This does not mean that left-wing Americans are un-American or unpatriotic — or that they do not love their country. The conflict between Americanism and leftism is between ideas, not between decent and indecent people. But it is an unfortunate fact of life that decent people can believe in bad ideas. If this were not so, few of the greatest evils would ever have occurred.
If this election is indeed a plebiscite on America, Mitt Romney cannot campaign solely, or even primarily, on the state of the economy. First, what if the economy even slightly improves? What happens then to Governor Romney’s appeal? Moreover, relying for one’s success on the suffering of one’s fellow Americans is morally as well as politically perilous. Second, Americans want to vote for more than an economic Mr. Fix-It, as desirable as such a person is.
So, too, Mr. Romney should not overly personalize his campaign. He is running against Mr. Obama, but Barack Obama is not the biggest issue. The Left’s desire to transform America is the biggest issue. Barack Obama is to be opposed because he is a man of the Left.
Mitt Romney and the entire Republican party need to describe this election as the plebiscite on America that it is. The most urgent task in American life is to make clear, and then repeat as often as possible, that leftist values and American values are in conflict.
Instead of asking, “Are you better off than you were three years ago?” every Republican needs to ask, every day, “Do you want to fundamentally transform America?” If they do, Barack Obama is their man. If they don’t, Mitt Romney is.
— Dennis Prager’s book Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph was published by HarperCollins on April 24.