Getting Republicans on Message

With economic numbers as bad as we've been seeing, the 2012 election should be a rout against President Obama.

But Republican candidates can't seem to get much traction. We think it's the message.

Republicans have been focusing on the debt and the deficit, like America's problems could be fixed by a good accountant. But we're in a deeper hole than that. America has a crisis of confidence right now. We're hearing the same kind of cynical talk we did in the 1970s about the end of the "American Empire." Of course, that's hogwash. In the first place, we're not a coercive empire, but a free republic. This isn't the fall of an empire -- it's one of those periods of self doubt that we seem to go through every 40 years or so.

The last one was in the late 1970s, and it took a powerful leader like Ronald Reagan to get us out. Of course, when he was campaigning for the first time, Reagan was ridiculed as a simpleton for his unflinching, straightforward faith in the American Dream.

The sarcastic comments we now hear about Sarah Palin sound a lot like what we heard about Reagan in 1980.

Like Reagan, Palin mostly brushes off these smartass critics, understanding that America's greatness is far stronger than the snide attacks of a cynical establishment. Now obviously Palin's not Reagan, and we don't endorse candidates. But we do think Palin comes closer to echoing Reagan's call for a national revival of the American spirit, which is what we need a lot more than a rallying call of accountants.

If Republicans just focus on the numbers, without emphasizing the need for the spiritual rebirth of America, they'll lose.