An Investors Business Daily editorial states the obvious (which is why Karl Rove — “The GOP candidate must express disappointment and regret, not disgust and anger, especially in the debates” — doesn’t get it) — that to defeat your opponent, you actually have to articulate your criticisms of him in uncompromising terms:
Rolling Downhill Since Jan. 20, ’09
Nearly half of Americans think they’re worse off now than they were when Barack Obama was inaugurated. Will GOP challengers start giving him the treatment Ronald Reagan gave Jimmy Carter?
‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Reagan asked in his closing statement in the only debate of the 1980 presidential election.
“Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? Do you feel that our security is as safe, that we’re as strong as we were four years ago?”
More than three decades later, we find ourselves again suffering through another destructive presidential term. And as in 1980, the public knows who’s to blame.
That makes it essential that you show the public that YOU know who’s to blame, and that you articulate why in no uncertain terms:
Reaganesque zingers should work well throughout the 2012 race, but the real campaigning and debates are far into the future. Rather than wait until then, the opposition should go on the offensive now. Besides trying to distinguish themselves from one another, the Republican contenders all need to run, for the good of the republic, against the president now.
After reciting a litany of economic failures which have caused and continued to cause and extended national suffering the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Great Depression — the last time a hardened wealth-redistributing “progressive” occupied the White House — IBD identifies where the focus should be, right now:
… the recession ended five months after he moved into the White House — and he has succeeded only in stifling progress.
This ruinous record should be the focus of the campaign not only in 2012, but this year as well.
The GOP candidate who will distinguish himself or herself from the rest of the field will be the one who articulates the best case against Barack Obama. If that includes criticizing ways in which your primary opponent has veered into Obamaland during his or her career (e.g., RomneyCare, Pawlenty and Romney on globaloney, etc.), that’s fine. But the primary focus has to be on why Obama must go. A majority of the electorate understands that, as shown in the complete turnaround of the House and the significant gains in the Senate made in 2010. That majority is growing. Build on it.