That is why the president lately has been “speaking personally about race.” The threat of a return to segregation and Jim Crow is a spur to action—and the greater the perception that such a return is imminent, the better the chances of high Democratic turnout next year. The president’s remarks on Trayvon Martin and race in America, his Justice Department’s continuing fights with Texas over the Voting Rights Act, the steady drumbeat of rhetoric suggesting the right to vote is in peril, the president’s suggestion in a recent New York Times interview that if his economic program is not implemented “racial tensions won’t get better; they may get worse,” all heighten the stakes for his most committed supporters. True, none of these messages has the subtlety of last year’s “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.” But that’s what makes Joe so special.
The “war on women” resumed earlier this summer when Texas state senator catapulted into celebrity—and into the pages of Vogue—with her highly publicized, and highly ineffective, filibuster of state abortion regulations. Expect Republican candidates for House, Senate, and governor to be questioned not on their views of abortion but on their views of contraception. And wait, as legions of Democratic trackers are waiting, for the inevitable gaffe involving abortion and rape.
A spirited and risk-taking GOP could rally its electorate and respond to the inevitable attacks and missteps with an affirmative, unapologetic program that addressed national security, the economy, and the condition of American society. If you see it, let me know. At the moment, the Republican message is limited to highlighting scandals and the problems with Obamacare. It’s reactive, not active. What would be the agenda if, say, John Boehner suddenly became president? What would Republicans do? End the Fed?
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