May 11, 2012

Last week, The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler (aka the Fact Checker) issued a challenge to Mitt Romney and President Obama: Give a 15-minute speech on a policy issue that does not contain a single factual error or misstatement. And we asked readers to write short, hypothetical speeches that fit that factual criteria. Here are a few of the best snippets from the submissions we received, drawn from a Romney-heavy pool.

Tim Ward of Bethesda put some strong words in Romney’s mouth, imploring Republicans to lead the charge against climate change. “We have closed our ears to science, our intellects to reason, and our eyes to the reality of the natural disasters happening in America today that are caused by climate change.” He imagines Romney harnessing green energy and telling companies: “It’s the end of the road for fossil fuels.”

Tom Tyschper of Phoenix wants Romney to bring down the national debt by ensuring that “the wages, benefits, retirement plans, etc., offered to elected officials should not be one bit better than those received by those who pay their way.”

Jeff Golda of Pearl River, N.Y., offered a creative formula for tax reform: “Tax incentives will be created for every individual who is willing to ‘transfer’ their hard-earned income for the benefit of the greater good. . . . The donors will be rewarded through a multitude of mechanisms (lower tax bracket, enhanced write-offs, etc.) to make their investment in the greater good financially feasible.”

Golda would have the candidate acknowledge that this is a tough but necessary choice:

“If we are willing to sacrifice the lives and well-being of the men and women of this great country for the greater good during times of war, then every other facet of government should be evaluated and decided in that way — even if this means that I am not necessarily liked by everyone who is impacted by my decisions.”

But that’s the difference between writing a fake speech and a real one: If you’re vying for votes, likable usually beats tough love.

Outlook editors