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Posted by on Sep 1, 2011 in Politics | 28 comments

Quote of the Day: “Memo to GOP: Don’t Run on What Voters Don’t Want”

Our political Quote of the Day comes in the form of a probably fruitless plea in the form of a memo from the must-read Frum Forum’s Fred Bauer telling Republicans they need to focus on jobs and the economy and not think that running on entitlement reform is a wise idea. Here’s the beginning:

With the national debt skyrocketing, a faction on the right is hoping to turn the 2012 election into a debate on entitlement reform. No doubt, many Democrats are hoping the very same thing.

Democrats would view that development as a chance to gain politically, while some Republicans would see it as a chance to demonstrate their purity.

Charging forth under the motto of William F. Buckley, standing “athwart history, yelling Stop,” many conservatives have an affection for martyrdom. And it is not a uniquely conservative mistake to believe that, if something is hard, it is also worthwhile.

Running on entitlement reform would be very hard. Social Security, the centerpiece of American social insurance, is far more popular than tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans or other beloved positions of supposed fiscal hawks. Though many Americans recognize that Medicare is on an unsustainable course, they also want to ensure that the elderly can have sufficient medical care. And bromides about “self-reliance” apart from “socialistic” government intervention can be grating when they come from millionaires who have collected many years’ worth of government paychecks. Moreover, it’s hard to run a presidential campaign, a genre of the broad brush, with the mechanical pencil of policy minutia.

Yet the difficulty of running on entitlements should not obscure the fact that running on entitlements and focusing excessive energy on curbing entitlements will not solve what truly ails the economic health of the nation and drives our immediate and medium-term deficits: the poor employment picture.

And the last few paragraphs:

Republicans would have much to gain by making the economy the door to a broader critique of the Obama administration: that this economic frustration is representative of a broader failure to channel the energies of a free people; that, rather than focusing on the practical trials of American workers, this administration chose instead to use this crisis to indulge in ideology; that its rapid expansion of regulatory power has served not to level the playing field but instead to provide a vehicle for favoritism and political payback. Many of the excesses and limitations of the Obama administration can be seen in its economic policies, so Republicans can make a broader, principled case against Obama while also being anchored in the economic realities of the moment.

Republicans can say to voters, In 2008, you voted in Barack Obama and scores of Democrats in hopes of a new way forward. Disappointment has been the recompense for all your hopes. We can offer a better path. Growth built not on debt but on innovation and production. An economy based not on hollowing out and corporate raiding, where the profits go to an ever-shrinking minority, but on the productive labor of the broad range of the American workforce, where a true rising tide will lift all boats. We can offer an economy of freedom, where opportunity is not the purview of the few but the promise of the many. The world has changed over the past decade, but the thinking of many in Washington has not kept pace with that change. Well, now is the time to renew the American spirit of freedom, innovation, and prosperity—not for some Americans but for all Americans.

Such an aspirational, forward-looking message has, I think, more in it electorally and intellectually than do hectoring declarations that the Democrat party (or the RINO establishment or the federal government as a whole) is a hive of traitorous socialists who hate the United States and freedom. It also has a lot more zip than endlessly insisting, No, I really don’t want to push Granny off a cliff. In fact, based on current actuarial projections, at the rate of current spending, the Social Security trust fund will be depleted by such-and-such a date, unless we start to adjust COLA standards and….

Now read it in its entirety.

This is the problem with the current incarnation of Republican conservatives — perfectly capsualized in the last paragraph. In fact, brilliantly. The use of the word “Democrat party” — a kind of nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah pre-school political behavior, using a term for Democrats BECAUSE you know it is a term used that they don’t like and is used with the intent of disparging them….considering Republicans who are to the left of you (and there are quite a few) RINOS, or others socialists, and thinking by quoting an analysis of numbers that some may in fact not agree with is going to do the trick.

It comes down the concept of the need to build coalitions, try to PERSUADE as this Republican has urged conservatives to do — to try and win the argument and increase positive perceptions not just aim to get 50 plus one enough to win and to use power politics to defeat the other side.

There are Republicans who see things this way. It’s just they don’t seem to be in the ascent right now in a party that seems more concerned with how Rush Limbaugh will react and Tea Party members react than Americans who are disappointed in Barack Obama and who might consider someone else might react. Elections are won often on people voting for the less foaming at the mouth candidate, you know.