David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, is a talented writer and a committed conservative. He is best known for coining the phrase “axis of evil,” which Bush used in this 2002 State of the Union speech to describe Iran, Iraq and North Korea.
In this month’s Esquire magazine, Frum offers the speech that he thinks President Obama should give tonight.
In my favorite part, Obama (using Frum’s words) offers a sharp retort to the critics who insist he has put the country on the path to “socialism.” Frum is a conservative, but he lives in the reality-based universe, where facts matter.
Here is an excerpt:
When my administration arrived in office in January 2009, we confronted the worst economic collapse since the 1930s. We did our best to estimate the depth of the crisis ahead. We got it wrong. As bad as we thought the recession would be, it was worse. We prepared for a fifty-year flood. We got a hundred-year flood. We thought our measures would cap unemployment at about 8 percent. Despite our measures, unemployment has reached almost 10 percent. Unemployment remains almost 10 percent.
The economists tell us that the recovery measures instituted by this administration have achieved dramatic results. Two of America’s most esteemed researchers — one an advisor to John McCain’s presidential campaign, the other formerly a top advisor to President Clinton — have crunched the numbers. They agree that our recovery plan stopped the free fall in the U. S. economy, saved the world from a new Great Depression, and added 2.7 million new jobs.
These are powerfully positive results. But not positive enough. So we need to do more — and we need Congress to join with this administration as partners in the all-important mission of economic recovery.
We can see the future of a better economy already emerging.
Over the past twelve months, we have created more than one million net new jobs in the private sector — while government employment has shrunk by more than 250,000.
Corporate profitability has reached record highs, meaning that companies can afford to hire as demand revives.
Including dividends, the stock market has gained more than 10 percent this year.
If this is “socialism,” what would capitalism look like? (emphasis added)
I hope Obama says something very much like that. And, for an added touch of bi-partisanship, he can credit Frum.