As Republicans look to 2010 and 2012, they must consider one unknown: How will Obama perform? Will he be a turnaround president like Ronald Reagan? Or a flat-footed and uncertain leader like Jimmy Carter, whom Reagan defeated in 1980. That will decide the election.

The media already are creating a rough template for Obama – that he is inheriting a terrible economy; that it may not get better; that we must prepare for worse; that unemployment could go to 10% if the car companies shut down; that anything better than 10% unemployment will be a “victory” for Obama; that Obama will be doing his best.

Consider two other Democrats who inherited terrible economies – FDR in 1932 and Jimmy Carter in 1976. Both ended up hurting the economy with their policies. The economy under FDR by 1936 was much worse than it was in 1932 when FDR was elected. Yet he managed to convince Americans that he was doing his best when he was in fact pursuing the wrong policies. And to this day, the media worship FDR.

FDR’s whole tenure was built on emotion, with his fireside chats and his activist government giving us programs like Social Security which is going to consume the entire American economy over the next 27 years, just in time for its 100th anniversary in 2035.

Carter was a better example of what could happen to Obama. The media could not romanticize him. He was a disaster. Americans threw him out after 4 years.

The big question in the 2012 presidential election will be one that Reagan asked in defeating Carter: “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?”

Barring a major foreign policy disaster or an avoidable terrorist attack either of which will doom Obama, whichever candidate can elicit the majority response in his/her favor with that question – “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?” – will win in 2012. It is that simple. Because things are fairly bad now. If they get worse and Obama’s media friends cannot cover for him (they will try everything) Obama will be toast.

How can the Republican party win in 2010 and 2012? Here are some thoughts on the subject:

1) Despite every possible thing going his way – the entire Ancient Media rooting for him, the economic collapse, anger at Bush, the Iraq war, McCain’s lousy campaign, the political cycle – Obama only won a modest victory of 6.7 points in the popular vote. A landslide is 15 points. Thus he does not have the big mandate that the media wish he did. The media are ignoring the reality of 58 million McCain/Palin voters. In 2 or 4 years, those 58 million may feel totally vindicated and could be joined by millions more. If just over half the difference between Obama and McCain (3.5 million voters) shift to the GOP next time, the Republicans will win.

2) Obama seems to be prepared to go down the wrong road economically. He is talking about hundreds of billions for “infrastructure projects” which is the exact same path FDR took with his make-work government projects, which did nothing to improve the economy, but instead hurt it.

3) On the other hand, there is some inkling that Obama may be willing to postpone the capital gains tax rise, the tax hikes on upper-income Americans, and the tax increases on business that he has planned. But this is only speculation. He may go full tilt to the left and suffer the consequences then try and talk his way past 2012 like FDR did. But many people are talking about the facts learned from the great depression of the 1930s, that tax increases did major damage, and this is a good sign that conservative common sense finally has reached into the Democrat party.

4) In either case, Republicans must try to talk some sense into the American public about how wealth is created. This is difficult because tens of millions of Democrat voters are beyond reach. They know only one phrase – “Here is your government check” or “Here is your government job”. They do not want to hear about Adam Smith or Milton Friedman, or about tax rates or supply-and-demand theory. So the GOP must appeal to swing voters with common sense about wealth creation.

5) Republicans must stress that the fiscal crisis was caused largely by the entire banking system – from private banks to Fannie Mae – being permeated by a socialist mindset that everyone should have credit. That is why the banks were making loans to millions of people on a wing and a prayer, either through government coercion like the Community Reinvestment Act or through a theory that banks must become institutions for social engineering, which is what is taught in the media, the universities, by the Democrat party etc.

6) Real reform must include reductions in taxes, reductions in government programs, streamlining the federal, state and local bureaucracies, and competing in the global market. Americans may wish that we lived in the 1950s, but we don’t. If we don’t compete globally, things are going to get worse. If Republicans can talk sense into voters they will win back the White House in 2012. That is not a huge task. Many voters took a flyer on Obama because he said he was going to make everything change. If he does not produce, they will look for alternatives.

7) Conservatives must go beyond the hype and explain how environmentalism is harming our economy. The GOP must explain that wind energy and solar power do not work, that they are intermittent energy sources that produce nothing when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining, and that we need to build nuclear reactors to power a certain and abundant energy future so that our economy can expand.

8) Republicans must get over this Big Tent philosophy. What actually has been happening over the last two elections in particular is that many Democrats have been elected running on conservative platforms (pro-business, pro-life, pro-defense, tough on crime etc.) while the bulk of the party remains way over on the left. So the Dems are using their dodge to the right only to gain power. If Democrats are now winning seats by moving into Republican territory, why should Republicans move left into Democrat territory as the Big Tent theory suggests? Why not simply keep the territory that belongs to conservatives in the first place and attract more voters to it with common sense?

9) The Big Tent theory is nonsense because the Republican party already is the moderate Big Tent party. Look at all the moderates over the last 20 years in the GOP – major figures like George HW Bush, John McCain, George W. Bush (on spending and the border), Schwarzenegger, former New York governor George Pataki, former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson, former new Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, Rudy Giuliani, senators Chuck Hagel (Nebraska), Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) former secretary of state Colin Powell, and many other senators and congresspeople. And on and on. Yet how many major Big Tent Democrats are there? Very few.

10) Therefore, Republicans must unite the base with core ideas and win the middle with those ideas. Because the middle already is voting for those ideas in conservative Democrat candidates.

11) Republicans must stop talking about “reaching out” to black, hispanic, feminist and gay voters. The GOP already does reach out with policies for economic growth, national security, law and order and school choice. But these blocs ignore conservatism, and maintain their own leftist agenda. Why should Republicans reach out to them? The GOP will never get any votes anyway. Republicans should be appealing to the majority that wishes to build a stronger economy and society for all. And if black, gay, hispanic and feminist voters see their interests in these policies, then good.

12) What exactly is it that the Big Tent philosophy is supposed to be saying to black voters? How can conservatives compete with a Democrat party that is funding unlimited handout programs; issuing easy government jobs left and right; and hiring blacks at prestigious university, entertainment, sports and media posts?

Are Republicans supposed to sign on to that? Republicans do not control the media, sports, entertainment and the universities; they are too busy building the nation. If the GOP “reaches out” to blacks, the result will be not one single extra black vote for the Republican party. This vote is locked up by the Democrats. Forever. Just walk into a black neighborhood and put up a Republican campaign sign. It will be torn down in hours. Or minutes.

13) Are Republicans supposed to support open borders in order to get the hispanic vote? McCain supported amnesty and he got virtually nothing in return. This apparently is what the Big Tent philosophy means. Are conservatives supposed to support more government handout programs for illegal aliens? Free health care? Is the GOP supposed to agree with people who do not even want English to be the official language of the United States? Are conservatives supposed to let people like Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean languish in jail while illegal aliens waltz across the border? If that is what The Big Tent means, most Republicans cannot even fathom it.

14) Are Republicans supposed to become pro-abortion to get feminist votes? Where is the big bloc of pro-lifers in the Democrat party, like the big bloc of pro-abortion figures that already exists in the Republican party? Why is the Democrat party never asked to open up its Little Tent to pro-lifers except for a few token figures at the fringes. Is the GOP supposed to become even more pro-abortion? Are conservatives supposed to say that any abortion at any time is OK, no matter the age of the girl because they want to open up the Big Tent? That approach will not get one single extra vote for the Republican party.

15) Are Republicans supposed to look the other way while homosexual males accumulate massive health-care bills from their sexual lifestyle while GOP constituents in suburban and rural America cannot afford health care? Should Christians suddenly agree that they have no moral problem with homosexuality? Should conservatives agree that homosexuality should be taught in the public schools? Is the GOP suddenly supposed to abandon its core belief about marriage? If the GOP took these pro-gay positions, it will gain the Republican party zero votes. Those votes already are taken by the Democrats who are giving total license to the gays.

16) Are Republicans supposed to sign on to more government spending, which already is gutting state and federal budgets? Are conservatives supposed to sign on to cuts in military preparedness, or soft treatment of terrorists? No, no and no.

17) Are Republicans supposed to agree to give more money to the dreadful public schools in order to attract unionized school teachers to the Big Tent? Or should the GOP support an alternative system of private, religious and charter schools in order to improve education through competition? Because the existing system is a disaster. Conservatives never will get one extra vote from the teacher unions no matter what is says or does. Those votes are locked up by the Democrats. Forget reaching out. It is a waste of time.

18) If the GOP is supposed to be a Big Tent party, how is it that the Democrat party is expanding by becoming more exclusive and shrinking its Little Tent by, in large part, refusing outreach to Christians, gun owners, business owners, fiscal conservatives, pro-life advocates, proponents of strong borders, and Main Street Americans who oppose the gay/Hollywood/illegal alien/high tax agenda? There is no outreach at all by Democrats. The Democrats are moving hard left, and taking unsuspecting voters with them. The GOP must point this out.

19) Republicans must now register more voters to counter the registration advantage for the Democrats. Most Democrats have probably ‘registered out’ by now, i.e., if they planned to vote Democrat, they already have registered. There certainly are millions more unregistered potential Republican voters in America than Democrats, primarily in the suburbs and rural areas. The party must begin pursuing them. One of the reasons Republicans lost in 2008 is because registered Republicans did not turn out. Republican voting dropped 1.3%. This must end.

20) Republicans must hammer Obama every minute of every day on bad policies that he pursues. That is how the Democrat media defamed Bush and swayed this election.

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