McCain: no more punting

The dominant theme of John McCain's economic policy speech today in Memphis is that he's running for president to solve problems, not to put them off.

From his discussion of entitlement spending (as prepared for delivery):

"If I'm president, I'll submit a plan to save Social Security and Medicare, and I'll ask Democrats in Congress to do the same. We'll listen to what people outside government suggest as well. I'll work on a bipartisan basis to make the hard choices; to protect the retirement security of the American worker, and the growth of the American economy. And if Congress is afraid to make those choices, then they can just let me do it. I'll take the heat. I'll ask Congress to let me submit a comprehensive proposal. I'll prepare it carefully, fairly and honestly. And they can vote yes or no on that proposal: no amendments; no filibuster; no tricks: no band-aid solutions; no more lies; no more kicking the can down the road as the problem becomes harder and more expensive to solve; no more hoping that a future generation of leaders will have the courage we lack. If some of their constituents complain, and they will, they can put the blame on me. I can take it. What I can't take is the shame of leaving office knowing that America's future was less promising than its past. I've spent my life fighting to make sure that sad day never comes."

And the speech's conclusion:

"I'm not running for president to be somebody, but to do something; to do the hard but necessary things -- not the easy and needless things. I'm running for president to protect this country from harm and defeat our enemies. I'm running for president to make the government do its job, not your job; to do it with less, and to do it better. I'm running for president to defend our freedom and expand our opportunities. I'm running for president not to leave our biggest national problems to some unluckier generation of leaders, but to fix them now, and leave our grandchildren a safer, freer and more prosperous country than the one we were blessed to inherit. I'm running for president to make sure America maintains its place as the political and economic leader of the world; the country that doesn't fear change but makes change work for us; the country that doesn't long for the good old days, but aspires to even better days. I'm running for president of the United States, not a defeated country, not a bankrupt country; not a timid and frightened country; not a country fragmented into bickering interest groups with no sense of or dedication to the national interest; not a country with a bloated, irresponsible and incompetent government. I'm not running for town manager or school board member or corporate treasurer or surgeon general or head of the trial lawyers association or secretary of the local charity. I'm running for president of the United States, the most powerful, prosperous nation and greatest force for good on Earth. And if I am elected president I intend to keep it so."

UPDATE: The full speech is here.