Be specific about what the GOP stands for. For example, make the case for tax reform: Lower income tax rates help businesses hire more workers, invest more capital and expand into new markets. More investment means more economic growth and more entrepreneurship. Most of all, it means more jobs. Every Republican in front of a microphone should make the case for tax reform.
Similarly, Republicans should talk specifics about enacting gradual structural reforms to entitlements in order to preserve benefits for the next generation. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has proposed means-testing Medicare premiums, making Medigap plans more cost-efficient, combining Medicare Part A and B to ease confusion, and asking federal employees to contribute more to their own retirement. I'd add one more: Raise the retirement age. Voters know the problem and want solutions, not name-calling.
Focus on policies that can attract more bipartisan support. House Republicans have proposed a long-term package to reduce spending and reform out-of-control entitlements. They need to enact it now to get the economy moving and unemployment back down. That's why they're focused on the debt limit – it's a proven way to get a bipartisan agreement. Obama says he's willing to engage with Congress on a long-term budget agreement. Congress should take him at his word and bring the Republican plan up for a vote, now, before interest rates start rising.
As Ryan said recently, "This is not a Republican versus Democrat thing. This is a math thing." As Republicans get ready for the next round – more sequester cuts will hit in January, and the debt limit will be reached in February – they'd be wise to keep the focus on the math. They need more than paid staff and blood relatives supporting them.
- Read Kelly Riddell: The Government Shutdown Overshadowed the Disastrous Obamacare Rollout
- Read Jamie Stiehm: How the Government Shutdown Was Like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
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