Republicans Should Focus on Fiscal Issues, Not “Liberal Bigotry”

Smart candidates will stay away from Democrats’ craziness and talk about pro-growth ideas.

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Last week I wrote about the Democrats’ panic over the looming fall elections and their strategy of demonizing Republican candidates as a way to hold on to power. In his column Friday, Charles Krauthammer talked about “liberalism under seige” and what an ugly sight that is. His evidence of liberals’ panic: the “promiscuous charges of bigotry” that the left uses against those who oppose its positions on everything from spending to immigration to the New York mosque:

It is a measure of the corruption of liberal thought and the collapse of its self-confidence that, finding itself so widely repudiated, it resorts reflexively to the cheapest race-baiting (in a colorful variety of forms). Indeed, how can one reason with a nation of pitchfork-wielding mobs brimming with "antipathy toward people who aren't like them"--blacks, Hispanics, gays and Muslims--a nation that is, as Michelle Obama once put it succinctly, "just downright mean"?

The great American mainstream is not just a bunch of angry white Southern men, as much as the Democrats would like us to believe that. There are plenty of reasonable, level-headed men and women of all stripes who are concerned about the size and scope of government these days, and want to see a change in the direction our country is taking. Republican candidates should not descend into the ugliness that Democrats will be throwing at them this fall, but should stick to a message of fiscal responsibility and long-term growth and job creation. That means not only saying “no” to some of the excesses of the Obama agenda, but proposing common-sense ideas of their own. (It’s amazing to me that that’s considered a risky thing to do these days.)

[See a slide show of 5 key issues in the 2010 elections.]

There’s still time over the August recess for Republican incumbents and candidates to read Rep. Paul Ryan’s " Roadmap for America’s Future," and every Republican who is running for office should have a few of Ryan’s fiscal proposals in his or her back pocket when talking to voters or debating opponents. [See who supports Ryan.] If Republicans can’t put forward some pro-growth, limited government proposals as an alternative to the Democrats--if their biggest selling point is that they’ll continue to promote gridlock in Washington--then those “pitchfork-wielding mobs” will really get ugly. People want to move forward and get things back on track, and they’re looking for a few ideas on how to do just that. Smart candidates will stay away from the craziness and talk about specific ideas for getting government out of the way of job creation and economic growth.