By Mr. Curmudgeon:
Wednesday night, Romney has an opportunity to put Obama and his “spread the wealth around” philosophy under the spotlight. There is little doubt that debate moderator Jim Lehrer, the executive editor of the big-government PBS NewsHour, will attempt to lead Romney into the tall grass with questions meant to reinforce the notion that government must be reformed, not scaled back in size and power. Romney should take a deep breath and remember he is running for President of the United States and not Massachusetts governor.
Years ago, during the Reagan administration, a friend of mine was a panelist in a PBS debate concerning government funding of the arts. When he asked me for advice, my counsel was simple: Never let your liberal opponent set the terms of the debate. Let them drone on endlessly about unattainable, utopian goals. Your greatest weapon is their worst enemy – reality.
I have a dream. A dream that Romney will use reality to counter every fantasy-based argument made by the Chicago community organizer:
Jim Lehrer: Governor, the president’s supporters say a Romney administration will end the Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare programs as we know them. What can you say to alleviate the fear of Americans who prize these very popular programs?
Romney: Jim, Timothy Geithner, the president’s Treasury Secretary, said that within ten years these popular entitlement programs, coupled with interest payments on the national debt, will consume 92% of the federal budget. To the president’s supporters I say this: These popular programs will end as we currently know them – no matter who wins the White House or seats in the House and Senate. These programs are unsustainable tributes to utopian fantasy. I don’t have to end them, they will end themselves and take the prosperous and free America we’ve come to love with them. The Progressive utopian experiment is about to hit a solid and immovable wall: Reality. And reality trumps fantasy every day of the week.
Jim Lehrer: Mr. President, your response?
Obama: The governor is wrong. America was built on an idea: everybody works hard, plays by the rules and makes sure no one is left behind. If we all work together, require the more fortunate, like Gov. Romney, to pay their fair share, we can bring about prosperity while keeping our promises to the elderly and less fortunate.
Jim Lehrer: Mr. Romney, your rebuttal.
Romney: Jim, the Wall Street Journal did a budget analysis that assumed the government had stripped every billionaire and millionaire of every cent they own. They concluded it would generate a one-time gain of $938 billion for Uncle Sam. I’m sure that sounds like a lot of money to the folks listening to us tonight, but federal spending under Mr. Obama has skyrocketed to such an extent that America must borrow one-third of the national budget each year. The federal deficit for this election year alone stands at $1.3 trillion. As you surely understand, the nation’s billionaires and millionaires haven’t got enough wealth to satisfy the out-of-control spending machine called Washington, D.C. Mathematics is a cold, hard expression of, well, reality. And no one, not even a mighty nation like America, can escape it.
Jim Lehrer: Mr. President, would you like to follow up?
Obama: Thank you Jim, yes I would. What Gov. Romney just said is the worst example of social Darwinism – survival of the fittest. He and his fellow Republicans would take us back to the jungle, turning one against the other, until this bleak tropical hell is littered with the shattered remains of the weak and helpless.
Jim Lehrer: Governor, your response?
Romney: The United States of America entered the world stage as an indebted but free nation. Its freedom allowed it to evolve into the most prosperous and militarily strong country the world has ever seen. Darwin said, “Old forms will be supplanted by new and improved forms.” He was too optimistic. One hundred years after his theory was the talk of the scientific world, it was discovered that the dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the Earth by a single 3-mile wide asteroid. Unsustainable spending, like that asteroid, threatens American prosperity and strength … with extinction. You can’t evolve from death or oblivion.
America faces a crisis greater than that met by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The former confronted one of the globe’s great military powers to secure the principles of liberty declared by the Founders of his fledgling nation. The latter tackled a domestic foe that sought to break our nation’s union to deny liberty to some in the name of slavery. Today’s enemy is denial; denial of ugly fiscal realities in favor of the president’s high-sounding but empty platitudes. These words are like a drug designed to shut off the ugly reality around us. Hallucinogenic affects aside, ugly reality remains.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” said Ronald Reagan, “We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
This generation of Americans must choose the reality of freedom or fantacy and a debt-generated extinction. I, for one, choose life and liberty for America.
Jim Lehrer: Mr. Obama?
Obama: Gov. Romney obviously wants tax cuts for his rich friends, dirty air, dirty water, the elderly to die, children to starve … did I mention that Romney is rich? Did you know I was a community organizer in Chicago? Don’t you remember that 2008 was the year when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal?
A word of unsolicited advice to Gov. Romney: Keep it REAL.