GOP Is Working Through Its 'Off Season'

The Republican Party must strategically chart its course over the next few years if it hopes to win in coming elections.

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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio addresses the Republican National Convention in August in Tampa, Fla.

It has now been almost a month since the election that gave President Obama a second term and caused significant consternation and soul searching among the GOP. A lot is being made about these internal machinations of the GOP, while in reality it is a natural process.

The key question asked across the air waves and written pages has been whether the Republican Party will take the lemons of the loss and make lemonade by setting itself up for future victories.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

These discussions sound a lot like what a sports franchise goes through during an off season if it suffers an unexpected loss in the playoffs. Sports teams look for free agents and coaches to propel them to the next level and the GOP is looking for leaders and voters to do the same. The lineup of leaders for the GOP mixes current ones who are effective, such as Speaker John Boehner in the House, with fresh faces offering a lot of promise—Sen.-elect Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio, former Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Chris Christie.

Sports teams draw up multi-year plans to capture the championship, and the Republican Party is already planning a path to victory both in the 2014 midterm and 2016 presidential elections. Unquestionably, this is going to be a multi-step process, but it is a very doable one, especially considering that conservative ideals at their most basic—small government, low taxes, and national security have—wide appeal among most voting blocks.

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Should There Be a Minimum Tax for the Wealthy?]

One initial goal during this "off season" is to shed the obstructionist mantra pegged to Republicans, and as of this week, that is being achieved by Speaker Boehner.

In putting forward a counter-offer to the president's proposal on avoiding the fiscal cliff, Republicans have put on the table both tax revenue increases as well as spending cuts. The counter-offer is partially based on the proposal made by Democrat Erskine Bowles.  Speaker Boehner is showing the ability to negotiate and, vitally, do so with the full backing of the House GOP, something he did not have in 2011, when he floated a similar suggestion but was essentially dealing on his own behalf.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the fiscal cliff.]

The White House rejected the counter-offer right away, with their main reason being that it does not achieve what seems to be a Democratic obsession—raising taxes on the top 2 percent.

Nevertheless, it is now up to the president to make the next move, and he can no longer say that Republicans in the House are refusing to negotiate.

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