Romney in Iowa: Obama falls far short of the magnitude of the times

Mitt Romney gave a speech in Ames, Iowa today that has been viewed as his “closing argument” for the 2012 campaign – a summary of the case he has brought before the American voter.

“Our campaign is about big things, because we happen to believe that America faces big challenges,” said Romney.  Obama’s campaign, in contrast, “falls far short of the magnitude of the times, and the presidency of the last four years has fallen far short of the promises of his last campaign.”  He spoke of the many distractions Obama has thrown before the electorate, and criticized the incumbent for dangling “small shiny objects” before voters, when issues of great consequence must be decided.

Romney explained why this election matters so much to American families:

It matters to the senior who needs to get an appointment with a medical specialist but is told by one receptionist after another that the doctor isn’t taking any new Medicare patients, because Medicare has been slashed to pay for Obamacare.

It matters to the man from Waukesha, Wisconsin I spoke with several days ago.  In what were supposed to be his best work years, he used to have a job at $25 an hour with benefits and now has one at $8 an hour, without benefits.

It matters to the college student, graduating this spring, with 10 to 20 thousand dollars in student debt, who now learns that she also will be paying for 50 thousand dollars in government debt, a burden that will put the American Dream beyond her reach.

It matters for the child in a failing school, unable to go to the school of his parent’s choosing, because the teacher’s union that funds the President’s campaign opposes school choice.

Romney refuted the notion that all of Obama’s problems were caused by his predecessor:

What he inherited wasn’t the only problem; what he did with what he inherited made the problem worse.

In just four short years, he borrowed nearly $6 trillion, adding almost as much debt held by the public as all prior American presidents in history.

He forced through Obamacare, frightening small business from hiring new employees and adding thousands of dollars to every family’s healthcare bill.

He launched an onslaught of new regulations, often to the delight of the biggest banks and corporations, but to the detriment of the small, growing businesses that create two-thirds of our jobs.

New business starts are at a 30-year low because entrepreneurs and investors are sitting on the sidelines, weary from the President???s staggering new regulations and proposed massive tax increases.

Many families can???t get mortgages and many entrepreneurs can???t get loans because of Dodd-Frank regulations that make it harder for banks to lend.

The president invested taxpayer money–your money–in green companies, now failed, that met his fancy, and sometimes were owned by his largest campaign contributors. He spent billions of taxpayer dollars on investments like Solyndra, Tesla, Fisker, and Ener1, which only added to our mounting federal debt.

Romney’s speech incorporated the melancholy economic report released today: “Last quarter, our economy grew at just 2%.  After the stimulus was passed, the White House promised the economy would now be growing at 4.3%, over twice as fast.  Slow economic growth means slow job growth and declining take home pay.  This is what four years of President Obama’s policies have produced. Americans are ready for change – for growth, for jobs, for more take home pay.”

The solution, said Romney, lies not in tax increases that could kill 700,000 more jobs, another wasted “trickle-down government” stimulus bill, or dangerous cuts to American military strength.  Instead, he spoke at length about his five-point plan to “renew our faith in the power of free people pursuing their dreams” and strengthen the middle class:

One, we will act to put America on track to a balanced budget by eliminating unnecessary programs, by sending programs back to states where they can be managed with less abuse and less cost, and by shrinking the bureaucracy of Washington.

Two, we???ll produce more of the energy we need to heat our homes, fill our cars, and make our economy grow.  We will stop the Obama war on coal, the disdain for oil, and the effort to crimp natural gas by federal regulation of the very technology that produces it. We will support nuclear and renewables, but phase out subsidies once an industry is on its feet. And rather than investing in new electric auto and solar companies, we will invest in energy science and research to make discoveries that can actually change our energy world. And by 2020, we will achieve North American energy independence.

Three, we will make trade work for America.  We???ll open more markets to American agriculture, products, and services. And we will finally hold accountable any nation that doesn’t play by the rules.  I will stand up for the rights and interests of American workers and employers.

Four, we will grow jobs by making America the best possible place for job creators, for entrepreneurs, for small business, for innovators, for manufacturers. This we will do by updating and reshaping regulations to encourage growth, by lowering tax rates while lowering deductions and closing loopholes, and by making it clear from day one that unlike the current administration, we actually like business and the jobs business creates.

Finally, as we create more opportunity, we also will make sure that our citizens have the skills to succeed. Training programs will be shaped by the states where people live, and schools will put the interests of our kids, their parents, and their teachers above the interests of the teachers’ unions.

Those are much better ideas, presented with far more specificity, than anything in Obama’s silly “New Economic Patriotism” picture book.  It’s always odd to hear the President’s apologists criticizing anyone else for providing insufficiently detailed plans or having math that doesn’t “add up,” but the truth is that “fixing” the Obamanomics mess consists in no small part of canceling the Obama policies that have prevented us from having a real recovery.  The first step to becoming helpful is to stop being harmful.

Romney promised to seriously address the big issues, including serious health care reform after the ruins of ObamaCare have been cleaned away, and the reforms necessary to ensure Medicare remains solvent.  His speech was well-timed and carefully crafted to emphasize his maturity and confidence, versus the increasingly childish and inept Obama:

What this requires is change, change from the course of the last four years. It requires that we put aside the small and the petty, and demand the scale of change we deserve: we need real change, big change.

Our campaign is about that kind of change–confronting the problems that politicians have avoided for over a decade, revitalizing our competitive economy, modernizing our education, restoring our founding principles.

This is the kind of change that promises a better future, one shaped by men and women pursuing their dreams in their own unique ways.

This election is a choice between the status quo — going forward with the same policies of the last four years — or instead, choosing real change, change that offers promise, promise that the future will be better than the past.

If you are ready for that kind of change, if you want this to be a turning point in America’s course, join Paul Ryan and me, get your family and friends to join us, and vote now for the kind of leadership that these times demand.

Or you could do what Obama’s adolescent campaign suggests, draw the curtains on that voting booth, and pretend you’re a virgin on your first hot date with Barry.  You can put Joe Biden, who today claimed that Republicans want to give five hundred trillion dollars in tax cuts to the Evil Rich, a heartbeat away from the presidency again.  You can settle for an endless New Normal quagmire in which 2 percent GDP growth and 8 percent unemployment are presented as cause for celebration.  Maybe the next group of Americans Obama sends into an al-Qaeda hive will actually have some protection, and the cavalry will come when they call for help.  Maybe.