To my friends and fellow Republicans,
Throughout our country’s long and remarkable journey, there have been “inflection points,” critical moments when political, economic, military and other forces converged to alter the course of our history.
We are at one of those inflection points today.
Forces of globalization, the rise of major new economic powerhouses such as China and India, and the emergence of radical Jihad have created a “perfect storm” that will change the course of our nation. We face unprecedented challenges in securing our borders, protecting the American family, and ending America’s dependence on foreign oil.
Our actions today will determine which course America will take. Will America remain the world’s economic and military superpower, able to preserve peace, progress, and prosperity? Will our children and grandchildren grow up with the same opportunities that have been our birthright for over two centuries? Will our uniquely America culture – a culture of family, patriotism, faith, and freedom – remain our foundation and lead a stronger America into the future?
I believe the American people can rise to these and every other challenge ahead of us. Yet, at this extraordinary moment in our nation’s history, our government is failing us. Washington is busy pointing fingers, assigning blame, and spending too much money. There is too much talk and too little action.
The blame, we must admit, does not belong to just one party. If we’re going to change Washington, Republicans have to put our own house in order.
We can’t be like Democrats – a party of big spending. We can’t pretend our borders are secure from illegal immigration. We can’t have ethical standards that are a punch-line for Jay Leno.
When Republicans act like Democrats, America loses.
It’s time for Republicans to start acting like Republicans. We have to remember who we are: We are not Big Government Republicans. We are not Washington Republicans. We are Change Washington Republicans. Democrats are not the change Washington needs. We are the change Washington needs and it’s time for Republicans like us to stand for that change again.
There is not a single challenge America faces that we can’t overcome with the innovation and passion that has always been at the heart of the American people. If we change Washington, I believe America can achieve anything.
It’s time for change in Washington and that change must begin with us.
Further comment to come.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey doesn’t think this approach will work, citing a lack of optimism. I don’t see any necessary contradiction in terms between being honest about the ways Republicans need to change and being optimistic–though I think I agree with Morrissey that this incarnation of the critique isn’t much for optimism. Governor Romney can change that, though. He’s been notable so far for his “Happy Warrior” approach, and that is crucial. As he continues with this line of argument, which I hope he will, he should make certain not to lose the optimism. Diagnose the problem, but also point to the solution.
Also, Senator McCain is saying Governor Romney is late to the party on the issue of reform. Unfortunately for him, his argument misses the mark. For years, Senator McCain has been urging Republicans to take up a new and un-conservative set of principles–things like jettisoning voters like us and enacting harsh restrictions on the freedom of speech like his namesake campaign-finance law. Governor Romney, by contrast, is calling us back to our real principles–the ones from which DC-based Republicans have so obviously strayed.
It’s not that Governor Romney is following Senator McCain. They’re not even headed the same direction. And as we’ve seen recently, the base of our party isn’t following the Senator, either.