Let’s hope Republicans everywhere took the time to listen to Governor Mitch Daniels’ Republican rebuttal to the president’s state of the union address.
It was a masterpiece. Concise, direct, optimistic, and tough. It framed the issues facing this country exactly as they need to be framed. He pulled no punches, going directly at the president for his failures on promoting growth and for exacerbating rather than solving the nation’s mounting debt crisis. And, unlike other Republicans, he forcefully articulated why a strategy of “taxing the rich” within the current tax code is a dead-end of slower growth and fewer jobs.
By contrast, President Obama’s speech was an exercise in misdirection, intended to create the impression that he has a plan for growth and solvency, when in fact the policies he trumpeted in earlier years have either done little to solve the problems or made them demonstrably worse.
As Governor Daniels said, this year is a crucial one for the nation. While he won’t be at the top of the national ticket, he can still make very valuable contributions to the effort, as he did tonight by giving us the kind of language that can help win the public argument.
James C. Capretta is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He was an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004.