Mitt Romney did not have a word to say about health care reform in his CPAC address. It was a stirring speech otherwise, but he’s profoundly mistaken if he thinks that subject will go away if he ignores it. Health care has followed him home, and it lives under his bed, occasionally swiping the warm milk and cookies from his nightstand. In a convention where every other political speaker has vowed to hunt ObamaCare down with a bow and arrow, and finish it off with a Bowie knife, his silence on the topic was deafening.
Romney is a very crisp speaker. You can see him loading his applause lines and flipping off the safety before he opens fire. At his best, this approach seems carefully organized, which is appealing to a nation that’s had its fill of a President without either qualifications or strategy. At worst, Romney can seem a little stiff. He comes off better in person than on TV.
Health care aside, his critique of Barack Obama was withering. As Obama “watched millions of Americans lose their jobs, lose their homes,” his answer was “It could be worse.” His response to millions of Americans out of work “is more government spending and high speed rail.” He called the Obama economy “an inconvenient truth that will haunt this President throughout history” and asked, “How difficult is it to take office during a raging economic crisis, and understand the economy is your number-one priority?”
By contrast, Romney promised that “it wouldn’t take me two years to notice unemployment. I wouldn’t ask Timothy Geithner how the economy works, or Larry Summers how to create jobs… I know!” Declaring that “it will take more than new rhetoric” to fix the economy, “it will take a new President,” he presented his own resume of business and personal accomplishments. His wife Ann, who introduced him, made a splendid character reference.
Romney believes the Obama economy is not merely a practical blunder, but “a moral tragedy of epic proportions.” The corrosive moral and spiritual effects of high unemployment, and the despair of facing a future that only the government can win, are crippling to the American spirit. “Liberals should be ashamed they and their policies have failed these good and decent Americans,” Romney thundered.
He was also strongly critical of President Obama’s foreign policy, especially the reckless decision to give away our advantages to Russia, in order to procure the START treaty. “The cause of liberty cannot endure much more of this ‘they get, we give’ diplomacy,” said Romney, who believes American foreign policy is “threatened by a lack of direction from a weak President.”
Sneering at the folly of setting a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan, Romney quipped, “the Taliban may not have an Air Force or sophisticated drones, but they do have calendars.”
Romney believes strongly in America’s heart and soul, and rose to his greatest heights when seeking to share this faith. “The spirit of enterprise propelled America past every other place on Earth,” he testified. “I refuse to believe America is just a place on the map.”
Contrasting his evangelic patriotism with Obama’s world apology tour, Romney said “I will not, I will never, apologize for America.” He’s optimistic about the future, because “we’ve lost a couple of years, but we have not lost our way.”
It’s easy to see why Mitt Romney drew a huge crowd at CPAC. His condemnation of Obama socialism as not merely a mistake, but a willful and immoral agenda, is powerful stuff. It would be even more powerful if he crawled under his bed and dealt with the Romneycare monster clinging to the underside of his mattress.