The big question left open at the end of last night’s debate, was whether the McCain-Palin adherence to the old Ronald Reagan mantra that “government is the problem” still resonates with the American middle class. David Frum, among other smart conservatives, has argued that middle and upper middle class people, who have been the base of the GOP in our era, don’t want that old line anymore. They are used to things that work. His example, in a recent New York Times Magazine essay, was Fed-ex. You send the package. It arrives the next day. Why can’t government do that too? He believes that voters want government leaders who will make it happen.
Do people still believe Reagan? Or do they expect government to start meeting needs and delivering services? No question is more critical, as Barack Obama promises what is a quasi-socialist economy. Scott Rasmussen, happily, has current poll data that answers the question. He says that 59% of Americans still agree with Reagan, that government is the problem. If he is right, the McCain-Palin campaign knows what it has to do. Attack those big government promises. Deconstruct them. Mock them. Run regression analyses demonstrating their impossibility. Who do you trust — Reagan or Obama? How well does South Chicago work, after his ministrations? Health care = post office. Start now.