Ed. Note: See the passage on where the crowds were when Romney launched his candidacy. This post segues and builds upon the main message in Of Footsteps and Bold Colors.
With his speech Tuesday night, it became evident that Mitt Romney intends to take the advice of his establishment GOP friends, and will soon begin a full-on retreat from conservatism. It’s not that Romney was ever a conservative, but that he was putting on just enough of a show to make some primary voters believe it. All of that will soon change, and we will see the real Mitt Romney soon, to the degree there is a real Mitt Romney. He delivered a speech in Manchester, NH, Tuesday night as a victory speech for the primaries on the day, and in so doing, I decided I not only dislike his brand of dishonest politics, but that I’ve begun to really dislike him. I abhor platitudinous rhetoric spoken with no philosophical backbone, and in my estimation, his speech was full of it. FoxNewsInsider.com provides the transcript of the speech, and I’ll provide the commentary:
Thank you Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York! And tonight I can say thank you, America. After 43 primaries and caucuses, many long days and more than a few long nights, I can say with confidence – and gratitude – that you have given me a great honor and solemn responsibility. And, together, we will win on November 6th!
Yes, it’s all over, right? That’s it. All done! Texas hasn’t voted yet. See if you can win the presidency without Texas. Texas may wind up supporting you, but you presume too much, Governor Romney.
We launched this campaign not far from here on a beautiful June day. It has been an extraordinary journey.
Nobody really remembers your campaign launch, because at the time, Sarah Palin was in the vicinity, and the crowds all went to see her instead.
Americans have always been eternal optimists. But over the last three and a half years, we have seen hopes and dreams diminished by false promises and weak leadership. Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired, and many of those who are fortunate enough to have a job are working harder for less.
Apparently, you don’t know the same Americans I know. On the one hand, you tell us we’re eternal optimists, but on the other hand, you tell us we’re tired of being tired? Which is it? Even if you succeed in getting the nomination, Americans who are tired of those false promises and weak leadership will turn their focus on you, since you also have a record of similar leadership. Most Americans I know are tired of leaders blowing smoke up their backsides, and to date, you’ve offered nothing but platitudes to demonstrate you’re anything more than just another of the same.
For every single mom who feels heartbroken when she has to explain to her kids that she needs to take a second job … for grandparents who can’t afford the gas to visit their grandchildren … for the mom and dad who never thought they’d be on food stamps … for the small business owner desperately cutting back just to keep the doors open one more month – to all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I’ve met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance, to all of you, I have a simple message: Hold on a little longer. A better America begins tonight.
What is this? The litany of pandering? Stop trying to describe in sympathetic terms every conceivable interest group and simply start talking to Americans. You don’t need to throw a rhetorical bone to women, seniors, and small business owners. And you certainly shouldn’t be borrowing from George W. Bush’s “help is on the way” theme. If yours is like his, little more than a rhetorical flourish, you’re definitely off to a bad start.
Tonight is the start of a new campaign to unite every American who knows in their heart that we can do better! The last few years have been the best that Barack Obama can do, but it’s not the best America can do!
Looking at your record, I’m not sure Americans will be heartened by their prospects.
Tonight is the beginning of the end of the disappointments of the Obama years and the start of a new and better chapter that we will write together.
To be replaced by the disappointments of a liberal with an “R” after his name? You’re sounding dangerously like the establishment Republican version of “Hope and Change.”
This has already been a long campaign, but many Americans are just now beginning to focus on the choice before the country. In the days ahead, I look forward to spending time with many of you personally. I want to hear what’s on your mind, hear about your concerns, and learn about your families. I want to know what you think we can do to make this country better…and what you expect from your next President.
Long campaign? Well yes, you’ve been campaigning continuously since 2007, or sooner, so I suppose that is a long campaign, but I have news for you: It isn’t over yet. As your shills in the media continue to put you forward as the inevitable nominee, I’m not finished with you yet, and neither are a number of others. I just want to know one thing: If you think you don’t need to compete in Texas for our primary support, what makes you think you’ll have deserved any support you may want from us in November?
And I’ll tell you a little bit about myself. I’ll probably start out talking about my wonderful wife Ann – I usually do – and I’ll probably bore you with stories about our kids and grandkids. I’ll tell you about how much I love this country, where someone like my dad, who grew up poor and never graduated from college, could pursue his dreams and work his way up to running a great car company. Only in America could a man like my dad become governor of the state in which he once sold paint from the trunk of his car.
I know the bio. Tell us about you.
I’d say that you might have heard that I was successful in business. And that rumor is true. But you might not have heard that I became successful by helping start a business that grew from 10 people to hundreds of people. You might not have heard that our business helped start other businesses, like Staples and Sports Authority and a new steel mill and a learning center called Bright Horizons. And I’d tell you that not every business made it and there were good days and bad days, but every day was a lesson. And after 25 years, I know how to lead us out of this stagnant Obama economy and into a job-creating recovery!
Twenty-five years condensed into a paragraph, but not one word about your four years as governor of Massachusetts? I suppose that’s a space-saving measure.
Four years ago Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama?
He didn’t dazzle me, and he didn’t dazzle other conservatives, so now I’m certain you’re not talking to us. Already shifting your focus, aren’t you, Willard? What do we have after three-and-one-half years of Obama? Let’s see: We have more debt, a highly socialized healthcare program the burdens of which will not be fully known for years. We have a head of state who introduces radical environmental regulations without respect to our legislative body. In other words, it’s not much different from what the people of Massachusetts had after four years of Governor Mitt Romney!
Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump?
Did the regulations you imposed on the State of Massachusetts make fuel less expensive at the pumps? Did the healthcare plan you inflicted on that State make healthcare better? I’m asking these questions because these are some of the things the Democrats and their legion of shills in the Lamestream Media will ask of you this fall, and I suspect your answers will be no better than Obama’s. You may be treated with kid gloves on the ever-fawning FoxNews, but that’s not going to cut it this Fall.
If the answer were “yes” to those questions, then President Obama would be running for re-election based on his achievements…and rightly so. But because he has failed, he will run a campaign of diversions, distractions, and distortions. That kind of campaign may have worked at another place and in a different time. But not here and not now. It’s still about the economy …and we’re not stupid.
Barack Obama hasn’t failed. He’s achieved at least the initial stages of what he set out to accomplish: He is willfully destroying the country, and transforming it through destructive reorganization. The fact that you don’t recognize this is precisely why you shouldn’t be trusted with the Republican party’s nomination.
People are hurting in America. And we know that something is wrong, terribly wrong with the direction of the country.
Nice platitude. Even in the best of times, somebody, somewhere is hurting, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Stop pretending otherwise. As one good friend reminds me, “Life is tough. Get a helmet.” The direction of the country will not be changed by more platitudes constructed to deny reality. Are you familiar with John Galt? He’s trying to give you a clue.
We know that this election is about the kind of America we will live in and the kind of America we will leave to future generations. When it comes to the character of America, President Obama and I have very different visions.
Do you really? What concretes exist in this speech to evince that difference?
Government is at the center of his vision. It dispenses the benefits, borrows what it cannot take, and consumes a greater and greater share of the economy. With Obamacare fully installed, government will come to control half the economy, and we will have effectively ceased to be a free enterprise society.
Free? Like Massachusetts?
This President is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars. He’s asking us to accept that Washington knows best – and can provide all.
Ruled from a distant capital? Like Boston?
We’ve already seen where this path leads. It erodes freedom. It deadens the entrepreneurial spirit. And it hurts the very people it’s supposed to help. Those who promise to spread the wealth around only ever succeed in spreading poverty. Other nations have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages.
Yes, we have. The people of Massachusetts have intimate knowledge.
I have a very different vision for America, and of our future. It is an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. Because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hard-working, educated and skilled employees is intense, and so wages and salaries rise.
Freedom like Romneycare?
I see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living. I see children even more successful than their parents – some successful even beyond their wildest dreams – and others congratulating them for their achievement, not attacking them for it.
I see that America too, but Mitt Romney isn’t its president any more than Barack Obama has been.
This America is fundamentally fair. We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.
Great! Now, who pays for that school choice? One of the principles of freedom is that he who pays is he who chooses. Who is paying for the education of urban children? The parents of those children, or somebody else? And not only urban children. Who is paying for this failed education system? How do people who do not pay expect to have a choice at all? As to politicians giving goodies to friends, I a much in favor. How will you stop this, specifically? Can I see the legislative language? More McCain-Feingold humdrum? Or real and lasting reform? As to government workers, could you provide us the statistics on average salaries for state employees in Massachusetts both at the beginning and end of your term as Governor, so that we might see an example of what you would do at the Federal level? What did you implement, as Governor of Massachusetts, that would dramatically reduce the tax burden on the future tax-payers of that State? You may not answer me, but you’d better be prepared to answer it, because while no conservatives in media are asking, you can bet the left will throw it in your face if you’re the nominee.
In the America I see, character and choices matter. And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded. And poverty will be defeated, not with a government check, but with respect and achievement that is taught by parents, learned in school, and practiced in the workplace.
Kind of like “welfare wheels?” Not only did you dispense government checks, but you also dispensed automobiles. It’s no wonder that you should want Americans to forget your years in government.
This is the America that was won for us by the nation’s Founders, and earned for us by the Greatest Generation. It is the America that has produced the most innovative, most productive, and the most powerful economy in the world.
Governor Romney, you have a collectivized view of America’s successes, but the truth is that it was millions of individuals who created the most powerful economy on the globe. Your fixation with collectivized notions of national greatness are disturbing to economic conservatives and libertarians, and for good reason. The misleading aspect of your view is this: That America, as a nation, was the beneficiary of millions of individual achievements offers no answer to the problem without first understanding that it is only through the promotion of individuals, their goals and their ambitions, through individual actions that the collective you repeatedly reference may see any benefit. You cannot speak to America as a single body, or even as classes, but instead, you must see America as a diverse universe of people, surely with similarities, but also unique and each one different from the next. Capitalism doesn’t succeed when people focus on collectivized notions of success. Capitalism succeeds when individuals succeed, and we notice, after the fact, that the net benefit to the nation as a whole has been positive. Drop the collectivism. It makes you sound like a Northeast Liberal. Oh, wait…
As I look around at the millions of Americans without work, the graduates who can’t get a job, the soldiers who return home to an unemployment line, it breaks my heart. This does not have to be. It is the result of failed leadership and of a faulty vision. We will restore the promise of America only if we restore the principles of freedom and opportunity that made America the greatest nation on earth.
You continue to mention these principles that must be restored. Can you list them?
Today, the hill before us is a little steep but we have always been a nation of big steppers. Many Americans have given up on this President but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America.
The hill before us is vertical. It’s a cliff. Our current President is marching us off, over, and into the abyss. Most Americans are blindly following. If they follow you, where will you lead them?
In the days ahead, join me in the next step toward that destination of November 6th, when across America we can give a sigh of relief and know that the Promise of America has been kept. The dreamers can dream a little bigger, the help wanted signs can be dusted off, and we can start again.
How? Don’t offer me 59-point plans that have been cooked up by the torments of technocratic gobbledygook. Instead, list out those principles you reference, but never name, and tell us how you will apply them.
And this time we’ll get it right. We’ll stop the days of apologizing for success at home and never again apologize for America abroad.
We had it right before. We know how to get it right. What we need is for you to get government the hell out of the way. Is that what you did in Massachusetts? I don’t think so.
There was a time – not so long ago – when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one else in the world shared. We were Americans. That meant something different to each of us but it meant something special to all of us. We knew it without question. And so did the world.
Most of us are still Americans. To be an American isn’t about where one is born, much as your father would have known. To be an American is to exhibit an historically peculiar mindset that abhors collectivized thinking. To date, you’ve shown little evidence that you understand that.
Those days are coming back. That’s our destiny.
We believe in America. We believe in ourselves. Our greatest days are still ahead. We are, after all, Americans!
I believe in America. I believe in the prospects of individual Americans, as individuals. Quit blowing collectivized smoke. One thing real Americans hate is B.S. In the main, you’ve delivered a load.
God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
Indeed. Texas will hold its primary May 29th, but since you don’t need us, you needn’t campaign here.
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to apologize. Let me suggest to you that if Mitt Romney is the best the Republican party can offer, we might as well join hands with Obama in leaping off that cliff. At least it will be quick. I may be at odds with some conservatives who would support anybody to avoid Obama, but so be it. If when the Texas primary arrives, Romney is the only remaining choice on the Republican side, I will write in somebody else. Of course, at least for now, Romney is not the only choice, and I will vote for somebody who has actually led a conservative insurgence in Washington DC. I suspect that the reports on Drudge are false about an impending exit by Gingrich, if only because virtually every other story Drudge has run on Gingrich has been hyped or plainly false. Mitt may want this primary season to end, and his friends in the GOP establishment have done a remarkable job of orchestrating it so far, but that doesn’t mean we conservatives will necessarily go quietly.
Sorry Mitt. It’s not over.
As published at: Mark America