Jon Huntsman’s pitch perfect presidential speech

June 21, 2011

When was the last time someone announced for U.S. president with a barn-burner of a speech? I can’t think of one recently, not even Barack Obama in 2007.  And Jon Huntsman’s speech was certainly no worse than Mitt Romney’s or Tim Pawlenty’s. But style aside, what did he say? He seems to want to deal with entitlements sooner rather than later:

We must make hard decisions that are necessary to avert disaster. If we don’t, in less than a decade, every dollar of federal revenue will go to covering the costs of Medicare, Social Security and interest payments on our debt. Meanwhile, we’ll sink deeper into debt for everything else – from national security to disaster relief.

And there is nothing wrong with this chunk:

We must make broad and bold changes to our tax code and regulatory policies; seize the lost opportunity of energy independence and reestablish what it means to be a teacher in society. We must reignite the powerful job creating engine of our economy – the industry, innovation, reliability, and trailblazing genius of Americans and their enterprises — and restore confidence in our people.

Now, we did many of these things in the great state of Utah when I was governor. We cut taxes. We flattened rates. We balanced our budget. We worked very hard to maintain our AAA bond rating status, something few states can claim. And when the economic crisis hit, we were prepared. And by many accounts we became the best state in America for business. We also were named the best managed state in America. You see, we proved that government doesn’t have to choose between fiscal responsibility and economic growth.

Perhaps the most important part:

It’s not that we wish to disengage from the world, don’t get me wrong, but rather that we believe the best long- term national security strategy is rebuilding our core here at home.

And this is the core, I think, of the Huntsman campaign: Rebuilding and retooling America’s economic strength from which our global power flows. Hey, I am dying to hear the technocratic details on this, and hopefully Huntsman will go far beyond keeping the Bush tax cuts and repealing Obamacare. I think he has to. Timidity is not an option for a dark horse candidate. The bolder the better.  But he shouldn’t forget to also make the moral case as to why entrepreneurial capitalism is best for America vs. Obama’s state-managed variety, of which he should be quite familiar from his time in China.

 

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