The GOP's Summer Opportunities

A flurry of activity in D.C. sets the stage for the GOP to play its cards right.

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Oppressive heat and high humidity settle in over the Washington skyline as record-breaking temperatures and ozone-laden haze prompt air-quality alerts for the coming days in the nation's capital, Friday, July 23, 2010. Viewed from an overlook in Virginia above the Potomac River are, from left to right, the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Capitol, the Smithsonian Castle and the Library of Congress.

So much for summer doldrums. This last week has seen a level of activity from our federal government that usually takes at least a few months.

From the Supreme Court decisions on the Voting Rights Act and Defense of Marriage Act to the Senate passing a massive immigration overhaul bill with bipartisan support, there has been a tornado of news out of Washington D.C. since Monday. And each of the major developments of the week gives the GOP an opportunity to position itself strongly for the 2014 midterms and beyond.

On the Voting Rights Act, it is important for Republicans to be viewed as the party championing states' rights and not, as Democrats try to paint us, voter suppression. To that end, Republicans, both at state and federal levels, have to tread carefully when proposing or supporting voting legislation.

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

On the DOMA decision, and gay marriage in general, the GOP should work not to be tagged as the anti-gay party. This will allow all those who support the conservative agenda, irrespective of their sexual orientation, to join the ranks of the GOP. That is the very definition of "big tent party" championed by Ronald Reagan.

Finally, and vitally, on immigration, now that the bill passed with significant GOP support and sponsorshipin the Senate, it is up to the GOP-controlled House to take up debate. That debate has to be civil, constructive and not obstructionist in nature. On specific issues, such as path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, the Republicans in the House need not be afraid to walk back the Senate's proposals and limit that provision to a path to permanent residency.

However, overall, it is in the best interest of both the country and the GOP for a negotiated version of the immigration bill to land on the president's desk.

  • Read Ron Bonjean: Slim Chance of House Republicans Passing Senate's Immigration Reform Bill
  • Read Brad Bannon: Immigration Reform Passes Senate, Now in Boehner's Hands
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