William McGurn: Reagan Was A Sure Loser Too
William McGurn is a columnist for the WSJ and a former speechwriter for George W. Bush.
Not since Herbert Hoover has a party out of power had such an opportunity to run against everything that troubles the American family—prices, interest rates, unemployment, taxes, or the fear for the future of their old age or the future of their children—than is now presented to the Republican Party.
The Republicans, however, haven't figured this out. This is their basic problem. They have no strategy for defeating an Obama administration that is highly vulnerable on both domestic and foreign policy.
That's the conventional wisdom in a nutshell, isn't it?
It will come as no surprise that these words appeared in a Feb. 29 column in the New York Times. They are reproduced here exactly as written, save for one small adjustment.
The president whose failings they describe is Jimmy Carter, not Barack Obama. The lines were written in 1980, not 2012. The author was the then-dean of conventional wisdom, James "Scotty" Reston. The headline was "Jimmy Carter's Luck," a reference to Reagan's victory in the New Hampshire primary three days earlier.
It appears the conventional wisdom hasn't changed much. Today's narrative holds that however weak President Obama's hand, Republicans find themselves in no position to capitalize on it. A glance back to where we were at this exact point in the 1980 primaries suggests otherwise....
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