Not just the budget deficit, but that other one: the attention deficit.
Now's when I'm really missing Fred Thompson as a candidate:
[T]his is . . . about more than winning the elections next year. We must win the argument upon which the necessity for spending reductions is based. . . . Economic numbers fluctuate. The principles on which our economic salvation rests do not.
Suppose Republicans win next year because we are “not the other guys.” Then what? Winning is necessary but not sufficient to save our country from fiscal disaster. Two years later the Democrats will still be offering free stuff and the postponement of pain. We can’t win the several subsequent elections that will be necessary to put us on the right path unless we win the war of ideas and develop the ability to explain why restraint and reform are necessary and that fostering a nation of free people, free markets, and the rule of law is not only morally just and right but is the only way to sustainable growth and prosperity.
It's the same problem I posed in the context of wars that require a purpose of more than two years' duration. The people have to have the purpose. We can't count on shifting elected leaders to embody it by themselves.