Republicans controlling the federal government practice Social Darwinism, a discredited philosophy that in economics and politics calls for survival of the fittest, according to a Democratic U.S. senator.Your Chicago Tribune also covered Obama's keynote address:
Sen. Barak Obama of Illinois, a fast-rising Democratic star, told Florida party members that only a philosophy among Republicans of sink or swim explains why some Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans still live in cars while Republicans in Washington prepare next week to enact $70 billion in tax breaks.
"It's called the 'Ownership society' in Washington. This isn't the first time this philosophy has appeared. It used to be called Social Darwinism," Obama said late Saturday at the Democrats meeting at Walt Disney World.
"They have a philosophy they have implemented and that is doing exactly what it was designed to do. They basically don't believe in government. They have a different philosophy that says, 'We're going to dismantle government'," Obama said.
Republicans running the federal government believe, "You are on your own to buy your own health care, to buy your own retirement security ... to buy your own roads and levees," Obama said, referring to flood barriers that gave way in New Orleans during Katrina last August.
Obama, the only African American now in the U.S. Senate, gave the keynote address at the annual meeting of Florida Democrats.
[Obama accepted] an invitation to deliver the keynote address Saturday evening, despite repeated assertions he has no intention to seek higher office in 2008. But his mere presence in the Fantasia Ballroom at the Disney Contemporary Resort triggered a question among many in the crowd: Could he change his mind?08 Dammit!
"It is time for us to lead. It is time for us to put aside whatever party identity crisis we've been having," Obama said, urging party activists to get motivated for the political fight ahead. "Don't let them tell you that we don't know what we stand for as Democrats. We know who we are and we know what our legacy is."
The message resonated with Francine Simmons, a Tampa stay-at-home-mother who was attending her first Democratic event. After more than two decades as a Republican, she said she has grown frustrated with Republicans over the war, the deficit and what she perceives as a lack of compassion for average Americans.
"He makes you feel that each of us can make a difference," Simmons said after Obama's speech. "He makes me feel empowered."