If conservatives want to succeed in taking our government back, we need to drop the popular but misguided slogan about "taking our country back."
Yes, an arrogantly incompetent president has combined with a corrupt collection of nanny-state, leftist hacks to grab (temporary) control of the Washington levers of power, but that doesn't mean that America itself has been seized or stolen. Clear-thinking conservatives can never lose sight of the fact that the nation, with its free market economy and incomparably dynamic private sector, is always bigger and better and, ultimately, more powerful than the government.
Moreover, the notion that we've lost the country itself - that America is "done," as one of my talk show colleagues recently proclaimed on air- only undermines the prospects for political success. Regaining control of Washington, D.C., after all, remains a less daunting undertaking—and a vastly more achievable goal—than "taking back" an entire nation that's somehow been lost.
And if we actually did lose America, when exactly did that happen? Even the most ardent Tea Party supporters don't really believe that the people have given up their irreducible goodness and decency; that our churches and small businesses, cops and soldiers, neighbors and families have been universally corrupted by Barack Obama and his welfare state. The current surge in Constitutionalist ideology and patriotic fervor, measured by promising polls regarding the upcoming elections, indicates that we don't need to "take our country back" because the country and its ideals never really got taken away. What happened in the election of 2008 brought purely political change, not some deeper spiritual or cultural transformation that rendered the United States unrecognizable. Obama and his minions initially assumed that their electoral victory signified precisely this sort of fundamental alteration in our national consciousness but the vigorous push-back to all aspects of their agenda, not to mention the president's plummeting poll numbers, proved to the world that they were wrong.