This speech, the kind of stuff he said today is the kind of stuff I’ve been dreaming of hearing in a presidential campaign in a long time in terms of what this country is and where we’re headed.
Do you realize how long it has been since a political person, a presidential candidate of either party, spoke extensively of the founding of this country and how crucial everybody’s understanding of that is to maintaining American exceptionalism?
Mitt Romney took the long view of this country, from its founding to its future, farther than we can see, and he described what it is that binds us together and defines us as Americans. It is crucially important that people understand this. This was a speech of the long view, a speech of leadership and of vision. It didn’t attack anybody. It was optimistic. It was positive. It had reinforcement of American traditions and values. So the criticism I’m hearing of this really does a disservice, I think, to the critics and the whole process here. Politics is dirty, I understand that, but this speech today that he gave was — when I do speeches, when I do the Rush to Excellence Tour, I go out and I’ll do two hours, sometimes an hour-and-45 minutes, depends on whether or not I run out of water. But that’s a theme of every one of them: American exceptionalism; American greatness. How did we get here? Why are we here? Why are we who we are? What defines us?
All Romney was doing today was answering all these charges and criticisms that his religion makes him unfit to lead, and he was trying to, and I thought did a bang-up job, of defining this country. He gave a brilliant analysis of what he thinks the country is and where we’re headed as a country, filled with optimism that’s been sorely lacking in the campaign. This was not a speech that was designed to say to various members, “Okay, you want health care, I’m going to give it to you and here’s my plan, and my religion is not going to get in the way. You’re worried about the environment, don’t worry. I’m going to make sure we cut our CO2 emissions and, by the way, my Mormonism is not going to get in the way. You’re worried about these forest fires and the lead in the toys from the ChiComs, I’m going to make sure there’s no lead in the toys from the ChiComs and I’m going to make sure my Mormonism is not going to get in the way.” It’s not what it was about today. It’s not what he was doing. It was grander than that.
All these other things, when you get right down to it, are distractions in a genuinely good presidential campaign. I think it was a welcome speech, and some of the criticism now that’s being levied at this just doesn’t fit the moment, which is why I think some campaigns are behind this, which is understandable. It is a presidential race, and it’s dog-eat-dog out there, and it is to be expected. But, when it happens, I, El Rushbo, will comment on it and analyze it as I see it.
Let me say one more thing here about Mitt Romney. What Mitt Romney did today was raise the bar. Mitt Romney raised the bar today. In the process of laying out his own personal views on his religion, I think he raised the entire level of political discourse to things that matter, to things that are important in determining the kind of country we shall be in the future, and this is exactly what I have been hoping would happen in a presidential campaign. What Mitt Romney said today, I don’t care what you think of it. It doesn’t matter. If you disagree, if you were threatened by it, it doesn’t matter to me, but what he said today is important, because he was right about what he said the way this country was founded and how crucial that is to this country staying who and what it is. What Barack Obama thought in kindergarten is not important! That Mrs. Clinton flew on trips to China with President Clinton and, therefore, is qualified to foreign policy, is not important. That Mrs. Clinton has “fought for children” for 35 years is not important, nor is it qualifying. What Romney said today is important, and I think that’s what everybody is so scared about. I think that’s why a lot of people are so scared by it, including people on the conservative side of the aisle. I stress again here: I am not endorsing anybody. That hasn’t changed. I analyze this stuff day-to-day as it goes. Look, it may not be morning in America again, but we are sure a long way from midnight, now, if this keeps up.
Dec 6th 2007
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