Mitt Romney has been telling crowds that this election is a battle for the soul of America.
He could not be more right.
This is the year America flirts with a near-death experience, its spirit hovering over the body politic during efforts to resuscitate it.
There are two very different visions of America we will choose between in November.
The president argues that those who have done well are selfish and greedy for wanting to keep what they earn – but that the government is being fair and just in taking it from them in unspecified amounts and spending it as the government decides.
That is as twisted a view of America as you will find on the streets, much less in the Oval Office.
Barack Obama believes government is the answer to all our problems. And he appears at once surprised and oblivious to the fact that it isn’t. Example: He refuses to abandon the notion that his administration can birth and raise the alternative energy economy. He has lost hundreds of millions of our dollars in the attempt – while padding the pockets of friends political cronies. Think Solyndra, though there are other examples.
This is a gross, fundamental misunderstanding of – or unbridled contempt for – the American system of self-governance, the template of individual liberty and minimal government that made this the freest, most prosperous nation in history.
“President Obama’s view of capitalism is to send your money to his friends’ companies,” Romney said Tuesday night in Florida.
Mr. Obama also seems to think America’s leadership in the world was problematic, something to apologize for and retreat from. He has no problem celebrating the latest champions in the sporting world for being No. 1 when they visit the White House, but he appears not to harbor the same ambitions for America. He appears oddly contented with America losing ground.
Example: He has gone out of his way to block the joining of our Gulf to Canadian oil through a pipeline, knowing full well the Chinese would be glad to appropriate it instead. And while tying up domestic energy production, he encouraged Brazil to drill to its heart’s content – and promised we’d be its best customer.
Again, as with his taxing and spending policies, the president appears to encourage dependence rather than self-reliance.
Indeed, it is liberty, the free market and self-reliance that define the soul of America – as well as compassion.
But here again, Mr. Obama profoundly misreads the American soul. Public safety nets are needed and welcomed by all. But compassion is not an executive order or a government edict. It is something Americans ply willingly, generously, more audaciously than any other people on Earth. They should be allowed to do so in their own ways, without the overbearing hand of government to guide their own hearts and minds.
Candidate Obama vaguely promised hope and change and fundamental transformation of America. To this day, no one has ever seen his blueprint.
Well, the rest of us have one. It’s called the Constitution. And it’s a kind of map to the American soul: When used as directed, it allows each of us to become what we are capable of being.
It’s an American birthright. And we want it back.