What the Hell Do We Do Now?


On Monday morning, October 27 The Wall Street Journal had a headline story, “GOP Targets More House Seats.” Judging from the money moving around it has become apparent the GOP is investing in democratically held seats. Democrats are pulling out of challenger races and using their resources to protect vulnerable incumbents.

At this time of year, if you really want to know what the polls are saying, follow the money. The only question that remains is whether the much ballyhooed advance in the GOP ground operation will match the better ground operation Democrats had in 2012. (“Republicans, outflanked by a superior Democratic turnout operation in the past two presidential elections, have been spending tens of millions of dollars to improve data collection to achieve a rough parity.” NYT 10-26-14.)

What the GOP does with its expected majority in the House and Senate will determine who is elected President in 2016.

The GOP, having concentrated its efforts the last six years on blocking the Obama agenda, needs to prove it can be a governing party. It will need to put a few of its own ideas on the table, and be prepared to defend its policy initiatives. What’s the alternative? Remain little more than an obstructionist Congress–which will become the rallying cry of whoever the Democrats nominate in 2016.

Everybody knows the immigration system is broken. A GOP immigration bill needs to be more than building a fence at the border.

The tax code is an embarrassment to the Republic. Companies are moving overseas, and sitting on trillions in overseas banks accounts that are not being invested in the U.S. because of a punitive tax code. The Tax Code is seven times longer than the Bible and harder to understand than the Old Testament.

Health care reform needs to be more than repealing Obamacare. Certain provisions of it are very popular. The GOP can and should pass a bill that has the reforms their candidates have promised: Giving patients the options to buy health insurance policies they actually like; Giving patients more say in their choices of doctors and hospitals; Allowing consumers to buy policies from other states; Expanding tax protected health savings accounts; Tort reform.

Practically every GOP candidate this year talked about the regulatory nightmare of the Obama years. Devise something that makes sense of the regulatory climate in Washington — a simpler, more transparent process that small business owners can understand and live with.

And if the GOP really wants to be ambitious, it can tackle entitlements and the trillions in deficits that have been tossed onto the backs of young Americans. It isn’t that hard: Index the retirement age to the increase in longevity; Encourage older Americans, many who will remain healthy into their 80’s, to remain in the workforce.

And get real about Medicare. The boomers are retiring at the rate of 10,000 a day. Many will run out of money before they run out of life. Unless the nation provides greater incentives for boomers to help pay for the health care they will need as they approach their final years, the Medicare system as it is currently financed will go belly up.

And Obama? Let him veto every bill sent him by the Congress. Worry not about Democrats that vote against it. Most will. What matters is that the GOP will be the party trying to solve a few problems – and acting like a party that can govern.

Disagree? Weigh in. Think there are other things the GOP should do? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section.

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

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