If I were writing the President's speech at the Democratic National Convention:
My fellow Americans good evening. It is with pride that I accept your nomination to be the next President of the United States. It is with humility that I speak about what must come next -- both in the weeks and months before election day, and in the four years that we hope will follow.
The last three and a half years as your President have been quite a lesson -- we live in a complex, nuanced, and opportunistic society. We each have great expectations for ourselves and our country, but we each see it differently. This is the magic of America, and the challenge of America.
It was easy in 2008 to be on the campaign trail, blithely criticizing everything President Bush had done, and telling you how I would make things better from day one. It is easy because until you sit behind that desk, there is no way to understand how powerful and powerless you are.
Each of us seeks the Oval Office with the best intentions; this time the campaign is between Mitt Romney and me. I will tell you now that I believe 100% that Governor Romney is a person of honor, integrity, and with a profound desire to serve his country. He intends to do his utmost to take our country to a better place. He has articulated a number of policies and strategies that he will enact to accomplish this, and if we took the partisanship out of it, I imagine I might agree with much of what he wants to do, just as I believe he would agree with much of what I want to do.
This colors our approach and vision of campaigning, and causes each of us to pander to fractional but wealthy or influential interests with polarizing rhetoric. The only victim of this behavior is the citizen.
Thankfully, strategies, policies, 9-point plans, and campaign promises don’t amount to much once you get behind that desk. On the day I was inaugurated, I was raring to go, but at every turn, I found myself facing three things - incumbency, partisanship, and complexity. The system didn’t like change at all, and was very effective at resisting it; each side was bent on making the other look bad at all times; and if you did manage to get past these two, you had to appease so many people, cater to so many interests, and account for so many legacy obligations that there was no way to actually get something meaningful done.
Here is what I want to accomplish in my second term, and if you do vote for me, you must do so knowing that this is exactly what your mandate demands of all those who are elected to office this November.
If I were a Republican, I might stand here and say I want a government that is as small as possible; that all elected officials must be completely accountable for their actions; that we must only enact laws that expand freedom; and finally that we must reign in excess taxation.
My friends, I, a passionate Democrat, stand before you to tell you that this is exactly where my campaign and upcoming term will focus. Specifically, I am going to campaign for three constitutional amendments, and ask the American people to only vote for me if they believe in all three.
Amendment A: Election Reform
Elected servants take on a greater obligation than any private citizen, and must operate under more exacting rules. There are three parts to this amendment.
First term limits - Presidents will serve one six-year term; Senators up to two four year terms, and Congresspeople up to three two-year terms. Second, election finance - no private or corporate money may be used by candidates - once a candidate wins their primary, they are allocated a budget of fifty cents per eligible voter in their district. No additional money may be spent. Moreover, third party expenditures will be illegal - we will not allow any candidate to be corrupted by special interests. Third, the accountability - to mitigate corruption, once elected to the Presidency or Congress, the winners are required to publish all future tax returns until they die.
Amendment B - Legislative Reform
Our laws are overly complex, filled with hidden benefits for special interests, take too long to enact, and live forever. We will change this. There are three parts to this amendment.
First, legislative scope - Laws and bills must be written so that five randomly selected high school students can read and explain them in one day; they must only deal with one thing (no riders, addenda, etc.), and identify all sources and uses of funding. Second, duration - ALL laws (past, present and future) will expire after two years; this means that any law passed two or more years ago, comes up for renewal in 2013; but they can only be renewed after being re-written per part 1 (scope); if a law is not renewed, it is eliminated -- this means a lot of Congress’ time will be spent on this! Third, accountability - Congress must pass a budget every year; continuances will not be allowed; failure to pass a budget will result in loss of all wages and benefits for EVERY member of Congress.
Amendment C - Tax Reform
Our tax code is absurdly complex, and too frequently used as a means of catering to special interests. We will simplify the tax code (following part 1 of Amendment B) and make it very difficult to change. This amendment has three parts.
First, scope - we will shift to a flat tax with no (zero) deductions; it will be progressive and deducted at source for individuals, and include all federal income (tax, entitlements, etc.) in that one percentage. Second, personal - the tax rates will be 0% for those earning below $50k/yr, 15% for those earning $50-100k/yr; 25% for $100-200k/yr; and 40% for the rest. Third, corporate - this will be a flat 3.5% on gross income.
These three amendments will assure elected officials intent on public service; clear and active legislation; and a simpler and less costly tax system. I will publish the analysis that shows that the amendments will put more money in Americans’ pockets, reduce our debt, and restore honesty and integrity to the government.
I have decided to suspend my “active” campaign in favor of first publishing the clear and simple amendments and our analysis; and then only doing live and televised town halls to answer questions about these three amendments. I will not spend one more dollar campaigning against Governor Romney.
Can we fix them? Yes, but not if the White House and Congress continue as we have for the last 10+ years. Our behavior and partisanship are reprehensible.
It must stop. It must stop so we can do the jobs we were elected to do. It must stop so that elections can once more be about public service. We must stop so that governing can once more be about doing good. We must stop or our economy will not improve, and our debt will become untenable.
My fellow Americans - I seek a national mandate to enact these constitutional amendments because without them, America gives in to persistent and reprehensible partisanship; it gives up on one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
I will not accept that. As President and your nominee, I will do everything to win this mandate, and I ask you to walk beside me, to pledge your allegiance to the United States of America.