The president described the American Dream in a recent campaign speech as "that basic idea, that basic bargain that says here we all deserve a fair shot, and everybody should do their fair share and everybody should play by the same set of rules—that basic bargain that says, if you're willing to work hard and take responsibility in your own life, then you can find a job that pays a living wage and you can save up and buy a home and you won't go bankrupt if you get sick."
He started out well enough with the notion of equality of opportunity, that very American idea of everybody getting the same "fair shot" in life as everybody else. But then he veered left, called for higher taxes ("fair share") and pay equity ("living wage"), and ended up completely off the tracks, saying that protection from bankruptcy due to healthcare costs should be part of the "basic bargain" of being an American. The difference between the two philosophies couldn't be much starker.
These days the president also likes to talk about how he's "betting" on American workers, on American car companies, on clean energy. Now he's making an even bigger bet: He's betting that American voters will see these two vastly different visions of our future and choose the one that goes with fairness over growth, uncertainty over confidence, and more government over less.
If I were Mitt Romney, I'd take that bet.