In the midst of the presidential contest in his home state, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., offers some thoughts to National Review Online.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Is pending “economic collapse” the message a Republican candidate has to convey this year? How can he do it without sounding alarmist? Can it even plausibly be heard above the Obama campaign’s message that Republicans are the problem in Washington?

SEN. JIM DEMINT: Our candidates must be able to speak the truth to Americans. And the truth is, we are in trouble. That doesn’t mean we’re doomed; it means we must act now to save our country. I can’t think of a more inspiring cause. While the $15 trillion debt is not a happy topic, it’s an unavoidable one. Ignoring our debt and deficits only makes them more dangerous.

As Ronald Reagan once said, we should not raise a banner of pale pastels, “but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people.” I want a Republican party full of happy warriors with bold battle plans. We can turn the tide, but we must have the courage to do so. If we become too scared to confront the chief problems of our time, there is no hope of ever solving them.

As for Obama, I believe his deeply divisive and negative campaign will backfire. America has always prided itself on being a classless society, and the kind of class warfare he is engaging in to secure his far-left base is not appealing to most Americans. He is no longer the candidate of “hope” and “change.” He is a president who has wasted $4 trillion, lost our nation’s cherished AAA rating, blatantly ignored the Constitution on a whole range of issues, and lost all credibility when it comes to job creation, cutting spending, and the economy.

You might recall DeMint’s comments praising Tea Party activists during a February 2011 speech at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, as captured by