The Great Communicator, the nation’s last true conservative president, Ronaldus Magnus, Ronald Wilson Reagan, won the election of 1980 against Jimmy Carter in large part because he asked the nation a probing question in their last televised debate.

Reagan posed the question that cut to the essence of what Carter thought was the electorate’s malaise:   ”Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

As Kyle-Anne Shiver recounts, ”That simple Reagan question reached right into my heart of hearts and transformed me from a poppycock-believing, hippie liberal to patriotic conservative in one fell swoop.”

Indeed, it was one helluva question, one which Shiver suggests should be asked over and over by Republican House and Senate candidates during these last few weeks before Election Day. 

As Shiver wrote on, ”I would start putting that same slogan on every billboard and on every post in every town square in America. I would print millions of those ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago?’ posters for folks to put in their front yards. I would make a gazillion bumper stickers and T-shirts and coffee mugs and I would open every single speech on the campaign trail with that question: ”

It was a question that energized the Reagan faithful, the Reagan Democrats, and the electorate as a whole to cast their votes for a former actor and governor, the nouveau  leader of the conservative movement since most people didn’t feel they were better off. 

That momentous election led to a landslide four years later, to eight years of almost unprecedented economic growth, a rebuilding of our national defense forces, and of regaining our position in the world.   Most importantly it led to a much-needed revival of American pride and spirit when we could once again envision our destiny as that shining city on the hill, that beacon of hope for all the world to see and emulate.

To paraphrase the old Virginia Slims commercial, “We’ve come a long way, Baby” in the 21 years since Reagan left office but not along the right way.

As hard as it is to believe, less than two years have elapsed since the Great Changer, the Anointed One, Barackus Minimus, Barack Hussein Obama, seized the presidency by virtue of deception, by offering false hopes to a gullible public, by cashing in on white guilt, and by running as the anti-Bush.

Are we better off now than we were two years ago when Obama took office, or four years ago when Nancy Pelosi first sat in the Speaker’s chair and Harry Reid took control of the United Sates Senate?  And where will we be as a nation two years hence when, hopefully, Barack Obama packs his bags and leaves the White House? 

Will we still be mired in a recession that we’re told ended over a year ago but try telling that to the 9.6% of the workforce that is unemployed, the 18% underemployed, the untold millions who have just given up?

Will we still be saddled with a national debt which now stands at $13.5 trillion and counting, a number which just 2 years ago would have been considered incomprehensible?

Will we still  be witnessing our status in the world–economically, politically, militarily–deteriorating and, worse, welcoming that deterioration since our president takes exception to the idea of America’s exceptionalism? 

Will we be worse off in 2012 than we are in 2010?

Given Obama’s mindset, the answer is a probable, Yes.  Will that answer change in November should Republicans regain the House and Senate?  Chances are the answer is still a qualified yes.  Should Democrats lose and stage an end run around the will of the people via a post-election lame duck session and, in a state of pique, push through tax, cap and trsde, card check, immigration, and other legislation near and dear to their hearts, there will be no qualification of that yes.

Nevertheless, Republicans should soldier on in order to win on November 2nd to put a 2 year brake on any new Obamian initiatives.  The alternatives are unacceptable. 

Conditions in America are similar, though worse than they were in 1980.  It’s time to ask people, “Are you better off today?”  Hey, it worked for Reagan!