Republicans used to own the War on Crime. The public's fear of crime and desire for a crackdown contributed to victories for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George HW Bush. But then Bill Clinton adopted stricter policies, and President Obama has done basically nothing to change them—meaning the Republican Party has become "a victim of safer streets," writes Charles Lane in the Washington Post. Polls show Americans are quite content with national crime policies, as well they should be, considering how much less likely we are to experience violent crime these days.
"We are approaching the low murder rates of the 1950s," Lane writes. "For the Republican Party, this is a triumph—and a disaster, as the 2012 election results proved." Now that concern about crime is on the backburner, Americans may be freer to look at social issues—and right now, they seem to favor liberal positions on those. Clint Eastwood may have made an appearance at the GOP convention, but if he were speaking as Dirty Harry he should have said, "We need a new issue." Click for the full column.