I am pleased that Republicans put up Rep. Paul Ryan as the alternative to Barack Obama’s “investment” happy-talk last night. Love the Ryan Roadmap or hate it, Ryan has had the guts to talk realistically about some really hard issues, including putting out proposals for entitlement reform that lend themselves to easy demagoguery by the likes of Chuck Schumer, who has been in Congress for more than a decade without taking one single baby step toward balancing the budget or addressing the entitlement crisis. The Republicans could have put up some unthreatening diversity candidate to babble about inane generalities; instead, they put up a white guy from Wisconsin who wants to go hammer-and-tongs after the hardest problem facing our nation today. That’s a rare bit of political courage from a party usually short on it.
As for the president’s speech: As always, I’m neither an economist nor an investment adviser, but I’d say the outlook for little green pieces of paper produced by the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving does not look so hot. Obama seems awfully impressed by the fact that the for-profit police state based in Beijing makes solar panels. He’s not quite New York Times op-ed page in his enthusiasm for China’s central-planning “investment” model, but he’s getting there.
I liked the fact that the great American Demosthenes stumbled over that story about the Chilean rescue company, saying that volunteers sometimes worked “three- or four-hour days.” Three- or four-hour days? What about coffee breaks? Are these government workers? (He corrected himself: He meant three or four days straight.)
Executive summary: Despair.
— Kevin D. Williamson is a deputy managing editor of National Review and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, just published by Regnery. You can buy an autographed copy through National Review Online here.