By Newt Gingrich
When I first heard that President Obama was using “winning the future” as the theme of his state of the union I thought it was ironically funny.
I wrote a book, “Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America” in 2005. I used the title “Winning the Future” to make the case that the future was not automatically ours, that we Americans were not winning the future with our current policies and that we would have to make real changes to win.
My book was also a warning to Republicans. It was a serious critique of the Republican failure to thoroughly rethink and replace failing government policies and institutions. I was suggesting the Republican Congress, after a decade of power, and the Republican administration were not being bold enough, creative enough or conservative enough.
They didn’t listen and suffered the consequences in the 2006 and 2008 elections.
I looked forward to the State of the Union address to see how President Obama would build on this theme of winning. Winning implies a real contest. Winning implies losing is possible.
As you can imagine my conservative vision of winning the future by replacing failing, left wing bureaucracies with conservative, free market alternatives was radically different than President Obama’s.
After telling us government is failing (with a cute story about three different departments dealing with salmon) he then proposed more power and more money for the very institutions he has just suggested were ineffective and inefficient.
However, what was most depressing about President Obama’s State of the Union address was not its big government liberalism, its clever maneuvering to keep all the big government of the last two years, or its failure to admit how much liberalism had failed to create jobs.
What really saddened me about the President’s State of the Union address was its shallowness and lack of serious dialogue.
For three years we have been in the worst economy since the great depression. Millions of Americans are suffering from unemployment. We just learned that first time applications for unemployment benefits jumped by 51,000 last week. Housing prices are continuing to struggle.
What has the president learned from these three years of failure? What should we change to get back to job creation? Why should we expect more spending by failing bureaucracies (President Obama’s version of investment) to work?
The world is becoming more dangerous. The Bush strategies did not stop the dangerous North Korean and Iranian regimes from pursuing nuclear weapons. Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda are still killing innocents in brutal terrorist attacks. The Obama strategies have been no more successful than the Bush strategies. What has the president learned from the failure of “engagement”?
The United States continues to send $400 billion plus overseas even though we have huge energy reserves here at home. Instead of proposing immediate steps to use American energy to create American jobs, the president repeated his fantasy of jobs in the future created through bureaucratic spending on technologies that are currently unavailable.
What serious plans does the president have to control spending and balance the budget? Freezing spending at its current unprecedented high levels will barely make a dent in the projected deficit. The deficit is now almost twice as large as the entire government was in 1983 when I proposed a freeze on spending to President Ronald Reagan.
Sadly, there is no Obama plan for winning the future.
There is an Obama plan for protecting big government, for pouring more money into broken bureaucracies, for borrowing several trillion more from the Chinese dictatorship.
President Obama is on a path to lose the future while pretending to change things.
The Republican House of Representatives should aggressively move forward and propose a scale of change to genuinely win the future.
Let the American people see the contrast and let the American people decide if they want big government, high taxes, economic decay and dangerous cuts in defense.
I believe the American people want to genuinely win the future and will prefer a future of smaller government, more entrepreneurship, more genuine investment within a free market, more replacement of failing policies and institutions and a lot more honesty about the real change we need.
Let the debate begin.
Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995-1999 and is a potential Republican presidential candidate.