Barack Obama ran for president four years ago with a simple message: Hope and change. In speeches across the country and across the world, he promised to make Washington work and turn the country — and our economy — around. He was inspirational. He was passionate. He was historic. And he was full of it.
Four years later, things haven’t improved. In fact, they’ve become worse. Today close to 13 million Americans are unemployed. Millions more are either underemployed or have quit looking for work. Home prices are down while gas, food and health care costs are up.
The president’s solution has been to throw more and more taxpayer money at the problem. So while families across the country were tightening their belts and cutting back, the president took the country on a spending spree. Today, we are more than $5 trillion deeper in debt than we were the day President Obama was sworn in. That’s the largest, fastest debt increase in American history. And what do we have to show for it? A so-called stimulus plan that didn’t work, a government takeover of our health care system and hundreds of millions wasted on “green jobs” at bankrupt companies like Solyndra.
America is now almost $16 trillion in debt, a staggering number that gets higher every second of every day. Forty-eight thousand dollars a second, to be exact. That means in the five minutes it might take you to read this piece, America will have fallen $14 million deeper in debt.
This is not the “hope and change” America voted for. Thousands of conservative activists and leaders were energized at CPAC Chicago last week, right in the president’s backyard, to say that it’s time for America to change direction.
At our Midwest regional conference, former Senator Rick Santorum warned our crowd of over 2,000 attendees that America is at “a tipping point” and that “people are concerned about fundamentally what is going on in America.”
Governor Chris Christie captured the spirit of CPAC Chicago perfectly in his speech: “We are in our moment of crisis. When we are judged, are we going to say that we stuck our head in the sand? Or are we going to say that at this time of crisis, we stood up for our principles. We stood up for freedom and liberty in this country and around the world. We were willing to make the difficult decisions that needed to be made in order to make our country great for our children and grandchildren.”
The conservative movement is united and energized like never before. Something is happening in America that is very palpable. Americans are taking a stand, refusing to let liberals in Washington continue to challenge the fundamental principles that made America the greatest country in the world.
Our movement is energized, and it is growing. Just look at what’s been happening across the country.
It began shortly after President Obama took office with the elections of governors Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell in 2009, replacing Democrat governors in New Jersey and Virginia.
It followed in 2010 with one of the greatest congressional victories conservatives have even seen. And it continues today. Just last week Governor Scott Walker won a resounding election in Wisconsin with a greater margin of victory than in 2010.
As Bill Clinton himself once said, the era of big government is over. Obviously President Obama didn’t get that message. But this November he will.
Al Cardenas is the chairman of the American Conservative Union.