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On Sunday evening Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) spoke at a meeting of Lafayette County Democrats in Higginsville. With redistricting the Fifth Congressional District will include Lafayette and Saline Counties to the east of Jackson County.

Previously: Lafayette County Democrats: Emanuel Cleaver, Jason Kander and Holmes Osborne in Higginsville (January 9, 2012)

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) speaking at a meeting of Lafayette County Democrats in Higginsville on Sunday evening.

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D): ….And I do think that we have a chance to take the General Assembly. Uh, I, I think we can pick up some seats this year. What I want everybody to remember is that, uh, we talk about the great Republican wave two, uh, last November [inaudible] a great Republican wave. I know that’s what the newspapers told you. I know, I know that’s what you think. That, but it wasn’t. It was the great Democratic sit down. [laughter] Uh, the outvoted us by twenty percent. Twenty percent. We were, we were angry and disgusted and whatever, disappointed and we didn’t vote. And so, uh, they came out and voted. They came. They voted, this is the good news, this is the good news, they voted, uh, in presidential numbers. They voted, uh, about the same level that they do in the presidential election. We didn’t. So the good news is that this is the presidential election and we will probably come out in much, uh, greater numbers and they’ve already hit their ceiling. They’re, they’re already, they’ve already gone as high as they can go. And they did it, uh, this past, uh, November, uh, two Novembers ago. And so, uh, that, that’s the good news I think for us, uh, here in Missouri. And so we, we are, uh, I think poised to, to do some, some significant, uh, things for this country, uh, for, for Missouri….

….The amount of enthusiasm at the beginning of the task is disproportionate to the amount of enthusiasm remaining at the conclusion of the task. It just happened to us in politics. We had enormous enthusiasm almost four years ago. And we were all set to change this nation for the better. And I think that most of us believed that we were finally, finally headed in the direction that would allow this nation to be for our children and their children what we envisioned. And it has not, uh, taken place. And a lot of the problems we face today, uh, are problems, uh, based on the fact that our country, uh, is becoming mean spirited….

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D).

….And it’s becoming mean spirited, I think, with a lot of direction from, from Washington. Uh, and, and so we can’t get anything done in Congress. And, and the reason we can’t, get, get anything done – nobody even talks to each other. Members, I, I come home and people say, I know you guys are sitting around trying to work on this payroll tax that’s. We are? There, there are no meetings on payroll taxes. There are no meetings on Social Security. Social Security’s okay, it’s not in trouble, that’s not a problem. Medicare is in serious trouble, friends. So how many times you think we meet and talk about Medicare [inaudible]? How ’bout zero. How many times you think we dealt with Medicare over the last three years? How ’bout zero. How ’bout zero.

You name a problem, raise it, lift it up to me and I’ll tell you whether or not there’s even been a meeting dealing with those issues. I’m talking about the most significant issues facing the United States. And they’re not being dealt with. They’re not even being talked about. We are ignoring the major problems that are, that impacts the lives of Americans.

We’ve got veterans coming home from Iraq that can’t find jobs. And, believe it or not, large numbers of them are walking around, in this district, homeless. Many of them need psychological help and they can’t get it.

And the problems that we should be dealing with in Washington never, ever surface – we don’t even talk about it. You probably think we sit around and try to figure out how to deal with the problem of immigration. I’m sure you probably think that’s taken place. I can say without fear of contradiction that there’s not been a single meeting in the House of Representatives over the last three years where men and women in Congress sat around with the intentionality of trying to deal with or solve the problem with immigration. Not one.

So what do we do? Well, we try to figure out who can be the nastiest. Why? Because nasty pays off. Nasty wins. Joe Wilson, I go to prayer breakfast with him on Thursdays, he yells out, the only time in the history of the Republic that we’ve had a President interrupted by Americans in the delivery of the State of the Union speech. He says, you lie. Within eight days he raises two million dollars for his campaign. So, if you want, if you want to become powerful and popular, be nasty. The record is clear. Go ahead and Google it. Joe Wilson. South Carolina. The same thing hold true with Anthony Weiner from our side. I mean, Anthony would go out and ran, uh, every day, you probably saw him on, on the evening news. I mean, he’s screaming and, and calling names. And he was raising a lot of money for his reelection. And so people figured it out. If you can just make the evening news saying something nasty about somebody you can raise a lot of money in the United States of America.

Why? We have forgotten who we are. We’ve forgotten the Republic that was founded on basic liberty for all of the people. The amount of enthusiasm at the beginning of the task is disproportionate to the amount of enthusiasm remaining at the conclusion of the task. We have moved a long way from the ideals of the founders. And so we are turning American against American. If you read volume, actually, volume two is better, but volume one and two of Edward Gibbon’s The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire [The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire]. I dare you to read it and not tremble at the parallels.

Every great empire has collapsed. The Ottoman Empire, the Chinese, the British Empire, it didn’t matter, they all collapsed. And not one of them was defeated. The collapsed from within, including the Soviet Union. And we’re setting ourselves up for that with all of this fighting among ourselves. That’s all we do is fight among ourselves. And it’s getting worse and worse. And people believe that it’s, that, that, that, that’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to be nasty, uh, to each other.

And we demonize things that we feel are opposed to us, for example, federal workers. I mean, you’re, there’s an all out assault on federal workers and union workers for, for, in, in general. I mean, if you listen to people whose speeches about, I mean, you want to get a cheer from people you go out and say, we’ve got to get rid of all these federal workers. And see, it’s more rhetoric than reality. And so most people don’t know it, so they’re thinking, yeah, that’s right, let’s get rid of all of these bureaucrats in the federal government. Those people in the federal government are not from some planetary system. [laughter] They live next door. But if you’re not careful you’ll come to the conclusion that these people, all the federal workers, are in Washington, D.C. We have two point six million federal workers. Only fifteen percent of them are in Washington. And so when people start talking, we need to cut the, cut all of these federal programs. Okay. You cutting the people who prepare the Social Security checks? You cut the people who protect the borders, the people who sit up in towers to guide p
lanes in and plane, help planes take off safely, the people who test the milk and the food at the, uh, FDA.

I mean, the, the nation that we all live in has a government and we are they. And we, we have come to the conclusion there that we fight against ourselves. Our own, our own best interests. And the rest of the world is killing us. I mean, the, and, and, this is so amazing, the twenty-five, uh, the twenty five largest hedge fund managers, I’m, I’m, uh, I’m gonna take two, I’m gonna take two guesses from somebody. What do you think the twenty-five top, these twenty-five human beings, and Americans, the twenty-five top hedge fund managers, what do you think they earned last year? Just, I’ll take two, two guesses. [voice: “Um, twenty. Minimum of twenty million.”]  Twenty million. Anybody else? [voice: “Hundred million.”] Hundred million. Okay. Both of them are way off. [voice: “Five hundred million.”] Twenty-five human beings who put their pants on, or get into a tub like we do, earn twenty-two billion dollars. And anybody who believes that is right doesn’t understand what this country is all about. Twenty-two [voice: “Amen.”] billion dollars for twenty-five human beings. Not only that, they pay a fifteen percent tax rate because the money, the money that they brought in was for, was capital gains tax. So you’re paying twenty-five percent, thirty percent, they’re paying fifteen. It’s not right. It’s not right.

And that’s why I’m a Democrat. Let me tell you why I’m a Democrat. [inaudible] [laughter] I’m a Democrat. And I’m proud to be a Democrat. My mother was a Democrat and my father was a Democrat. That’s not why I’m a Democrat. My mother, my father was a Church of God in Christ Holiness, my mother was Baptist. I’m United Methodist. [laughter] So I don’t follow well. [laughter] But I’m a Democrat and I will always embrace this, because if a Democrat is somebody who believes that we need to protect American workers so they won’t be exploited, color me Democrat. If Democrat means that we need to protect our seniors who helped build this country and need the help of the nation in their sunset years, then color me Democrat. If Democrat means that I’m concerned about children and their education and that I’m not willing to attack school teachers because I understand that in this country right now we’re willing to pay our worst wide receiver more than we’re willing to pay our best teacher. And if I’m going to stand up for the teachers and that means I’m a Democrat or a liberal, color me Democrat, color me liberal. If Democrat means that I’m upset because we have one thousand military bases, one thousand, outside the United States. One thousand. And our military budget exceeds the budget, military budget, of all the nations on the planet combined. And that many of the votes we take are to keep plants open to manufacture weapons for the military and Dwight Eisenhower, the great liberal Republican, said, beware. Beware. Eisenhower. And we have not listened to Eisenhower.

In fact, Eisenhower couldn’t get the Republican nomination. Reagan couldn’t get it. And, believe it or not, the old liberal Richard Nixon couldn’t get it. Richard Nixon signed the EPA into existence. Richard Nixon started the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He couldn’t even make it out of the first primary.

I’m a Democrat because I believe that what FDR stood for and stood against is what I hope to always stand for and stand against. As, none of us were alive when, when FDR died. But, you know, they took, put his body on a train and rolled it around a part of the country and people stood out by the tens of thousands when the train came by. A reporter for the New York Times stopped a guy in New Jersey who was weeping and the man said, the reporter said to the man, did you know President Roosevelt? And he said, no, but he knew me. He knew me. He knew I was out here struggling, trying to raise a family and send my children to school. He knew me.

That’s why I’m a Democrat. I will never be embarrassed about being a Democrat. You can put any label on it you want, bleeding heart liberal, I don’t care, call it whatever you want to call it. We are the men and women who helped build this country. We’ve got Democrats right now poised in November two thousand and twelve to get into positions so that we can again set the ship of state, uh, correctly….

….I’m sure you’re like the rest of the country, you look at that, those debates in, and it’s, and it’s like Laugh In. [laughter] I mean, even Republican columnists are writing about how horrible it is.  But it doesn’t matter. Once they coalesce behind somebody, which is probably going to be Mitt Romney, it’s gonna be tough. It’s gonna be very, very tough. And so we’re gonna have to get out and work, we’re gonna have to people, uh, in positions, uh, to campaign, uh, everywhere. I’m gonna campaign all over, everywhere. Everywhere.

I, I brought the Secretary of Agriculture out to Odessa to meet with farmers, uh, last month. Uh, it’s not even in my district yet. But I want to make sure people understand that I understand. And if I am elected I, I represent everybody. Every single body. Until two years ago I represented the one district in Congress where an African American served in a minority, uh, with a minority black population. My district, almost eighteen percent black, and so people in Washington, what, what, what’s going on, I mean, how, what’s going on?

Well, I am convinced that we go and present and expect the best from people. The people will rise to the level of the expectation. And I think people are basically good and decent. And, yeah, I’ve run into some bad people, but they are, they’re the minority. And I have to tell myself this. I don’t care what anybody says or does, I have to think, yeah, but the rest, the rest of the people are not like that.

Look, the country is with us. All of the polls show that the public believes in the policies that we embrace. The only issue is whether or not we’re gonna get out and work and convince people to be with us on Election Day. And it’s not over until it’s over. Remember, the amount of enthusiasm at the beginning of a task is disproportionate to the amount of enthusiasm remaining at the conclusion of a task, called Cleaver’s Law. And we’ve got to hold on no matter what. ‘Cause if there is no Democratic Party there, there, this country is in trouble….

….There are a lot of things in this country that are lost right now. I am absolutely convinced that the Democrats have the light. [applause]