An Open Letter

We’ve gone “a little soft,” have we, Mr. President? I have a thing or two to say about that, but first, here’s what Jonah Goldberg thinks:


Interesting perspective. I wonder where America could have lost its competitive edge. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with a government that blows billions on green energy boondoggles while making it harder to drill for oil while trying to make electricity rates “skyrocket.” It couldn’t have to do with extending unemployment benefits to 99 weeks (and rising), or to bailouts.

Jonah has more to say, Mr. President, and I think you should read the whole thing — even if it does make you a little uncomfortable. Jonah is a pretty smart guy, too. He’s only written one book so far, but it wasn’t about himself.

You might also want to read what my coworker Roger Kimball thinks. Here’s a taste:

What’s “gone soft” and lost its “competitive edge” is American government, which can’t see a pile of money it doesn’t wish to expropriate in order to feed its “spread-the-wealth-around” socialist appetite and which sees government as the adversary rather than the enabler of business. That’s the rotten softness we have to worry about.

So please, Barack, don’t tell us that America has “gone soft” or “lost its competitive edge” when it’s you and your policies that are as soft and edgeless as a freshly shucked oyster.

Now, Roger runs a big, mean, right-wing publishing company, so maybe you’ll just discount what he has to say. So instead, let me tell you what I’ve seen the last few years.

In 2008, we elected a man who promised us “a net spending cut,” a guy who would go “line by line” through the budget with steely eyes under his green eyeshade and trim Washington down to the bone. We elected — we thought we elected — a tough man to do a tough job. Who is soft, Mr. President, the electorate who went crazy for the tough guy, or the president who broke his promises while refusing to make a single tough decision about spending?


I saw the rise of a new political movement, a new Tea Party. This Tea Party didn’t throw fits. The rest of American didn’t have to endure tantrums as they went out on the streets, Greek-style, to demand more and more largess. No. They assembled peacefully, quietly, and asked you to do less to try and “help” them. That doesn’t seem soft to me, Mr. President.

I watched them endure taunts from your allies, and even from you, Mr. President. Your side called them wackos and nutjobs and racists and everything else in the book. And they endured the insults with a quiet determination worthy of John Wayne or Gary Cooper. But these weren’t brawny actors on the safety of a movie set. They were normal Americans who had decided they’d had enough, political neophytes going up against the best the Democrats and Republicans had to offer.

Then I saw them go to the voting booths last November to wage one of the most effective — and polite — revolutions in American political history. Their message:

Make the tough decisions, Mr. President. Stop taxing and spending and borrowing and regulating this great country out of existence. We aren’t Europe — we don’t want to be coddled!

I don’t know how you define “soft,” Mr. President, but that’s not how I define it.

There is, of course, another American. That’s the America of public sector unions and the professionally aggrieved and Wall Street and tottering big businesses. They’re the ones crying for bailouts or wailing that they might have to pay a little more than just a couple percent of their own health benefits. They’re the ones hurling insults, and generally behaving like small children who have been spared nothing but the rod — and for a very long time.


That’s your American, Mr. President. Those are your supporters. They’re the people your political future depends on. And they’re the reason — you are the reason — the rest of us have had to become as hard as nails.

You might not be able to see that right now, Mr. President. But I can promise you’ll feel the hard truth on Election Day.



Image courtesy angelo gilardelli / shutterstock


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