The Republicans have a much stronger bargaining position as the “fiscal cliff” negotiations get underway than the Manhattan-Beltway media elites would like you to believe, and my Monday Washington Examiner column explains why.
Americans don’t want higher taxes and did not vote for higher taxes. The president’s narrow re-election –the narrowest in modern times– is offset by the GOP holding the House (and btw, gerrymnandering helped the Dems at least as much as it helped the GOP so enough with that nonsense meme making the rounds on the left.)
This is the week when the MSM begins to wake up to the fact that Republicans are far more concerned about avoiding an economy-and-brand destroying bad “big deal,” than they are at having President Obama raise everyone’s taxes and attracting the scorn of the Beltway bigs who already scorn them. The president is driving the tax train, not the GOP, and the opinion of the Sunday morning pundit class doesn’t much matter to the republican base or the much larger middle and upper-middle class.
This is also the season when eyes start to turn to the 2014 Senate elections because nine vulnerable Democrats, named in the Examiner column, have to start taking real poisitions that their states’ voters will be remembering as much as the voters recalled TARP in the off-year elections of 2010.
What the GOP needs are candidates like Senators Ayotte, Cruz and Rubio, and they need them in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and South Dakota.
Fred Barnes pens a very key piece on these races, “Win the Winnable,” and I’ll spend some time this week asking the audience who are the possible GOP nominees for these none contests. (Your input is welcome via firstname.lastname@example.org). Conservatives have to insist that their nominees have the brains and experience of the three exceptional, young senators I named, all high profile leaders of the new GOP and each of whom declared early for their seats and waged tough battles to win them. Blanket rules don’t ever work, but most of the GOP’s next generation of candidates should be under 50, should have held leadership positions in legislative bodies or executive positions that truly involve serious decision making, should be able to raise money and enthusiasm, be well read and curious about the world and not just their state, and should be able to handle tough interviews and lots of them as well as a hostile MSM.
Winning the presidency in 2016 means winning the Senate in 2014 so that when the GOP picks a new standard bearer at its Cleveland convention in the summer of 2016 (projection, I know), he (or she) will be working with Congressional majorities in both houses that have clearly set a legislative course that the painfully lame duckish and failed President Obama will be widely understood to be obstructing. (He is doomed to fail because the economic policies he is pledged to are doomed to fail.)
Take a look, for analogies, at the Notre Dame and Ohio State football programs, in disarray only a few years back. They both have just finished perfect seasons because they hired well, recruited well, and practiced well. President Obama’s second term promises to be like Auburn’s post-Cam Newton run, and while the president can’t be fired in two years as Gene Chizik was today, Harry Reid can be. If the GOP recruits well, that is, and doesn’t begin the rebuilidng by caving on its core principles.