I see on Drudge a headline that says “Time Mag: Yes, America in Decline . . .” I have an idea for the 2012 campaign. The Republican should frame it this way: “President Obama and the Democrats want to manage American decline. We want to stop it and reverse it.”
And I remind you of what George Bush (41) said, in that boffo (really) 1988 convention speech:
“My opponent’s view of the world sees a long, slow decline for our country, an inevitable fall mandated by impersonal historical forces. But America is not in decline. America is a rising nation.”
And on those last two words, Bush made a rising motion with his hand. He continued,
“He [Dukakis] sees America as another pleasant country on the U.N. roll call, somewhere between Albania and Zimbabwe. And I see America as the leader — a unique nation with a special role in the world.”
A lot has happened since 1988, I realize. But I echo the words of John O’Sullivan and others: Decline is a choice. We decline if we so choose (through our electoral and other decisions). And that is essentially what Mark Helprin said yesterday in his Wall Street Journal piece, on our diminishing — our declining — Navy.