With Obamacare dragging behind them and only 97 days until the November election, Democrats have descended into a state of near panic. Their congressional leaders have, temporarily, abandoned Obama's agenda, preferring to spend what is planned to be the longest recess in congressional history trying to explain to voters why the biggest spendthrifts in American history should be left in charge of the national checkbook.
In the White House, it's much worse. All the way back in February 2009 our first black Attorney General said that "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards." Cowards, history teaches us, react rashly and fearfully to real or perceived threats. Which is precisely what the Obama administration did in unceremoniously firing Shirley Sherrod -- an Agriculture Department employee -- over a two-decade old video clip which showed her apparently celebrating discrimination against a white farmer.
The White House denied having anything to do with Sherrod's firing despite the lady's statements to reporters that there were three calls to her saying the White House wanted her out and demanding her resignation. And when the full story came out -- Sherrod was reportedly explaining her epiphany against reverse discrimination -- the president called to apologize as did Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack who offered to create a job for her. (So much for the skeptics who don't believe Obama is creating jobs.)
Sunday's Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking poll showed that 25% of American voters strongly approved of Obama's job performance while 45% strongly disapproved. The primary key to that weakness is the economy: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' June report, employers took 1,647 mass layoff actions that month affecting 145,538 workers. Unemployment continues to hover around 9.5% and new unemployment claims surged to about 454,000 last week alone.
And now Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has said it's time to kill the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. It's enough to make Republicans rejoice. Congress is theirs for the taking. Or is it?
Not quite. The Tea Partiers are a lot more relevant and effective than the National Association for the Advancement of (Democratic) Colored People, which has devolved to be a shill for the libs. But Repubs still lack the two things they need to sweep November: a theme and a leader.
Barry is a redistributionist Robespierre minus the funny hat, and Americans don't want to be bankrupt personally or nationally. The war in Afghanistan is not going well, and even though Obama is essentially continuing Bush's nation-building plan (adding his timetable for withdrawal) Republicans are beginning to come to their senses on it.
It shouldn't be hard for Republicans to turn those facts into a winning theme, but there are too many who want to be the doctor, not the pharmacist. House Majority Leader John Boehner's team will soon announce something on the model of Newt Gingrich's 1994 "Contract with America." But at the same time, three Republican "Young Guns" -- Boehner's Whip, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan of the Budget committee, and California's Kevin McCarthy -- are coming out with a campaign theme book in September which they will be promoting on television and radio at the same time Boehner's plan is gasping for media air.
Republican leader wannabes -- Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney among others -- are media teasers, sucking all the air out of the media balloon. The media -- even the conservative media, as few as we are -- pay more attention to them now than they deserve, reducing the opportunity for a leader to arise this year and carry on this year's campaign to take back Congress.
Which brings us to the central problem: in order to qualify as a leader, you have to have followers. Which none of the congressional Republicans have. They are competing in an Inside the Beltway wrestling match no one is watching. The Tea Partiers -- God bless 'em -- are independent. They, and millions of other frustrated, angry voters, are looking for someone to rise above the madding (and maddening) crowd of pols.
The theme this year can be described by three rules:
First, we need to slash government spending, not just slow its growth. Repeal Obamacare and whatever part of the stimulus is unspent, sell of Chrysler and GM to whoever is dumb enough to buy them, and end government programs and agencies -- everything from the Corporation for Government Broadcasting to the National Endowment of the Arts -- which the government shouldn't be doing.
The Phone Book Rule: If it's being done by something already listed in the phone book, the government shouldn't be doing it.
Second, we have to protect this nation from t he invasion of illegal immigrants. As a senior member of the intelligence community told me last week, there are a lot of "OTM"s -- "other than Mexicans" -- coming across. He said these people are from Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and other fun places. We know Hizballah terrorists are in Mexico. There's no reason they can't come in any time they'd like. This senior person told me that the Obama administration has chosen to leave the eastern half of the Arizona border open.
The Border Rule: Close the border to illegal alien traffic. Period. No amnesty for illegals already here.
Third, and my apologies, dear reader, for saying it yet again: win the war. Withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq and conduct whatever overt and covert military operations may be necessary to end state sponsorship of terrorism.
The War Rule: Fight the enemy, not his proxies and do so in a manner calculated to win quickly and decisively.
None of the people who ran in 2008 have the skill or strength of character to take these three rules outside the Beltway to reach the American people. Whoever chooses to can help the entire Republican slate this year, and set himself up for 2012. If no one does, 2010 will be the warm-up for Obama's reelection in 2012.
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