The Republican Congress has been boxed in by the incomplete victories of 2010
I Am Not a Barackader
Comments | Print friendly | Subscribe | Email Us
I haven’t written about the shutdown, but I haven’t written much about the debate around the shutdown itself.
In a way I said everything that I had to say about this back in 2010 after the midterm elections.
- Creating Jobs Through Deregulation - While Obama pushes more phony job creation programs through regulation and spending, the Republicans have to focus on creating jobs through deregulation, by getting government off the back of the small businessman and the freelancer. That means not just opposing the next wave of the Obama agenda, but also creating tangible reforms that will mean less paperwork, less fees and fewer regulations for American small businesses to worry about. If the Republican congress can push a program that will actually make a difference at the ground level, then they will have won some key allies, particularly among independent voters.
- Repeal Positively - It’s great that Boehner is talking about repealing ObamaCare, but while it’s important to do that, and jettison as much of Obama’s agenda as possible—but it is also vital not to be defined by it. For the first two years being the Party of No was a successful strategy, but a sizable amount of voters expect more than just vetoes or repeals. Being the Party of No while in the opposition was important, but being the Party of No while dominating the House is poor strategy. During the next election, it will be important for Republicans to remind the public, not just that they repealed what Obama did in his first two years, but how they followed a roadmap for restoring America.
The GOP failed to show that their victories had any tangible benefits except roadblocking some of Obama’s agenda. That’s enough for some support as a balance of power. And that’s what the GOP Congress has become. It’s why we are where we are, with both sides struggling to shift the balance of power.
The public doesn’t particularly like either side and while a lot of that is due to the media-entertainment complex doing its things, the Republicans haven’t done much about it.
Gingrich understood that you had to win through clear messaging about a positive agenda. For all his faults, there really isn’t anyone who understands that and is ready to take a leadership role doing it.
The thing to understand about Obama is that he has nothing to lose. He’s not a senator or a congressman. He doesn’t follow any laws unless he chooses to. And he can always do anything he wants by pushing it forward unless it’s wildly unpopular.
That was why he had to back off Syria. ObamaCare is unpopular. It’s not however Bomb Syria unpopular. It’s not wildly unpopular with everyone. But it could be.
The strongest messaging on ObamaCare came from the Tea Party before those midterm elections. Ted Cruz has been trying to get some of that spirit back. But it’s not enough. And while opposition from a citizen’s group is respected, opposition from an elected party whose members get paid government salaries is measured not just by what they don’t do, but what they do.
Right now everyone knows that the Republican Party is against ObamaCare. There is much less sense of what they are for. And that gap is filled by SNL routines, celebrity tweets, media rants and biased journalism. (Killing kids, oppressing the poor, hating black people, etc.) But to some extent, it’s the failure of the Republican Congress to define itself in the way that Gingrich was able to that is to blame. If you don’t define yourself, you will be defined.
Republican opposition to ObamaCare would be far more effective if the public didn’t just know what the GOP is against, but also what it’s for. And what it has accomplished.
That last element is the important one. The Republican Congress has been boxed in by the incomplete victories of 2010. Obama is not boxed in because he does what he wants. That lets him point to a list of “accomplishments” while the Republicans are dismissed as obstructionists.
Too many opportunities have been wasted. And this is another one of them.