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December 23rd, 2011 2:20 pm
The Moral Case Against Obama’s Policies

Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal draws attention to the central  failure of Republicans losing ground against a Barack Obama quietly gaining in popularity:

One mistake the party is making is fighting this race like the 2010 midterms. A certain laziness has settled in, based on the notion that the GOP can make 2012 another referendum on the president’s mismanagement. But while Obama-bashing may again fire up the conservative base, it delivers nothing to those crucial independent and middle-of-the-road voters who are anxious, confused and looking for someone to convince them they have a better plan.

Strassel goes on to explain how focus groups in battleground states are showing a consistent pattern in swing voters.  They want Republicans to make a moral case against the President and his policies.  They assume both parties will overspend.  What they want is a coherent explanation of why Obama’s policies are wrong for the country and wrong for them.  In short, what Americans want are concrete arguments explaining why Obama’s liberalism is so bad for the country, followed by an alternative vision that flows in the mainstream of American political thought and experience.

More Strassel:

Consider that ObamaCare was a concern of the focus group, though it had notably receded. This is in part because, while the GOP often complains about the law and its individual mandate, it has largely stopped explaining to voters what else is in it, or how other upcoming provisions will hurt consumers, or exactly how they grow government.

Presidential aspirants and congressional Republicans, take note: To make a moral argument against the president, you also have to make one for yourselves. To the extent the GOP is lobbing the usual Obama complaints or going to the mat over who cares more about a piddling payroll tax holiday, it is wasting time.

In a nutshell, the GOP’s messaging failure explains Paul Ryan’s success.  Almost alone among major Republican leaders, Ryan is defining the problems we face with confidence-building detail, offering thoughtful, consensus-based solutions, and justifying them in light of our history and tradition.  This is the work of a statesman.  The sooner Republicans take the hint and follow suit, the sooner America will remember the moral case for prosperity.

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