Jonah Goldberg has plenty of expectations for President Obama’s upcoming congressional address: claims of pragmatism, self-quotation, calls for other people to partisan differences aside. Despite those expectations, Goldberg offers National Review Online readers the speech he would like to hear from the 44th president.
“My fellow Americans, when I came into office, I promised to discard the tired dogmas of the past. I vowed to put partisanship aside. I made a solemn pledge to focus single-mindedly on what works. As I’ve said before, what I admired most in Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was his commitment to ‘bold, persistent experimentation.’
“In May of 1932, President Roosevelt proclaimed, ‘It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.’
“Well, we have tried many things. A few, I believe, have worked, but honesty and the national crisis both compel me to admit, too many have failed.
“I can blame the mistakes of my predecessor all day long, but the simple truth is that the stimulus effort did not do what I or my own economic advisers said it would.
“Worse, many of the programs and policies inherent to the stimulus were built on fictions. Indeed, much of the money we wasted — at the behest of the Democratic congressional leadership at the time — was never even intended to stimulate so much as bail out programs and local governments.
“Moreover, as I have already admitted, ‘shovel-ready jobs’ were a myth.