The next year carries a plethora of problems for the Republican Party. With uphill battles on tax reform, immigration policy, and political popularity, it might be easy for some in the GOP to see little hope on the horizon. Not only are their rivals gaining momentum lost after the 2010 midterms, the Republicans also face great internal strife between the establishment and Tea Party conservatives. How then can Lincoln’s Party repair the ruins wrought by the 2012 electoral disaster, stand for their principles, and successfully partner with Democrats to steer the nation aright? There is enormous potential within the Republican Party to solve the problems that face the United States. And 2013 will certainly present many problems for America as a whole. A delicate economic recovery, an even more delicate revenue stream, a bloated budget, and a vulnerable international posture all threaten the ability of everyday American citizens to live free and prosperous lives. Both parties recognize these dangers, but each fears giving in to the other, at the risk of losing the next election. Unfortunately, it seems as though both political parties are more afraid of losing voters than mis-managing the country. This coming year, the Republicans could choose to make decisions that improve their political standing and the state of the Union, or they could quarrel and make foolish decisions, jeopardizing not only their own political relevance, but also the well-being of the people who elected them in the first place. This article will examine some of the moves that Republicans could make to achieve the former.
1. Dump Mitch McConnell
There just might be a reason that Republicans haven’t won a majority in the Senate since 2006-the year that Mitch McConnell(R-KY) was elected to be the leader of the Senate Republicans. Senator McConnell has been a long-unwelcome face to moderates and independents, especially after saying that “the most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President” in an October interview with National Journal magazine. This comment demonstrates the sort of attitude that the Senator brings to his activities as a Republican leader. He’s a partisan. Not to say that his counterpart on the Democrats’ side, Harry Reid, isn’t, but McConnell’s approach is apparently not working. Right now, the Republicans don’t need just another old, white face at the helm of their Senate wing. They need someone new, someone fresh and vibrant, but also someone well-spoken, who can make a deal with Democrats across the aisle. Given that most super-PACs are GOP/conservative-leaning, Senate Republicans don’t need a good fundraiser. They just need a good leader.
2. Flaunt Marco Rubio and Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Since the Republicans don’t have the White House, the only way to get their message onto a national stage is through members of Congress. And who better than Marco Rubio, freshman GOP Senator from Florida, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest ranking Republican woman and congresswoman from Washington? Both represent what the Republican Party can be, in terms of ethnic, geographic, and gender diversity. Marco Rubio isn’t on the media circuit much; but, when he is, he’s dynamite. And no one outside the Beltway has even heard of Rep. Rodgers. Let me introduce her to you. Chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, Rodgers is a rare breed of Republican, given that not many GOP congress members hail from the Pacific Northwest. This will be her fifth term as a member of Congress. And in an era in which some Democrats warn of a Republican “war on women”, the GOP needs her to refute those charges. Overall, Rubio and Rodgers may not necessarily bring substantial policy changes to the table, but they can help their party where help is needed most: image.
3. Do the Work
As I write this, the United States is moving towards the “fiscal cliff”, and it seems as though no plan will hold us back from the edge. Yet, most member of Congress are just now getting back from their Christmas vacations. After a year of mis-management and monetary brinksmanship, no member of Congress deserves any vacation time. Next year, Republicans need to never stop working to ensure that the wheels of government keep turning. They must be vigorous, holding town hall meetings, inviting Democrats to lunch, calling on the President at the White House, running up huge phone bills. American voters must never get the impression that Republicans are leaving crucial work undone, or that they aren’t striving to reach deals with the Democrats. They have to talk to the people, and not the press. Failure to do so, in a year like 2013, may have extended consequences for not only the Republicans, but also for the people of the United States.
Will these ideas improve the standing of the GOP? Or are they just shallow PR stunts? What do you think? Comments are appreciated!
Next week, I will be publishing an article about what the Democratic Party can do to improve bipartisan relations in Washington.