1) Good Policies Are Good Politics: Too often these days, Republicans will go along with policies that are bad for the country, simply because of polling data that is, as often as not, heavily slanted towards the Democrats. But, what they forget is that the new media may not be as big as the liberal controlled MSM, but, over time, the blogosphere and talk radio are able to get out the conservative message. So, if the policies Republicans support are worthwhile, eventually the Republians on the right side of the issues will get the credit they deserve. Conversely, if the policies Republicans support aren’t worthwhile, those same forces in the new media won’t let the voters forget it. That why, more than ever before, good policies make for good politics.
2) America Should Always Come First: Whether we’re talking about international treaties, foreign policy, or even illegal immigration, Republicans should NEVER put the interests of foreigners above those of their own countrymen. Americans should always come first.
3) Remember That There Is No Such Thing As Free Money: The money Washington spends doesn’t come out of a Golden Goose or fall from the sky. To the contrary, it comes right out of the pockets of the American people and they will miss it dearly. It’s money that people could otherwise spend on retirement, grocery bills, medicine or their kid’s college education. That’s why the government should be restrained in their spending habits, keep taxes low, and avoid running up a debt. The government isn’t spending “free” money, it’s spending money that people worked hard for and earned, and a lot of Republicans seem to have lost sight of that.
4) Compromise, But Don’t Capitulate: Compromise is a necessity in politics, but Republicans shouldn’t engage in compromises that don’t significantly advance the conservative agenda. It’s not about “getting things done,” it’s about “getting things done that are good for the country.” And if the price of getting a bill passed is giving liberals almost everything they want, then that price is too high to pay.
5) Fight Back Harder: There has to be a happy medium between the Democrats’ knee-jerk “oppositionalism” to all things Republican and the lackluster salvos the Republicans lob at the Dems. As often as not these days, the GOP seems to lose on issues because they’re so reluctant to take the fight to Democrats. Bush’s “new tone” was the right policy after 8 years of Clinton, but it’s just not working any more and that’s why the intensity of the GOP’s attacks on Democrats needs to be ramped up a few notches.
6) Discipline Republicans Who Stray On Key Issues: Because there’s no discipline in the Senate, on key issue after key issue, we’ve ended up with a cabal of RINOs teaming up with the Democrats to push liberal policies that are bad for the country. Yet, none of these RINOs ever seem to pay any sort of a price for thwarting the conservative agenda. That needs to change.
7) Stop Getting Involved In Primary Elections: When President Bush and the National Republican Senatorial Committee back RINOS like Arlen Specter or Lincoln Chafee in Republican primaries, it sends the wrong message. The Senators are in effect, being told that they can thwart the will of the majority of Republicans without consequence while a large portion of the base is given the impression that Republicans in Washington are unsympathetic to their views. In my book, if a sitting Republican Senator can’t even win a primary without a lot of help from the Party, he’ll probably be more of a hindrance than an asset over the long-term anyway.
8) You Can’t Beat Democrats At Their Own Game: Republicans need to understand that they will never be able to dole out more pork than Democrats, promise more government benefits than Democrats, or out-pander Democrats, so they shouldn’t even try. Instead, let the Dems try to out-tax-cut us, be tougher on national security, or be more willing to cut spending. Make the Democrats play our game instead of playing to their strengths.
9) There Is No Such Thing As An “Off Year:”‘ In the age of the new media and the 24 hour news cycle, there are no more “off years.” Politicians are now ALWAYS under the microscope and they simply cannot afford to put their feet up and relax or worse yet, spend their time catering to special interests while expecting to throw a few sops to the base right before the elections. In other words, in these days and times, the election cycle never truly ends.
10) If The Base Isn’t Happy, You’re In Trouble: George Bush’s approval rating is in the low thirties and Republicans in Congress are even less popular. Yet, if the Washington GOP had done nothing but keep the base and Republican leaning independents happy, their polling numbers would at least be in the upper forties and they’d be on track to gain, not lose seats in November. That doesn’t mean that the GOP should do anything and everything the base wants, but there’s a lesson in those numbers: keeping your base happy is the foundation of all political success.