As the GOP primary officially kicks off tonight, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus offers a timely remember that this process isn't just a grand, media-friendly performance. Ultimately, there's a hugely important task at hand -- defeating President Obama and repudiating his failed agenda. From this morning's Des Moines Register:
It was exactly four years ago, on a cold Iowa night, that Barack Obama boldly promised, “Years from now, when we’ve made the changes we believe in … you’ll be able to look back with pride and say that this was the moment when it all began.” Today, the president has made the changes he believes in, yet we look back not with pride, but with painful regret.
...America is adrift in a sea of economic uncertainty, no solid ground in sight. And as we sink beneath the waves of unemployment and debt, our president offers nothing but rudderless leadership. For three years, we’ve waited. We’ve waited for President Obama to deliver on the promises of his 2008 campaign. And now in 2012, those promises of recovery undeniably broken, our only solution is a new president. Our only hope is a dramatic change.
Over the last years, as our economy flat-lined, suffocated by Washington’s heavy hand, Americans turned to the president for the solutions he vowed to create. But he only made things worse. As our debt became unsustainable, its growth accelerated by Democrats’ insatiable spending appetite, Americans turned to the president who had promised he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. But he ordered “Spend more!” instead. As our politics grew more toxic, poisoned by the rhetoric of a campaigner-in-chief, Americans looked to the White House for the hope and change that was to be the antidote to political acrimony. But it was nowhere to be found.
The president promised better health care; it’s more expensive. He promised low unemployment; it’s higher. He promised ethical government; yet he’s beholden to special interests. He promised optimism, order, and unity; he divided us. Voters judge an incumbent president on one criterion: his record. A president is elected because of what he promises the country; he’s re-elected if he fulfills those promises. And today, even President Obama’s own team knows that he does not meet this most basic condition for re-election.
Of course, they don’t say it explicitly. But the admission is there, tucked between the lines of phrases like, “It could’ve been worse.” The tacit admission of failure is there, too, every time they attempt to make the 2012 election about someone other than Obama. There’s a simple question he cannot answer: “If your first term was so great that you deserve a second, why not run on your record?” It’s because his record is one of nothing more than discarded promises and misguided policies.
...The president famously stated in early 2009 when asked about the economy, “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.” That’s one promise the president can still keep. In 10 months, Americans must hold him to that, and, to paraphrase the president, tonight is the moment that it all begins.
Eyes on the prize, folks. Read the whole thing.