With only two weeks left 'til Election Day, Republicans won't save themselves with phony optimism - pathetic claims that, somehow, they're mounting a comeback. They need to sound a note of alarm and fill the airwaves with specifics of exactly what will happen if the Democrats triumph.
But inside-baseball talk about a Nancy Pelosi speakership won't do the job. The GOP needs to focus on the concrete ways in which a Democratic victory would threaten our safety.
Here's one possible ad: We see and hear a wiretapped conversation, with a terrorist revealing his worst plans to his associate - and, inadvertently, to government eavesdroppers, too. Then, when he's about to spill the beans on when and where the next attack is going to come, the line should go dead, with a dial tone, with a machine voice saying "This wiretap terminated in the name of privacy rights by the Democratic U.S. Congress."
The announcer can then say, "If the Democrats win, the National Security Agency will never be able to listen in as the terrorists are plotting to attack us."
Republicans are doomed unless they can get their base back. But the GOP base is the best informed group of voters in the nation, with educational levels consistently higher than their Democratic counterparts'. They follow politics closely and are the easiest voters to reach via the news media, cable TV and talk radio.
A message like this could have a snowballing effect on the Republican base. The word could percolate through the clutter, reminding voters of their true priorities.
Otherwise, we know what is going to happen. All the borderline GOP incumbents will lose, while Democrats like Sen. Bob Menendez, a scandal waiting to happen, survive.
But if the Republicans frankly address their deserting base and speak plainly of the need to hold steady in the face of the terrorist threat, the base can come back.
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