George Will on ABC This Week mused, “If the Republican Party cannot win in this environment (a depression-level-numbers economy), it has to get out of politics and find another business”:
On her talk show, Laura Ingraham agrees with Mr. Will that, if the GOP can’t win this election, they should shut down the party. She feels that winning is mostly a matter of getting new campaign managers who can effectively re-brand the party and project a compelling image (2m43s audio only, ignore the screen image):
But over at the National Review Online, Andrew McCarthy knows the problem is much deeper than just poor politicking skills on the part of the GOP. He asserts that the Republicans can’t win just by being slightly less “progressive” than the left:
After a first term that has been historically abysmal, President Obama stands a good chance of being reelected. How can that be?
Still, the truth is increasingly irrelevant. Contemporary American politics is about emotion and perception. And this is a game Republicans will never win — and not, as they would have you believe, because the deck is stacked against them.
Certainly, the media, the academy, and most of our society’s major institutions are heavily influenced by progressives, if not outright controlled by them. It is therefore a given that elite opinion will portray Republicans as villains. Yet, that longstanding challenge for Republicans has never before been an insuperable one. In America, at least until now, the avant-garde has never been able to tame the public. It has always been possible to run against elite opinion and win — if you make a compelling counter-case.
Today’s Republicans do not. Indeed, they cannot, because they have accepted the progressive framework. Their argument is not that the welfare state, deficit spending, federalized education, sharia-democracy promotion, and the rest are bad policies. Their argument is not that Washington needs to be dramatically downsized. It is that progressive governance is fine but needs to be better executed.
Ain’t that something to rally around! The counter-case is supposed to demonstrate why the other guys are deeply wrong. You’re not going to get very far with “We’re not as bad as they say we are.”
It is hard to complain about Obama’s $5 trillion in new debt when you added $5 trillion just before he did. “Well, we took eight years and he took only four” is not exactly a response that stirs the soul — particularly when the country took two centuries to amass the first $5 trillion.
Not very encouraging, but I am pleasantly surprised to see some of those with a national voice express a thought that I’ve had for quite some time: The two-party system of Republicans vs. Democrats doesn’t really offer one much of a choice.
On the other hand, perhaps Romney and Company do know what they’re doing. It may be a little early to go for the jugular. A federalist solution to the medical marijuana issue was even floated by Paul Ryan. And who knows how many “October Surprises” we have coming from both parties? During the Presidential debates would it be a good idea for Romney to offer to produce more tax returns if Obama releases his college transcripts? Just a little tit-for-tat thought.
Whatever is currently showing up in the polls may not reflect the true level of angst coursing though the veins of the electorate. Received the following from correspondent E.B. in response to the McCarthy article:
I had other thoughts after reading the article. I may be a dreamer but I believe there are millions of people who don’t want to continue living in this repressive environment. M.’s cousin was a devote, and I mean brainwashed, O supporter. She actually bowed her head, clasped her hands in prayer when I bashed O. She called the other day and asked ME who she should vote for…maybe people are thinking about their lives before O. Emotion can work both ways.
Or, as Shakespeare once penned:
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Hat Tips: National Review and The Daily Caller