To say that I'm surprised by the outcome of the election is an understatement. I thought Romney would win, and win big, but look how wrong I was. We get another four of Barack Obama.
It's really quite disheartening. Call it a missed opportunity. For all of his faults Mitt Romney is a smart and talented executive. A Romney presidency would undoubtedly have meant explosive economic growth, and might also have gotten us long way toward putting our nation's finances on a sound footing. We have that debt crisis facing us. We need economic growth.
Obama doesn't. In his second term Barack Obama has once again inherited the mess left by George W. Bush. We'll be hearing about that mess for another four years. Obama's victory speech confirms it: The continuing economic stagnation is in no way connected to Barack Obama's policies. Just look at his prescription.
But that doesn't mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America's never been about what can be done for us; it's about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. (Cheers, applause.) That's the principle we were founded on.
This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared — (cheers, applause) — that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great. (Cheers, applause.)
I am hopeful tonight because I have seen this spirit at work in America. I've seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job.
In his only mention liberty Obama instructs us that our arguments are "a mark of our liberty." We might have thought that liberty is what draws people to our shores. No. They are drawn by "the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth." It is our strength, he tells us.
He says nothing about the freedom to strive for a better life for ourselves and our families. Instead, we must share. You business owners, sacrifice. You workers, expect less. Take that pay cut so that fellow part-timers can share in the ever shrinking wages. There's just not going to be enough to go around, and you'd better get used to it.
While a Romney presidency promised to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit, in Obama's world entrepreneur is just another job, a government job. The best and brightest will find their way to prosperity in striving to be middlemen, standing between citizens and their entitlements, doling them out according to prescribed formulas of fairness. That is the true strength of Obama's America.