The State of the Union: The President Calls for Optimism, Liberals Demand Pessimism

President George W. Bush presented a rationally based case for national optimism in his State of the Union Message. The President presented several, what we call strategic pillars, as a framework for bolstering the security of America's position in the 21st Century. In this column we discuss several of these pillars.

It was in his message that the President pointed to a rationale for a strategy of strong national security, economical growth, protection of civil liberties and the promotion of democratic freedom for people who desire freedom. The President said "We must never give in to the belief that America is in declined or that our culture is doomed to unravel...we have proven the pessimists wrong before--and we will do it again." We believe the President was quite correct. His tone was optimistic while, at the same time, there are some of the liberal persuasion who demand pessimism. How can this be?

The American economy is strong, the best it has ever been. In fact, it is the envy of the world. It generates more than 100,000 new jobs very month. Over the last 12 months, the US economy has added a very healthy 2,051 million new jobs. Unemployment has edged down to less than 5 percent. And economic growth is an essential pillar for national security. A vibrant economy that is robust and dynamic is, without doubt, essential for national economic and military security. The President highlighted several key components necessary to keep the American economy competitive: free trade, cut spending on wasteful pork barrel expenditures, serious entitlement reform, downsize wasteful spending, and tax cuts. To wit.... tax rates are down, but tax collections are up. Last month, the Treasury collected more in corporate taxes then it had in any month in history. Making the lower tax rates permanent would allow us to keep the economy vibrant and productive. And downsizing the inefficient and ineffective bureaucratic models within government would certainly help to support greater accountability. These are essential components so necessary to transfuse economic growth and to stabilize the economic pillar.

A dynamic mix of offensive and defensive security measures is necessary to protect America and American interests. The President emphasized the necessity of taking the battle to the terrorists and remaining engaged overseas. He restated his unshakable commitment toward ensuring a stable Iraq, with a constitutional government, and to energize a free people with the ability to make their own choices and to live in freedom. The President spoke about Iraq in the context of the struggle against radical Islam. "We are in this fight to win, and we are winning." He warned that abandoning Iraq, walking out on a people who are hungry for freedom, would not lead to peace, but to greater threats from terrorists. "There is no peace in retreat" the President said, and we emphatically concur. There is no security in defeat. Think of it: one of the greatest weapons of mass destruction is currently in prison and standing trial in Iraq. And it was President Kennedy who wisely said, "A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people." And in the words of Ronald Reagan "If we have learned anything ...its peace through strength works." And Kennedy and Reagan were right... truth with strength is a pillar for national security.

The President was firm in a rejection of the "false comfort" of isolationism and protectionism, a reminder that we are the nation that saved liberty in Europe and liberated death camps. And it was this Country which helped rise up democracies and faced down an evil empire. Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed and move this world toward peace. Less we forget, we remember with grateful appreciation the freedoms that were won by the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of American service personnel just two generations ago. While much of the European world agonizes only over internal issues such as tax harmonization and birth rates, the United States, along with its attention to internal issues, remains also intent on it global responsibilities, including defeating terrorism, and confronting the looming threat by such terrorist states such as Iran and Syria. There too, American leadership in the advancement of liberty and freedom throughout the world is a powerful pillar for a peaceful security.

The President was not short on examining domestic issues. Success on our domestic agenda is inextricably linked to the well being of our nation and to national security. The Prescient noted that the United States is "addicted to oil" and we must break our dependence on foreign sources and find alternative sources for fuel production and usage. He noted too, that there is "a quiet transformation in a revolution of conscience in which a rising generation is finding that a life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment." Violent crime rates have fallen, welfare cases have dropped, and drug use among youth is down 19 percent since 2001. There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades and the number of children born to teenage mothers has been falling for a dozen years. To be sure, liberals and conservatives have a right to be proud of this record. Clearly, personal responsibility is a central pillar for the fulfillment of a people.

Economic stability, peace through strength, the advancement of liberty and freedom, and personal responsibility for individual fulfillment....these four pillars, among others, give us reason for boldness in our resolve to maintain the strength and dignity of the greatness of America. A time for pessimism? Never! There is ample reason for national optimism and that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.