The second half of this article, “5 Things the GOP Needs to Keep Doing,” will be featured exclusively in the next edition of Pocket Full of Liberty’s newsletter. So sign up in order to read it!
1. They need to stop defending big business and big unresponsive government and defend the little guy.
- The GOP needs to fight against the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, not the medical device tax. Yes, I know the medical device tax hurts companies and, thus, people. We get it. Basic economics. But it doesn’t matter. We are already the party who is known to defend corporations from taxes – and we need to be the party that defends people. If you still disagree, tell me how deferring the medical device tax helps this lady? Further, if we make the mistake of accepting what is a Washington “business as usual” solution, we’re not teaching these politicians a thing about where we want them to go. Pleasing K Street and the former staffers who work there isn’t fighting for the average American. We need to get out of the business of picking winners and losers. That may mean letting things stand till we can ratchet back to this and so be it. If you want a government that ignores the individual and only listens to businesses with enough power to get a seat, well, you can keep the one we have today with Barack Obama — because that’s who he really is. Further fighting the Medical Device tax hands Obama his post-shutdown talking points: “the GOP shut down the government to get tax breaks for big business” and our brand will remain the same losing one it’s been for some time. It’s a trap.
- John Stewart made the case better than any House GOPer so far. If you can’t buy something from a site that isn’t working that is going to cost you more than you can afford, the government should not penalize you. It’s the most basic request the GOP should be asking from the Democrats in order to fund Obamacare. Frankly, even if we get little to nothing out of the shutdown, we’ve already gotten a win – granted its small, but its there for you optimists. Further, the GOP has every right to demand a negotiation. There is a separation of powers for good reasons and “it’s the law” is a ridiculous stance. Every failure Obamacare racks up, we can say “we told you so and we tried to stop it. We didn’t do it for partisan reasons. ” Heck, it would have been easier to just let Obamacare fail on its own and not watch party poll numbers drop, but good people defend other Americans when they are about to get run over by a train wreck. You can mock it, but the GOP showed heart and compassion. It’s novel, sure, but it’s the right direction. We need to stand firm with what little power we have and defend folks from this beast’s most egregious penalties until we can replace it.
- Remember that polls for state-wide or district races aren’t the same as national polls. If you were interested in, say, winning a Senate seat in Arkansas – look at the polling there on the shutdown before you panic. Polling changes quite a bit when there’s a choice between two actual people. It’s unlikely that there will be a large shutdown backlash in the 2014 election cycle, even according to Nate Silver. I suggest everyone could benefit from some sage advice Rick Wilson offered on Twitter. Further red state analysis from Sean Trende here:
“The politics of a shutdown in these states are very different than in the nation as a whole. We can try to estimate the popularity of a shutdown by taking as a national baseline CNN’s recent finding that 46 percent of voters would blame Republicans for a shutdown vs. the 36 percent that would blame Obama. If we adjust these numbers according to the results of the presidential election in 2012, we would estimate that the president would shoulder the blame for a shutdown in each of those states save for North Carolina, and that outright majorities would blame the president in West Virginia, Arkansas and Kentucky.”
2. The GOP needs to stop volunteering as the cleanup crew for the Democrats’ welfare state.
- Highlight it but stop offering plans — they made this mess, so what’s their plan to fix it? Ask them daily. When President Obama wants a debt ceiling increase, ask him how much and when he plans to stop asking for them. What’s his plan to stop requiring debt ceiling increases? “We’ll gladly give you 6 weeks sir, but tell us what your strategy is?”
- Americans broadly poll in support of reining in our debt and opposing a clean debt limit increase. Granted, they also seem to not understand what it is. Given that, it’s clear they want a plan to make these requests stop. Americans don’t want a default crisis, but they endemically recognize we’re in one already and want the increases to end. The crisis isn’t that the GOP and Democrats make a deal — it’s that Democrats refuse to stop spending money. Make them accountable for it and define when they plan to stop. They’re the majority party, but we keep being stupid enough to offer plans that allow them to turn around and say will kill children and cause cannibalism. “So, fine, you hate our plan. What’s your plan to make this the last debt ceiling increase, Mr. President? We’ll increase it when you let us know and this is the last time.” “How are we going to estimate how much will be spent in ACA subsidies so we can account for them in the new increase total?” Make these jokers answer for their spending spree and get them on record. They built this mess. They can clean it up. Medicare was their genius idea. How do they plan to stop it from going bankrupt and eclipsing our entire government? No one knows the Democrats’ plan, but the media sure does “know” ours and, of course, it literally kills old people.
3. They need to stop pretending Medicare is not hurting our healthcare system and creating poor health care choices for seniors.
- We can’t win this one with numbers — we win it with hearts. The only way to change Medicare is to create demand for an alternative that’s based on desire and not depressing numerical projections. Granted this conflicts with #2, but instead of offering plans, you must destroy Medicare’s brand first. Tell horror stories, highlight fraud, and spend time creating demand for a change. Medicare’s fee-for-service model incentivizes doctors, hospitals, and other health care administrators to provide services you don’t need. Often new medicines that have less burdensome administration are not offered, because they won’t get reimbursed as much for a single shot drug versus one that take hours to deliver & numerous staff to monitor. This hurts seniors directly because novel medications are not offered. Many of these medications are not only more convenient, but (often since they are new to market) are more safe and effective. Further, Medicare is the reason our healthcare costs have gotten so distorted. The massive subsidy provided with no rational sense check on spending — mixed with low reimbursement — pushed the cost burden down to the private market that already bears the cost for under-reimbursement in Medicare and Medicaid. Further, Medicare incentivizies the model of fee-for-service, which has no relation to patients’ health outcomes. More on that here. The point is, you can’t replace Medicare until you destroy the myth. That’s the battle.
4. Stop offering heartless numbers and using phrases nobody understands.
- The budget wonks need to stay in the background. They need to talk to constituents like regular people. Nobody cares about the difference between appropriations and a budget, “regular order,” “ending cloture,” or whatever other nonsensical procedures the government invented to mask talking about core issues. You won’t win hearts and minds in a shutdown by shifting the battle to tweaking entitlements when you went into it fighting the harm of Obamacare. Remember the 2012 exit polls where Obama polled lower on nearly every issue except for “who cares about me?” That’s a huge gap in the brand.
5. Stop treating base voters as if they are the enemy.
- They are still basically into you, but are just mad we aren’t winning. The talented politician finds a way to appeal to both the grassroots and the establishment. So you establishment cheerleaders, you know who you are, who love to obsess about inconsistencies in grassroots favorites — frankly, you are missing the point and are underestimating their intelligence. They will love an establishment-friendly candidate who proves to take them seriously too. Ted Cruz is great, but Rand Paul is proving to be more savvy in bridging this gap.
- I agree with TP Carney here. It’s not a platform to simply run against the establishment, and there in lies some of the mistakes of the new guard.
That’s my two cents. We’d be happy to hear yours in the comments.