In 1916, Robert Frost released his famed four-stanza, 20-line poem, The Road Not Taken. It begins, “Two roads diverged in a yellow road.” For our purpose, label them the past and the future.
The poem continues: “And sorry I could not travel both.” Frost’s line is true. To quote a great Protestant hymn, once to every man and Nation comes the moment to decide.
Ultimately, Frost concludes: “And that [taking the right road] has made all the difference.” This is also true. The farther you travel the wrong road, the harder it becomes to recover.
This winter, President Obama gave his fifth State of the Union address, reeking of the past. Among other sites, socialized government has tottered or collapsed in Moscow, Athens, and Paris. Mocking self-evident evidence, why does the President want it in Washington, D.C.?
Obama was followed by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, giving the Republican response – the GOP’s brightest moment since Mitt Romney’s Everest in last year’s first TV debate. At 41, Rubio looked like the future. Moreover, he spoke like it, too.
By now, even Obamaniacs have heard all their faux Messiah has to say. He likes taxes of all kinds, and stripes – note falling paychecks due to Obamacare, Medicare, and other entitlements. Unlike 83 percent of America in a current poll, he doesn’t think we have a spending problem! – despite it comprising 24 percent of America’s Gross Domestic Product, highest since World War II.
His State of the Union was as predictable as the tide. First, he wants the minimum wage to rise from $7.25 to $9 an hour – a job-killer for teens whose jobless rate already doubles the norm. Then he recited investments – Obamaspeak for a man too dishonest to use the word tax – like manufacturing, infrastructure, education, science, and alternative a.k.a. green energy.
Stimulus I was supposed to address these. It failed, colossally. Having learned nothing, President Past now proposes Stimulus II. No spending would add a dime to the deficit, he said, his Pinocchio nose growing. Instead, Obama’s “balanced” approach would lower it. This is true, if your definition of “balanced” is the late Saul Alinsky’s or Bella Abzug’s.
After Obama, Rubio responded in Spanish, then English, giving a speech he had written himself, personal and anecdotal. Incredibly, left-wing journalists fixate on how he drank water during his speech. Brighter people note how the maid and bartender’s son spoke differently, lyrically, than did the President, about a very different road – tomorrow.
“Mr. President, I still live in the same working-class neighborhood where I grew up,” Rubio said. “My neighbors aren’t millionaires. I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I want oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.” Senator Future is a very different Republican than, for example, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole, or George W. Bush.
Rubio noted the obvious: President Past’s “obsession” with raising taxes. The Senator questioned the other side’s effect, not intent: “I know that both Republicans and Democrats love America.” The best GOP communicator since Ronald Reagan urged a balanced budget amendment, border security before citizenship, and specific ways to cut the deficit and stabilize Medicare.
Franklin Roosevelt called himself Mr. Fix-It. Obama is Mr. Break-It. His road has been tried and failed, Washington’s tax-and-spend belonging in a rear-view mirror.
Rubio’s road has been tried and works in state capitals from Wisconsin via Texas to his native Florida: each booming, taxes low and business welcome, the American Dream affirmed.
President Past or Senator Future? To paraphrase a Dos Equis TV beer ad, “Choose wisely, my friends.”
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