Jonah Goldberg

Perhaps voters don't remember the Bush years as a time of "market fundamentalism" so much as a time when "big government" conservatism in the White House and cronyism in Congress set the kindling for the bonfire ignited by Obama.

However much blame they deserve for the economic crisis, Obama and congressional Democrats deserve the political crisis they've created for themselves. And the GOP should exploit it.

For a year or so, Republicans have been the so-called party of no. Contrary to the expectations of its critics, that tactic has been good for the GOP. It seems that the "tea parties," America's natural antibodies to Obamaism, have provided some vital stem cell therapy, helping to regrow the Republican spine.

But that spine is only valuable if you use it for something. Much of the GOP leadership has been content saying "no" for two reasons -- one good, one bad. When Obama was tall in the saddle and determined to exploit the economic crisis on his terms, there was no point in offering real alternatives. And it's just a lot easier to criticize than it is to lead.

Now is the time for the GOP to call Obama's bluff and offer a real choice. My personal preference would be for the leadership to embrace Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's "road map," a sweeping, bold and humane assault on the welfare state and our debt crisis. Doing so might come at the cost of trimming the GOP's victory margins in November, but it would provide Republicans with a real mandate to be something more than "not-Obama."

Don't let Obama's crisis go to waste.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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