Patterico's Pontifications


A Time for Choosing

Filed under: 2010 Election,Politics — DRJ @ 6:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Washington Post PostPolitics columnists Karen Tumulty and Paul Kane consider how the Republican Party will approach the November elections. Some consultants argue the best path is to make Democrats the issue. Others, like Newt Gingrich, say the consultants are wrong and ideas win elections. I’m with Newt, although I don’t see why the election can’t be about GOP ideas and wrong-headed Democratic policies.

What say you?


46 Responses to “A Time for Choosing”

  1. 1) Make Democrats the issue.
    2) Make the Obama Administration’s policies and actions the issue.
    3) Sign and push the Contract From America.

    John Hitchcock (9e8ad9)

  2. I like Christie’s approach. Hey, let’s actually TRY conservative answers to social problems rather than liberal-lite solutions.

    TL Davis (61176d)

  3. I fail to see how both are mutually exclusive.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  4. 3.I fail to see how both are mutually exclusive.
    Comment by SPQR — 7/17/2010 @ 8:02 pm

    Exactly. But don’t count on the gutless twits at the RNC to figure it out.

    rrpjr (0bc4cd)

  5. If you don’t tell the people what you want to do, you don’t have a mandate when you win, the problem with Newt, back then, was he was opining on every
    thing under the sun, and Newt Unplugged, doesn’t really work

    ian cormac (d28167)

  6. While I believe most Republican voters could agree on a platform of smaller government, lower taxes, and secure borders, I doubt most Republican politicians would sign on. Maybe Boehner’s blueprint will bring them together but my concern is they will unite behind the blueprint to get elected and promptly forget it once they are sworn in.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  7. Maybe Boehner’s blueprint will bring them together but my concern is they will unite behind the blueprint to get elected and promptly forget it once they are sworn in.

    Yes, that’s the likely result. I’d almost prefer they don’t win back either house. They’re not ready. They haven’t absorbed the lessons of the tea party. They don’t know how to confront the Left. They want to win on Obama’s decline and unpopularity of democrat agenda but once back in power will be tripping over themselves to prove what nice, bipartisan guys they are.

    rrpjr (0bc4cd)

  8. Don’t make the Dems the issue. Give the people something to vote for, not just “we’re not those guys.” That approach only works for Dems.

    No, make ideas the issues. And make sure everyone knows the Dems have bad ideas.

    Some chump (e334bf)

  9. They have to have some ideas to propose, otherwise they just play into the Democratic meme that they are like Goethe’s Mephistopheles {“the spirit that says no”)

    but my concern is they will unite behind the blueprint to get elected and promptly forget it once they are sworn in

    You’re being too kind to them. They won’t forget it; they’ll just ignore it, for two reasons:

    1)they like being in office, and the perks and power that comes with it

    2)for many of them, small government rhetoric is simply a ploy to win votes; for those Republicans, big government is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it is devoted to goals of which they approve. They’re authoritarian conservatives, as opposed to libertarian conservatives which dominates here and apparently dominates the tea party movement.

    kishnevi (bb4d18)

  10. kishnevi,

    I believe there are people who will rise above the greed and temptation and stand up for conservative values. Sadly, not many of them are in Washington now.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  11. As said above, do both keeping to major principles. If there is to be significant change, people will need to vote based on understanding, not just who is popular this election cycle. Discuss the issues and point out the differences.

    Economic growth by encouraging private sector with lower tax burden

    Make explicitly clear that increasing taxes DOES NOT necessarily mean increased tax revenues to pay for programs, etc, it just means less money available to grow business and grow jobs. The Left’s love of increasing taxes is not to be able to afford more programs, but to control people more.

    Big government life control vs small govt freedom- point out things in the “health care” bill and “financial reform” bill that have nothing to do with the main subject and explain the consequences for Americans.

    Foreign policy from the perspective of a nation just as week as all of the others, or foreign policy from a position of strength.

    Make it clear that things will continue to get worse unless Democrats lose control of at least one branch of Congress. It is not enough to say your Congressman/Senator is a nice person. They’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  12. Forgive the digression, but someone just told me that Obama had his kids’ pet dog, Bo….the one Teddy kennedy gave them….flown up to their Maine vacation spot on a small jet….all by himself, at taxpayer expense. Anyone know if this is true? Has this entitled dope really done this?

    Kevin Stafford (abdb87)

  13. They’re authoritarian conservatives, as opposed to libertarian conservatives which dominates here and apparently dominates the tea party movement.

    All too true, which is why I hope the Republican electorate will carefully read up on the candidates for the primaries. Or, at least look to sites such as this for guidance.

    The Internet’s decentralized nature helps connect the Tea Party and other libertarian-minded folks and breaks down the centralized command of the party elite. No wonder the Court Party fears and hates the Net, and burns to bring its free and uninhibited speech under control.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  14. Kish,

    Here you go:

    Arriving in a small jet before the Obamas was the first dog, Bo, a Portuguese water dog given as a present by the late U.S. Sen Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.; and the president’s personal aide Reggie Love, who chatted with Baldacci.

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  15. Meh…Kish, Kevin Stafford

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  16. The Republicans have had seventeen months since the inauguration of Obama, to develop a strategy and platform for the 2010 elections. There is no sign of them having done anything but p*$$ that time away, witlessly telling the public that “we’re not those horrible Obama democrats”.

    Mind you, I hope they win, but very few of them appear to have any concept of governing from principle – Chris Christie and Paul Ryan excepted.

    Insufficiently Sensitive (8906ed)

  17. Hey Dana, thanks for the info on taxpayers flying Obama’s dog to Maine in his own private jet. I doubted it was true, but clearly I shouldn’t have. What an enormous putz this president is. What a clueless, arrogant, imperious putz.

    Kevin Stafford (abdb87)

  18. Well they couldn’t do worse than taking up the tea parties banner of reversing the czars, Obamacare,
    tax relief, et al, I know I’m crazy that way

    ian cormac (d28167)

  19. Maybe I’m cynical, but I think they’re both wrong. The left-brain voters are mostly split, so it’s about how to influence the right-brain voter. Control the horoscopes, control the election.

    Kevin Murphy (5ae73e)

  20. How can one fail to mention the gift that keeps on giving?

    Biden’s 2008 campaign told: Pay $219K to Treasury
    From Associated Press
    July 17, 2010 11:22 PM EDT
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Election watchdogs have directed Joe Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign to pay the U.S Treasury more than $219,000 to resolve issues caused by sloppy bookkeeping and accepting excessive contributions, including a discounted flight on a private jet.

    The audit was released Friday by the Federal Election Commission.

    It determined that the Biden campaign accepted an improper corporate contribution in the form of a round-trip flight between New Hampshire and Iowa in June 2007 for three people. The Biden campaign paid GEH Air Transportation $7,911 for the first-class airfare, but regulators say the campaign should have paid the charter rate of $34,800.

    The FEC also found that the Biden campaign could not document repaying at least $106,000 in donations that were over the limit, and the campaign was ordered to pay the U.S. Treasury more than $85,000 for stale-dated checks.

    The Biden campaign also failed to disclose more than $3.7 million in payments and roughly $870,000 in debts.

    The audit was conducted in part as a condition of Biden’s accepting taxpayer funds for his campaign through the presidential public financing system.

    Biden, now the vice president, campaigned for president for nearly a year before dropping out in January 2008 after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.

    Elizabeth Alexander, a spokeswoman for Biden in the vice president’s office, on Saturday said the campaign would repay the money.

    “Some repayment is commonplace after presidential campaign audits and the repayment ordered here is relatively small. Payment is due to the Treasury 30 days after the FEC issues its formal ruling and Biden for President will comply with that,” she said Saturday.

    Alexander said the campaign raised just over $12 million. And she said that “stale-dated checks” are where someone contributes over the allowed maximum and the campaign sends back refund of the overpayment, but the check is never cashed.

    “This is common and obviously not in campaign’s control,” she said, adding that the excess contributions were less than 1 percent of the money raised.

    Icy Texan (ebf207)

  21. Both, of course. Promise to rescind Obamacare.

    John Costello (32628a)

  22. The GOP needs ideas. It can then contrast them with the tired race and class baiting that compose the Democratic agenda. Ideas first, then attack the Democrats for the policies which divide us and cripple both economic and international progress.

    I vote both.

    Ken Hahn (5d0365)

  23. I think reps should stay quiet about their plans and force attention on dems. Anything reps say will become the main media talking pint and will be twisted and used as a club by MSM and to deflect attention away from any discussion about dems failures.

    If, say, building a wall is part of the platform, then every rep will be bludgeoned as EXTREME!!!! and will face question after question about WHYWHYWHY do you believe in this racist/teaparty/extreme solution.

    Stay down, reps and let the discussion remain with the failure of dems.

    elharro (02e8e5)

  24. Mr Hahn wrote:

    The GOP needs ideas.

    The GOP has ideas; that doesn’t mean that they’ll actually use them.

    We won in 1994 by telling the electorate what we would do differently. Thanks to a new president who won election only due to a recession, and who had urinated off the public with a hard veer to the left, the GOP won. At first, the Republican majority actually tried to put its policies in place, and got a significant amount done. But it wasn’t long before they stopped being cost- cutting Republicans and became free-spending Democrats Lite.

    We can do this again! Governor Christie is showing the way, and his popularity, in a blue state, is due to him actually paying attention to the majority of people who aren’t on the dole, the majority of people who pay taxes rather than live off them.

    The question is: will 435 Republican congressional candidates and 34 Republican senatorial candidates take that advice? The incumbents will play it safe, of course, in districts where they can. The leadership has to come from the Republican challengers, the ones who don’t have anything to lose.

    The Republican Dana (474dfc)

  25. One cannot discount the impact of the government shutdown backlash followed by the first defeats of
    the class of ’95, as dictating the Delay/Hastert method for future policy, they buckled under to Raines’s ‘Enron accounting’ on the budget, and the course was set there.

    ian cormac (d28167)

  26. If the GOP wants to win this November, they need to tone down the hysterical tone, and offer some kind of GOP plan to independents rather than just saying ‘we oppose everything the Dems are doing.’

    JEA (0dceed)

  27. As usual the media talks about elections like they are baseball games.

    Our country’s future is on the line.

    I say: repeal, revoke, renew.

    Patricia (358f54)

  28. If the GOP wants to win this November,

    If they really want to win, they’ll do exactly the opposite of what you suggest.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  29. JEA, that comedy routine of yours is not as funny as you think. Repeating the misrepresentations of the White House isn’t very impressive. The GOP has made specific proposals, the Democrats reject them and then lie about their existance.

    Like you do.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  30. Newt had his chance, and blew it by not following through with the Contract with America. Weasel-wording the results, and slinking away in cuckolding shame after Clinton’s impeachment, make him the wrong messenger. How he keeps floating his future political aspirations on Fox is beyond me.

    For those who don’t remember the 1994 RNC promises…
    On the first day of their majority in the House, the Republicans promised to pass eight major reforms:
    Require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress;
    Select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
    Cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
    Limit the terms of all committee chairs;
    Ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
    Require committee meetings to be open to the public;
    Require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
    Guarantee an honest accounting of the Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.

    TimesDisliker (b05f18)

  31. This Independent is willing to vote against any Democrat stupid enough to stick his neck out far enough for me to draw a bead on his sorry rear end, so to speak.

    I’m easy this election, trash Obama and Democrats in Congress and I’ll pay attention, otherwise, I don’t want to hear a word, not one word.

    ropelight (a0df9c)

  32. The Contract promised:

    * a balanced-budget amendment and a line-item veto to control federal spending;
    * tougher anti-crime legislation; welfare reform;
    * a tax credit for families with children;
    * reduced federal regulation;
    * enhanced national security;
    * reforms in product liability laws;
    * term limits for members.

    Gingrich may be a little too much in the rear view mirror to be viable, but the man has ideas and deserves a prominent place at the table.

    GeneralMalaise (26e9b5)

  33. Bob Novak’s biography, “Prince of Darkness,” is well worth the reading and he especially takes off after Newt. As soon as Newt was Speaker, he became preoccupied with his $5 million book deal, then was outmaneuvered by Clinton in the shutdown. Perhaps if he wasn’t distracted by screwing staffers and counting his book advance, he might have done a better job in his fencing with Clinton. Clinton was obviously capable of getting BJs from interns and still outwitting Newt.

    I think we have to have the beginning of a change in government policy. Paul Ryan’s program would be a good start and would inform the voters that a real alternative is on offer. The Republicans are ranked even below Democrats in polls on competence. If they don’t start to produce substance, the voters will swing back to Democrats once they are convinced they have been spanked enough.

    There has not been a more important election since 1860.

    Mike K (0ef8c3)

  34. I think most all people have already made up their minds on how they are going to vote in November. Most of us already have. Ideology will sway a few undecided votes, but that is about all.

    MorningStar (72856e)

  35. _____________________________________

    The Republicans are ranked even below Democrats in polls on competence.

    I’d say a good portion of that goes beyond the issue of mere competence to what I call the “Mommy versus Daddy” factor. That’s where a large percentage of the electorate is like most children (or like many of us in our later years) who often give a lot of benefit of the doubt to what they perceive as the idealistic, big-hearted, nurturing Mommy—ie, liberals/Democrats.

    By contrast, much of the electorate treats Dad — ie, conservatives/Republicans — as the stern, no-nonsense, non-idealistic, discipline-oriented parent. So a large percentage of the electorate doesn’t feel quite so gushy and warm-hearted towards him—or it, or them.

    This obviously is a generalization and sometimes the roles (meaning the reactions towards parents) are reversed. But I’d estimate that in most instances a lot of people’s heartstrings are tugged at when they’re dealing with politicians and political parties in a way rather similar to when they’re dealing with Mommy and Daddy. IOW, a good number of voters, upon entering the voting booth, may not be driven by the most rational and sensible considerations possible.

    There’s also a bit of superstitious, lucky-rabbit-foot responses towards politicians and parties. So if the economy in particular is going really well at a particular time — in spite of who’s running things or the policies he or she favors — a lot of the electorate will have kiss-kiss feelings towards that politician, no matter what. Based on the recent CBS-Wall Street Journal Poll, I notice that phenomenon towards scroungy (yet also Big Mommy, “I feel your pain”) Bill Clinton. A large number of those in the poll apparently express warm-hearted confidence in the candidates he supports in an election.

    Mark (411533)

  36. Focus like a laserbeam on the economy. So easy a caveman could do it.

    stout77 (c2d8fe)

  37. There is no other issue in this election besides the economy.

    stout77 (c2d8fe)

  38. If the GOP wants to win this November, they need to tone down the hysterical tone, and offer some kind of GOP plan to independents rather than just saying ‘we oppose everything the Dems are doing.’


    The Dems did not have to do this in 2006.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  39. The GOP has ideas; that doesn’t mean that they’ll actually use them.

    The biggest single thing the public is concerned about is JOBS. If they take over Congress the first thing out of the Dems’ mouths will be “What’s your job plan?”. A number of Republicans like Congressman Ryan are coming out with good ideas about budget cutting. However that’s not the same thing as job creation. The only answer on jobs is tax cuts, (okay removing uncertainty created by Obama’s anti-capitalist agenda helps too).

    When they start proposing tax cuts, they give Obama an opening big enough to drive a truck through – “That’s Bush’s failed policies!”. Then he’ll propose some “compromise” jobs plan that is mostly spending with some kind of tax rebate that they’ll call tax cuts. If the GOP says no, unemployment will now be their fault in the Dem/media narrative. There’s a good chance Obama could get reelected on that.

    The only way to fight that is for Republicans to confront head on the idea that Bush’s tax cuts didn’t create jobs, let alone actually caused the recession. They basically have to say that’s a big lie. Getting that through the MM screen even with a lot of alternative media these days is not easy, but it could be done if they are skillful enough – but they’re probably not.

    Gerald A (2b94cf)

  40. Repealing Obamacare is a big help also as small business is afraid to hire. Still, tax cuts, at least targeted to business investment, and making Bush’s cut permanent will be part of the mix also. Maybe they can just say getting rid of Obamacare is our jobs plan…

    Gerald A (2b94cf)

  41. I vote for both, but I heard this morning Britt Hume discussing the reality that Christie ran mostly against Corzine, and downplayed the real agenda he wished to enact once in office (just like Obama). So…what’s good for the goose…

    Dmac (d61c0d)

  42. I want Righties to turn the ridiculous “party of no” slogan right back at the Dems. We should be proud to be called that. Remind all the people who HATE the Dem’s far left policies and slimy tactics (Porkulous, House Cap and Trade, Obamacare, the sorry version of Wall Street Regs that just passed, and suing AZ) that we tried with all our might to say “no” on behalf of the American people and for our country’s future. Let voters, especially independents know that we need their help to put many more Republicans in congress to say “no” even more forcefully–and to halt, and turn back what the crazy, power hungry Dems have wrought and will continue until they are stopped.

    This election, of necessity, is a multi-phase project just like dealing with immigration reform. We’ve got to stop the ongoing carnage and criminality in its tracks before we can even begin to make progress on the bigger issues that face the USA.

    elissa (a9ef5a)

  43. Mike K and TimesDisliker – you need to look up HR 1 of 1995 … it satisfied the first plank of the Contract With America – “Require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress” … just cuz the LATimes told us all that Prayer in the Schools was Newt’s highest priority don’t make it so …

    By the end of 2000, the annual federal deficit was *almost* gone … give Congress *some* credit when they get stuff right (especially in spite of a Dem President) … and give Congress the blaqme when its legislation puts the US Economy into a power dive in 2007-2008 (Dem Congress with GOP President) …

    Alasdair (205079)

  44. I have to disagree a bit, Gerald. I don’t think the government can “create jobs”–the Repubs should say that they will repeal bad law, shrink bureaucracy, and committ to certainty in regulation.

    Jobs would take off like a rocket, fueled by the genius of the American businessman and woman.

    Patricia (358f54)

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