Good morning, everyone -- have a seat. I'll be making some opening remarks, and then we'll throw it open, okay?
Let me say first of all that Tuesday night was an important night in our nation's history, and our state's history. Any time, in fact -- any time the American people go to the polls, it's just one more example of the majesty of the democratic process, and why this is such a great country.
And now the people have spoken, and I think it's incumbent on all of us -- even those who, technically speaking, weren't actually incumbents -- to listen to what the people said on Tuesday night. And I just want you to know: I heard. I was listening, and I heard.
And wouldn't you know it? What the people said on Tuesday night completely squares with what I've been saying all along:
"It's time to get rid of the designated-hitter rule."
That message came through loud and clear, from every corner of this country -- north and south, east and west -- and certainly from every corner of the state. It's long past time for American League baseball to return to the rules that were plenty good enough for the founders, and let the pitcher hit for himself.
Now, I know there will be some people out there who'll question whether that was really the message the voters sent on Tuesday night.
Well, I'm here to tell you that from where I'm sitting, that was exactly the message! Then there are those who'll say that there were other messages, too. Stronger messages. And my answer to them is: They didn't hear what I heard.
If they want to say, and I understand some of my colleagues are actually saying this, that the voters' message was "Compromise!" -- well, that's fine for them. Go ahead, compromise.
And if some of my other colleagues are saying that the voters' message was "Don't compromise -- stand firm for your principles!" -- that's fine, too. Just like my colleagues who heard the voters telling them, "Work harder -- we need more help!" and the ones who heard the voters telling them, "Back off -- we need smaller government!"
You see, that's the beauty of our system: Once the people speak, it's up to us to decide what they said. And what they meant. And what they really meant.
And call it the "Great American Miracle" if you want to, but the best part about it is this: No matter who's doing the speaking, no matter who's doing the listening, what we hear from the people always sounds remarkably like the very things we ourselves were already saying!
Isn't that terrific?
Now, I'm sure that someday, somewhere, one of us here in Washington is going to hear the voters say, "Change your ways! You got it absolutely, totally wrong." But that's not the Washington I know! Those aren't the public servants I've been so privileged to call my friends.
The Washington I know is a place of unshakable confidence, and tremendous resilience. It doesn't just take lemons and turn them into lemonade -- it turns them into jet fuel!
So I'm here to tell you: We listened. We heard. And the designated-hitter rule is toast.