President Obama took a "shellacking" because Democrats didn't have a coherent message for America. But, argues Frank Rich in the New York Times, the Republicans don't, either. To regain some ground, Obama must call the right's bluff, and force the GOP to get specific. The Republicans keep talking about repealing health reform—let's ask how, Rich says. Given the president's veto and some popular provisions, the task may prove rather "quixotic."
Same goes for spending. The right says they want to have an "adult conversation" on the matter. "Were they to listen to Americans," Rich writes, "they’d learn that they favor budget cuts mainly in theory, not in fact." The Tea Party may be screaming for spending cuts, but polls show most Americans are nervous about actually axing things like education. So force them to get specific, "to stand before a big Glenn Beck-style chalkboard, and list, with dollar amounts, exactly which budget cuts would pay for extending the Bush tax cuts. Then let the adult conversation begin.