposing new burdens on the imports of other countries.
Well, CLSA: My country is definitely at a crossroad. Polling in the U.S. shows a majority of Americans no longer believe that their children will have a better future than they have had...that is a 1st. When members of America’s greatest generation – the World War II generation – lose their homes and their life savings because their retirement funds were wiped after the financial collapse, people feel a great anger. There is suddenly a growing sentiment to just “throw the bums out” of Washington, D.C. – and by bums they mean the Republicans and the Democrats. Americans are suffering from pay cuts and job losses, and they want to know why their elected leaders are not tightening their belts. It’s not lost on people that Congress voted to exempt themselves from the health care plan they are thrusting on the rest of the nation. There is a growing sense of frustration on Main Street. But even in the midst of crisis and despair, we see signs of hope.
In fact, it’s a sea change in America, I believe. Recently, there have been protests by ordinary Americans who marched on Washington to demand their government stop spending away their future. Large numbers of ordinary, middle-class Democrats, Republicans, and Independents from all over the country marching on Washington?! You know something’s up! These are the same people who flocked to the town halls this summer to face their elected officials who were home on hiatus from that distant capital and were now confronted with the people they represent. Big town hall meetings – video clips circulating coverage – people watching, feeling not so alone anymore.
The town halls and the Tea Party movement are both part of a growing grassroots consciousness among ordinary Americans who’ve decided that if they want real change, they must take the lead and not wait to be led. Real change – and, you know, you don’t need a title to do it. The “Tea Party Movement” is aptly named to remind people of the American Revolution – of colonial patriots who shook off the yoke of a distant government and declared their freedom from indifferent – elitist – rulers who limited their progress and showed them no respect. Today, Main Street Americans see Washington in similar terms.
When my country again achieves financial stability and economic growth – when we roar back to life as we shall do – it will be thanks in large part to the hard work and common sense of these ordinary Americans who are demanding that government spend less and tax less and allow the private sector to grow and prosper. We’re not interested in government fixes; we’re interested in freedom! Freedom! Our vision is forward looking. People may be frustrated now, but we’re very hopeful too.
And, after all, why shouldn’t we be? We’re Americans. We’re always hopeful. Thank you for letting me share some of that hope, and a view from Main Street with you. God Bless You.
- Sarah Palin - Hong Kong, 23 Sep 2009
Thanks for correcting the “Graf” gaffe.
I thought exit was trying to say she was the “Contessa” of Princeton, although technically the correct spelling of the German title would be “Gräfin.”
[...] and that government to the people, at the people, on the people, shall not perish from the earth.
"that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address scores only a 10th “grade level” on the Flesch-Kincaid method and only a 7th “grade level” on the Coleman-Liau method, yet in those few words and with great clarity than anyone he communicated better than all the politicians of his day, and maybe since.
back then if was probably about six grade level, the great dummy down of the people continues, thanks to pubik Shoozs
“It is not a sign of communications skills to express simple ideas in language only someone prepaping to enter college can understand. It is a sign of communication skill to express complex ideas in language a sixth-grader can understand.”
I occasionally author brochures for the public about environmental issues, and that is my understanding of the goal, also. When writing to, or addressing a general audience, the author should shoot for about a 6th grade level for their materials. Once again shows how “out of touch” and superficial the dems are by assuming that everyone listening to Michelle would care to decipher her speech, or somehow be impressed by its complexity. Also, if the media’s goal is to make Michelle seem like she is some sort of genius by touting this, they should remember that she most likely didn’t write the speech, only read it. I would hope that she can read at that level since she has an Ivy League education. If she couldn’t, I would recommend that she ask for her money back. Other than that, her speech reading level means nothing.
The rule with public speaking is if you want to reach an average audience, keep it at about the 5th grade level. Beyond that you start losing people.
A sure sign she didn’t write it herself. The dog’s breakfast of a thesis she produced at Princeton shows that she is barely literate.
It makes one wonder just WHO Michelle/the dems were trying to reach with her message. Speaking at this grade level surely didn’t resonate with those having less education. Most likely, these folks tuned out (either mentally, physically, or both...) and apparently Michelle didn’t care if they did.
So the only purpose behind this pointless study was to portray Mrs. Romney as being dumber than Mrs. Obama?
They must not have been too worried about losing their base.
So run-on sentences are the mark of a superior speech? Whooda thunkit?! ;-)
About the same level as her college thesis.
Who ARE thes people grading these things? Is it any wonder our educations system is screwed up?
I was told in my college-level writing class that to be readable to nonspecialists, my paper should be written at about 5th or 6th grade level.
Thank you thank you thank you for putting it into perspective.
Obviously content is not important to these people, just like the teacher redlining punctuation without evaluating the merits of the words themselves.
“It makes one wonder just WHO Michelle/the dems were trying to reach with her message.”
My sentiments exactly. If it truly weighed in at a 12th level, I’m very encouraged: it means 75% of the Dems base didn’t understand it! :-)
Your comment brings to mind one of my favorite HL Mencken quotes: "The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." I would say that defines Obama and most Democrats perfectly. I used to use it as a tagline...
I thought he meant “Graf” as in Graf Zeppelin. Now I’m disappointed that it wasn’t a fat joke :(