Watching Congressional Republicans participate in “fiscal cliff” negotiations resembles 10-year old boys playing a pick-up, tackle football game where the quarterback says “everyone go out.” However, this is an unfair comparison in some ways – the kids in the park seem to have a more coherent strategy.
Congressional Republicans are getting their hat handed to them. Not only are they flailing away in pushing forward a concise, strong, common-sense message, but they are also countering Obama’s tax increase plan with the timidity of a beaten man. It’s embarrassing and bad for working men and women.
We keep hearing that Republicans are a minority party, but that designation overlooks a salient fact: Republicans control the U.S. House, Republicans have 45 U.S. Senators and Republicans have a majority of governorships. We have numbers, we have resources, we have a platform and we simply aren’t using the tools effectively.
For us to effectively win these negotiations, we need to face some facts: President Obama and his crew are hell bent on raising taxes on those who make $250,000 or more a year. He campaigned on it. He was re-elected. It is his only real proposal and a majority of Americans support raising taxes on top earners. We have currently lost this policy battle.
That being said, polling also consistently shows that a majority of Americans see spending cuts as necessary to trim our budget deficits and debt.
So Congressional Republicans need to counter with a clear proposal that accepts reality, but puts President Obama and his tax-and-spend minions on the defensive. It’s time to tell them “put up or shut up.”
For example, Speaker Boehner and Sen. McConnell should make a proposal where they accept tax increases on the wealthy to Clinton era levels only if in return Obama approves the following: 1) extend Bush tax cuts for everyone else, 2) approve the Keystone Pipeline (energy independence and job creation), 3) provide $3 in real spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases and 4) stipulate that the revenue generated by upper income tax increases go towards nationwide infrastructure improvement (roads, bridges, airports). The latter creates jobs and gives upper income wage earners some comfort that their hard-earned dollars are not going down an Obama/Reid/Pelosi money pit.
Now we have a plan (it’s just an example), but how do we present it to the public? We go to their local and state media markets.
On a daily basis, an average of 3.5+ million people watch cable prime time news, but 68 million people watch their local morning, early evening and late night news. Where are the numbers? It sure isn’t on CNN or MSNBC.
Republican Congressional leadership needs to send every member back to their home state and congressional districts and have them do radio interviews, blog interviews, interviews with daily and weekly newspaper editorial boards and hold a press conference – all on the same day. It’s called coordination. Take the message to America without the filter of the liberal media establishment. Then they all need to do a series of town hall meetings about their plan and explain how Obama’s plan is a charade with tax increases that will only fund the government for a week.
Republicans are not some eccentric, hyper-minority party. For crying out loud, we are not the Green Party or The Justice Party. We control a majority in the House, a majority in the states and 45 members in the U.S. Senate. These are not insignificant numbers. Republicans need to take their message to the people and put Mr. Obama on the defensive because his fairy tale plan to reign in our country’s credit card spending is pure rhetoric and propaganda – it isn’t a real solution.