William McGurn is his usual magnificent self today.
Not since Herbert Hoover has a party out of power had such an opportunity to run against everything that troubles the American family—prices, interest rates, unemployment, taxes, or the fear for the future of their old age or the future of their children—than is now presented to the Republican Party.
The Republicans, however, haven't figured this out. This is their basic problem. They have no strategy for defeating an Obama administration that is highly vulnerable on both domestic and foreign policy.Those words were written by Scotty Reston in the New York Times on February 29, 1980 about President Jimmy Carter's good fortune, rather than President Obama's, to be facing such a pack of stumblebums. We all know how Reston's prognostications turned out.
Nothing has changed. To listen to the media, the Republicans are always stupid and confused, bumbling and inept, obtuse and alarming, extreme and unelectable.
It's funny how only Republicans palatable to the New York Times lose Presidential elections. You'd think the public, and certainly Republicans, would wise up to the ruse.
Then as now, the chattering classes wondered aloud whether a candidate who could win the Republican nomination could prevail against President Carter in November. On March 1, former President Gerald Ford amplified that view when he told a New York Times reporter, "Every place I go and everything I hear, there is the growing, growing sentiment that Governor Reagan cannot win the election."Can it be long before John McCain, the New York Times preferred Republican candidate in 2008, presents himself for nomination at the convention? Too bad for the Times that Gerald Ford is no longer available to provide sound bites.
Especially of note is what McGurn implies about the standard for Republican candidates: perfection.
Nor was candidate Reagan without baggage. As governor, Reagan had pushed through the largest tax hike in California's history, had signed one of the nation's most liberal abortion laws, and—as George H.W. Bush pointed out—presided over the doubling of the state budget over his eight-year tenure, to $10.2 billion when he left office from $4.6 billion when he entered.Mitt, Rick, Newt and Ron are imperfect, too, just like Dutch (and, by the way, Barack). Get over it.
They can grow. And, unlike our current President, they won't unilaterally pass any trillion dollar entitlements; impoverish the nation to line their friends pockets; balloon the size and scope of government to unsustainable proportions; redistribute red state tax revenues to fill blue state budget holes; disarm the nation; abandon space to America's rivals; kill off feasible energy projects that would make America independent of hostile forces; shackle the economy with taxes and regulation; trample on American's religious liberties in the name of women's health, etc.
[Reagan] would face Santorum-like fears about his social message, especially after appearing at a mass gathering of Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals. A minister with whom he'd shared a stage was taped saying "we're being attacked by satanic forces," which Times columnist Anthony Lewis declared "the scariest piece of television" he'd seen in some time.
Yes, the parallels to 1980 take you only so far, and Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan. Still, at this same point in his campaign for the GOP nomination, neither was Reagan. The President Reagan we rightly admire for bringing down the Berlin Wall, reviving the U.S. economy, and attracting into the GOP millions of disaffected Democrats was still to come.
And he got there by transcending the conventional wisdom rather than allowing himself or his message to be limited by it.That just about says it all. Whoever the eventual candidate is, as President, unlike President Obama, he will have to surmount daily attacks from the mainstream media just as Reagan did, and probably die before garnering any recognition for saving America from bankruptcy and national decline.
It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. Any of the Republican candidates are sufficiently suited to the task of saving the nation from the vulnerable administration misgoverning it now.