Mitt Romney gave an excellent speech in Lansing, Michigan today. He went after President Obama’s record and cast him as a backward-looking, old fashioned liberal:
This wasn’t what we expected from President Obama. He promised change and hope, and said that he and we together could do anything. But rhetoric met reality, and reality won. His four years in office have been a disappointment for all of us, and they have been a catastrophe for some of us.
In his campaign kickoff speech last week, he asked us not to think about these last four years. Convenient, but not convincing. Ignoring his record would bind us to repeat it.
He is asking us, nevertheless, to look only to the years ahead, to consider how much better his policies will make things down the road. But in our hearts we know. As much as we’d like to believe him, we know that America is going in the wrong direction. Not forward, but sideways, or worse. We know that the mounting debt is a problem, not a blessing. We know that failing schools mean failing futures. We know that if more and more good jobs leave America, there won’t be enough good jobs to succeed in America.
The President’s plea that we simply ignore the last four years is his latest effort to escape responsibility for the failures. His earlier effort was to attempt to blame others – his predecessor, the Congress, the One Percent, oil companies, and ATMs.
But the failures were not caused by others, they were caused by wrong choices, the President’s choices.
President Obama chose to apply liberal ideas of the past to a 21st century America. Liberal policies didn’t work then, they haven’t worked over the last four years, and they won’t work in the future. New Democrats had abandoned those policies, but President Obama resurrected them, with predictable results.
But what I found most interesting was that Romney talked about “Julia,” the government-dependent woman who was featured last week in an Obama campaign slide show. Romney and his aides must have thought that many in the mostly student audience would know about the Julia controversy, most likely through Twitter and other venues (like this web site) where conservatives excoriated the Obama campaign for portraying Americans as helpless wards of the state. This is what Romney said:
Have you seen President Obama’s vision of the future? To help us see it, his campaign has even created a little fictional character, living an imaginary life filled with happy milestones for which she will spend the rest of her days thanking President Obama. It’s called “The Life of Julia.” And it is a cartoon.
Julia progresses from cradle to grave, showing how government makes every good thing in her life possible. The weak economy, high unemployment, falling wages, rising gas prices, the national debt, the insolvency of entitlements – all these are fictionally assumed away in a cartoon that is produced by a president who wants us to forget about them.
What does it say about a president’s policies when he has to use a cartoon character rather than real people to justify his record? What does it say about the fiction of old liberalism to insist that good jobs and good schools and good wages will result from policies that have failed us, time and again?
So far, the Romney campaign has been impressively agile and aggressive. This seamless transition from Twitter to the stump reinforces that impression.