Although I am very much enjoying Bill Voegeli's Never Enough
, I'm not talking about that fine book just now.
Rather, I point to today's National Examiner
, wherein Hugh Hewitt
writes that given the many and varied ways the Obama administration has demonstrated itself to be in over its head, "Enough!" will probably be enough of a slogan for the GOP this fall. This is true, argues Hewitt, despite the best efforts of Dems to conceal the depths of their hole digging. The deficit hole--forget all their other holes--begins to make the Deepwater Horizon drilling project look like a day at the beach with a pail and shovel. Voters are on to this, however, and it seems unlikely that in an age of flip phones and new media, old-style smoke and mirrors will provide enough cover to the disingenuous.
But will "Enough!" provide enough cover to a GOP inclined to pursue an easy return to power? It might be "enough" for that limited purpose. But it seems unlikely to be enough to make the country switch gears and begin an effective turn around. And it gives little comfort to the heart to read Hewitt's closing line and final justification for the slogan, "'Enough!' is enough of a slogan. Not even the Republicans can screw that
." [Emphasis mine.] Great. Can't wait to watch what a one note band does when they get to run the production.
Republicans would do well to recall that we remain a divided country. (This Ohio race--in a dead heat--is a good barometer
for measuring the nature of the problem.) The part of the electorate that the GOP is after are not simply fooled and disillusioned Democrats grasping for the only available alternative to disaster. A good number of them are irritated and frustrated Republicans
(or otherwise center-right folks) hoping and expecting something more from the GOP than "Enough!" and "I'm not a Democrat." But there is also a vast population of voters now awakened to politics--perhaps for the first time--because of this demonstration of political incompetence on the part of Democrats. They know now what they DON'T believe about American politics. Will Republicans offer them something they can believe? Will they take advantage of a once in a political lifetime opportunity to persuade and build their party?
I agree with those commentators here (Pete and others) who have argued that Republicans really need to get their political act together on policy and offer principled, constructive alternatives to government take-overs, bail-outs, and massive spending programs. But I remain skeptical of even THAT as a strategy. It's good as far as it goes. But its weakness is that it tends to assume a fundamentally sound understanding of the nature and purpose of American politics . . . and I just think that's an assumption we can't afford to make.
Republicans have this ONE chance to get THAT right. It is safer to assume that policy will follow principle than it is to assume that principle will follow policy. Republicans need to be out there making strong and principled arguments about American civics that can appeal to voters who have demonstrated a hunger for it. And this can play into the "Enough!" meme because it is easy to demonstrate the ways in which the work of the Dems is NOT in compliance with basic American civics. But Republicans have to also remember that at the same time Americans have demonstrated a hunger for American civics, they remain--because of a wildly ineffective and twisted education system--terribly confused about it. GOP candidates for office would do well to bone up on their own understanding of American history, civics and politics as it is fair to expect that much of the questioning they're going to get on the campaign trail is going to hearken back to it.
While it's too much to expect that Republicans can correct decades of misinformation in one election cycle (indeed, it's probably too much to imagine that any significant number of the candidates themselves possess any coherent understanding of it) the country as a whole needs to begin this re-awakening. For it will never be "enough" to shout "Enough!"