Yes, yes -- some formalities remain, but Romney effectively put this primary season to bed with five resounding victories last night. As expected, he cleaned up in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island; he also prevailed in Delaware, where Newt Gingrich's running-on-fumes campaign was hoping to make some sort of a stand that might justify its continued existence. Romney won there by nearly 30 points, which could very well oust the former Speaker from the race. Having sewn up the GOP nod, Romney addressed a packed hall in New Hampshire and officially turned the page to the general election competition. Flanked by flag-waving supporters, Romney declared that "a better America begins tonight:"
A few notable excerpts from a very strong address: (1) Embracing his own business success, and pummeling Obama over his demonstrable failures:
Only in America could a man like my dad become governor of the state in which he once sold paint from the trunk of his car. I’d say that you might have heard that I was successful in business. And that rumor is true. But you might not have heard that I became successful by helping start a business that grew from 10 people to hundreds of people. You might not have heard that our business helped start other businesses, like Staples and Sports Authority and a new steel mill and a learning center called Bright Horizons. And I’d tell you that not every business made it and there were good days and bad days, but every day was a lesson. And after 25 years, I know how to lead us out of this stagnant Obama economy and into a job-creating recovery! Four years ago Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama?
Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump? If the answer were “yes” to those questions, then President Obama would be running for re-election based on his achievements…and rightly so. But because he has failed, he will run a campaign of diversions, distractions, and distortions. That kind of campaign may have worked at another place and in a different time. But not here and not now. It’s still about the economy …and we’re not stupid.
(2) Defending free enterprise and the worthiness of American success:
This President is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars. He’s asking us to accept that Washington knows best – and can provide all. We’ve already seen where this path leads. It erodes freedom. It deadens the entrepreneurial spirit. And it hurts the very people it’s supposed to help. Those who promise to spread the wealth around only ever succeed in spreading poverty. Other nations have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages.
I have a very different vision for America, and of our future. It is an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. Because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hard-working, educated and skilled employees is intense, and so wages and salaries rise. I see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living. I see children even more successful than their parents - some successful even beyond their wildest dreams – and others congratulating them for their achievement, not attacking them for it.
(3) Turning Obama's "fairness" narrative against big government, in what was probably my favorite passage:
This America is fundamentally fair. We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next...Today, the hill before us is a little steep but we have always been a nation of big steppers. Many Americans have given up on this President but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America.
And we're off...