Frank Rich says Obama should discard his “Change We Can Believe In” campaign storyline. “It’s the strategy that vanquished Hillary Clinton”, he says, “but it must be rebooted to take out John McCain.” In its place he suggests Obama adopt the storyline of “we can dig out of this quagmire”.
Poetic, it’s not; but I think Rich is on the right track. The story Americans want and need to hear is not, as McCain would have it, one of eternal conflicts abroad. It is, as Rich says
“…an inspiring tale of serious economic, educational, energy and health-care mobilization at home. We don’t have the time or resources to go off on more quixotic military missions or to indulge in culture wars. (In China, they’re too busy exploiting scientific advances for competitive advantage to reopen settled debates about Darwin.) Americans must band together for change before the new century leaves us completely behind.”
One clarification. It’s not that we don’t have a lot of time and resources. It’s that we don’t have enough time and resources to simultaneously fight a rearguard battle
against the forces of reaction in the modern conservative movement and compete in the new era. Does anyone think conservatives are moving us forward by talking obsessively about abortion and questioning evolution and advocating tax cuts (for the wealthy) anymore? Did it ever?
It might be time for Obama to drop the “change we can believe in” rhetoric, but I think it’s time to ramp-up the “yes we can” rhetoric. GOP reactionaries have been a dead-weight drag on the American enterprise for too damn long.