When it comes to winning national offices and having an associated positive political image, it would seem that, notwithstanding questions of ideology, the Republican Party has three major challenges: its competitive disadvantage among women voters, its struggle to craft a message of conservatism that resonates with young people and young families, and the unpopularity of the congressional wing of the party. Arguably, these factors prevented the GOP and its nominee, Mitt Romney, from winning the White House in 2012, and they threaten the Republicans’ chances of taking back the presidency in 2016. However, these troubles are not primarily ideological in nature; they are issues of messaging, presentation, and image. The question facing the Republican Party is not “is conservatism relevant to the modern political era?” Rather, the question that the GOP should be asking, from a purely pragmatic standpoint, is: “How can Republicans articulate a compelling case for conservatism in order to survive as a national party?” Now, there may be some who would take issue with this question; if Republicans are poised to expand their majority in the U.S. House and possibly win a majority in the U.S. Senate, then how can its legitimacy or relevance as a national party even be called into question? The answer to this charge is relatively simple: the Republican Party could control both chambers of Congress, but without the law-signing authority of the presidency, its ability to enact conservative policy is still limited. Therefore, we return to the challenges obstructing the GOP’s presidential prospects: disadvantages among women and young voters, and the unpopularity of the congressional wing, especially the House Republican caucus. How can the party begin to overcome these challenges? This article will suggest that what the GOP may need is a prominent, young, female conservative, who can articulate the party’s message in a way that resonates with voters who are disillusioned with Republicans. And strangely enough, that woman can be found leading a very unpopular group: the House Republican caucus. She’s the chair of the House Republican Conference, and her name is Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
What happens to vice presidential candidates on losing tickets? There are several models for VP nominees who fail to win election. From 2008, there’s the Palin model: avoid elected office, build enormous grassroots influence. From 2004, there’s the Edwards model: remain in office as a senator, build credibility for the top spot next time around. From 2000, the Lieberman model: expand influence in a national legislative body. So which of these does 2012’s failed vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan follow? The nomination of the representative from Wisconsin was an attempt by the Romney campaign to please the more conservative wing of the GOP; at the same time, Ryan also enjoys support from the party’s moderate establishment. Ever since President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden won re-election, Rep. Ryan has not been too visible on the national stage. Other potential GOP candidates, like Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, have been visible. So what has Paul Ryan been doing?
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.
No matter who says what on Fox News or MSNBC, the fiscal cliff is a bi-partisan problem, created by two parties that have been unwilling to adopt moderate policies. The Republicans under President Bush cut taxes by far too much, creating a revenue gap. The Democrats under President Obama have spent large amounts of money to get comparatively small economic results, creating a spending gap. Both, when used well, can be of great assistance to the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, the Bush tax cuts and the Obama spending record have been examples of how un-moderate policies can steer the country far off course. And now, Republicans and Democrats are approaching this issue as if they have months to figure things out. The truth is, they don’t. Continue reading Why Congress Gets a Lump of Coal This Christmas