What Mitch Daniels should have said.
[Editor's note: To see a video of Ben Shapiro's speech below, click here.]
I watched Mitch Daniels’ response to the pathetic state of the union address by Barack Obama – and then I fell asleep. It was boring, uninspiring, and unwatchable.
Here’s what Mitch Daniels should have said.
“Good evening, my fellow Americans. I’m not going to take an hour of your time, or half an hour of your time, or even fifteen minutes of your time. I’m going to take less than ten minutes to explain the state of our union, how we got here, and how we get out.
"My fellow Americans, the state of our union is critical. We are so deeply in debt that within the decade, we will be spending more in interest on the debt than we will on our military budget. That’s just the interest, not the actual debt. By 2015, we will be paying for the entire Chinese military budget, since we owe them so much money. What have we gotten for all this cash? We certainly haven’t gotten jobs – nearly half of all working-age Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, or have dropped out of the labor force entirely. The real unemployment rate is somewhere near 11 percent, not 8.5. The economy, to put it politely, stinks, and we all know it.
"Spending vast quantities of money hasn’t given our children a good education, either. Thanks to the teachers unions, which effectively bribe politicians all over the country to keep bad teachers employed and tenured, American children rank 14th in the industrialized world in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math. There are plenty of jobs available in America, in places like Silicon Valley – but we don’t have enough qualified people to fill them, because our education system has been bought and paid for by the greedy and perverse teachers unions. And while President Obama talks about everybody needing to stay in school and go to college, if our schools are terrible, all we’re doing is prolonging their ignorance.
"And all that money we’re spending isn’t making the world safer, either. China is building up its military. Russia is actively undermining us. Both those countries are extending their spheres of influence in South America. Our allies like Britain and France are rightly angry at us – and our treatment of Israel has been utterly shameful. In the Middle East, Iran is developing nuclear weapons and threatening to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, and we’re pretending that the international community is united behind us, even as Russia and China stonewall all action; Libya and Egypt and Tunis have fallen to Islamists; the Jew-haters in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have been emboldened; Bashar Assad is murdering his own people en masse; Iraq is spiraling back into chaos; Pakistan is a disaster zone; and in Afghanistan, we’re now negotiating with the same folks we toppled after they provided Osama Bin Laden safe haven. Yes, Bin Laden is dead. But pretending that killing Bin Laden solved the Islamist threat is worse than wrong. It’s reprehensible, because it gives us the same sense of false security that led to 9/11 in the first place. Meanwhile, we slash the military budget.
"And things are slated to get worse. In the next year, if re-elected, President Obama will allow the Bush tax rates to expire; he will vastly increase the burdensome regulations that kill business; Obamacare will kick in, destroying our healthcare system.
"Yes, this is President Obama’s fault. It’s the fault of his radical leftist Democrat allies in the Congress and in the states; it’s the fault of spineless Republicans who cave every time they’re tested.
"But ultimately, this is a republic. We elected these corrupt, incompetent, petty would-be tyrants and appeasers. Want to know why our government is out of control? It’s because for close to a century, we’ve lived out of control. We’ve railed against big spending, unless that spending went to our home district. We’ve bashed Congress, then sent the same corrupt and useless officials back to Washington, D.C. We’ve talked about entrepreneurialism, then given the green light to labor unions that stifle innovation, regulators who protect us against a booming economy, and legislators who make their living by pandering to those who don’t work or pay taxes in the first place. We’ve claimed that we care about a moral foreign policy, then shied away from victory. Worst of all, we’ve pretended to care about the Constitution, then called for a government that ignores all Constitutional restraints in the name of “getting things done.” And the “things” our government gets done have cut the heart out of American liberty.
"We are now a nation on the brink. We can leap forward into the abyss, or we can move away from the cliff. What we cannot do is stand still. The winds are blowing, and we are swaying on the precipice.
"Now is a time for clarity. It’s easy to ignore reality when the chasm seems far away. But now when we look down – and it’s a long fall to civilizational irrelevance – the choice becomes clear. We can close our eyes and jump; we can listen to a President who wants to push us from behind, a Congress that nudges us toward the drop, and a media that is desperate to see us take the plunge headlong into the dark night of national decay. Or we can fight back.
"And we will fight.
"Because we are a nation of fighters. We will not be talked down to; we vow not to heed the words of the so-called experts who expect us to defer to their superior knowledge. They say that the business of running the country should be left to the experts – we say that we are the experts, and we can run our own damn lives, thank you very much. They say trust us – and we say, no, you paternalistic, arrogant fools. You trust us.
"This will be a battle for the soul of America. And we will win.
"This fight won’t be easy. It’s going to be ugly and it’s going to be dirty and it’s going to be chaotic. It will be messy. We won’t all be President Obama’s soldiers, as he fascistically suggested we should be, and we won’t be shills for either party. We won’t be taken in by politicians who tell us they’re going to save us, then tell us to take a leap of faith with them. We’ll rely on ourselves, and on the Constitutional system that protects us. The greatest system ever devised by man. The system that guarantees our right to be free from government, not some phantom right to be taken care of by government. The system that celebrates the friction of free people making free arguments, not a forced unanimity that ends in chains. The system that builds on the individual, not the collective.
"For too long, we’ve been made to feel that if we do what’s best for ourselves and our families, we can’t do what’s best for the country. The truth is precisely the opposite. Freedom to act in accordance with traditional American values, on behalf of those we love, is the essence of America’s greatness. That greatness doesn’t come from building the Hoover Dam or the national highway system. It comes from us sitting with our families around the dinner table, enjoying the fruit of our labors, celebrating the future of our children. And that future will be bright, so long as we regain the confidence in ourselves that has always made America a light unto the nations."
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