During the last week, President Obama doubled down on a losing political bet, further cementing the Democratic Party's reputation as the champion of bigger deficits, higher spending and more government. He did so just as the public is crying out for lower deficits, less spending and less government.
In his Saturday radio address, Mr. Obama attacked Republican opposition to additional stimulus spending, saying they "just don't get it." Maybe they do get it. The first, $862 billion stimulus bill of 17 months ago has after all failed to work the president's promised magic.
Last Thursday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the president in his bad bet by offering up the economic gem that extension of unemployment benefits "creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name." Really? Faster than, say, cutting personal income tax cuts or slashing the corporate tax rate?
Rank-and-file congressional Democrats do not seem eager to follow Mr. Obama and Mrs. Pelosi down this road. For example, the House barely passed its $127 billion "Stimulus II" spending bill in late May by a vote of 215 to 204, with 34 Democrats joining all but one Republican in voting no. At least 20 of those Democrats come from districts at risk this fall.
Democrats who represent swing districts are increasingly wary of supporting higher spending, taxes and deficits, or ceding greater power to the federal government. These issues are driving independents and other swing voters into the GOP column.
To maximize their gains, Republicans must go beyond promising to slash Democratic spending and reverse the Obama agenda (as important as these are). They also need to offer a competing agenda for increasing jobs and prosperity, and outline the concrete steps they will take to get back on the track for economic growth.
Republicans have a receptive audience: Americans overwhelmingly believe prosperity comes from entrepreneurs and free enterprise, not government. Republicans must emphasize that they stand for small and medium-size business—and stand foursquare against crony capitalists who seek advantage by partnering with big government.
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Karl Rove joined Fox News Channel as a political contributor in February 2008. He also currently serves as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Rove helped organize the political-action committee American Crossroads. His latest book is "The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters" (Simon & Schuster, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @KarlRove.