Green Room

A Republican Platform for 2010 Emerges

posted at 10:41 pm on June 18, 2009 by

A campaign platform for the Republicans in 2010 is taking shape. Much like the successful “Contract With America” of 1994, it has a catchy central theme: “What America Can No Longer Afford.” We can hope that, unlike the Contract With America, the Republicans stay focused on their campaign themes after riding them to victory, and make smart strategic choices while implementing them.

Here are some things America can no longer afford:

Politicians who sign bills they haven’t read, and do not understand: We can illustrate this point with clips of Joe Biden casually admitting he doesn’t understand the “stimulus” bill he was put in charge of implementing, and seeming untroubled by the notion of taxpayers getting ripped off by stimulus scam artists. Republicans should promise the voters to present clear, concise legislation, polished through robust debate, instead of sloppy billion-dollar spending binges shoved down congressional throats in a matter of days.

Bankrupting the future to pay for lunatic schemes: Mountains of debt are being piled onto our financial system, threatening to crash the bond market. We deserve better than ridiculous, unworkable spending fantasies from our leadership. Obama’s health care proposal isn’t a legislative agenda – it’s the ravings of a delusional madman, and it’s an insult to the taxpayers to suggest they should seriously consider it. Obama’s “plan” dumps another trillion dollars of debt onto an exhausted, stagnant economy, to fund a statist pipe dream that would increase costs, explode demand, and leave working Americans with less health insurance. This is no less insane than a penniless vagrant running into a luxury car dealership and loudly declaring his “plans” buy a new BMW with the lint in his pockets. Republicans can promise not to waste the voters’ time with expensive fantasies.

Abuse of the public trust: We don’t need “leaders” who spend their time slandering inconvenient investigators, or hiding their flagrant waste of precious taxpayer money behind secretive classifications. We don’t need lectures on the desperate state of the economy from a man who promises he can personally fix everything… right after he gets back from his million-dollar night on Broadway. Republicans should pledge both austerity and transparency to the voters. A government that demands huge amounts of our income, to resolve problems it helped to create, should address us as our humble and dedicated servants, not our feudal overlords. If we want to see glamorous airheads amass fortunes by feeding us ridiculous lies, then swank around in fabulous wardrobes for a swarm of adoring press sycophants, we can watch “Access Hollywood.”

Neurotic liberal obsessions: America has wasted billions of dollars respecting the primitive liberal religion of our elites. We have no more money to fritter away on global-warming witch doctors and multi-cultural palm readers. We have no loose change to squander on “green” shell games or “carbon credit” lottery tickets. Republicans should pledge to develop America’s natural resources, and begin a rational policy for implementing nuclear power. We’ve had enough of cavemen pointing at pictures of the hydrogen atom, or absurdly inaccurate weather models, and hooting in fear. Our offshore oil reserves will eventually be exploited. It’s just a question of whether the oil rigs will be flying American flags.

Political interference in the economy: We can no longer sustain the corrupt closed loop of Democrats rearranging the economy to enrich their favored constituents, who repay them with fat campaign contributions. Every American has been robbed by the United Auto Workers union, for more money than most of us have in our bank accounts, over the first half of this year. We can no longer afford to let power brokers meeting behind closed doors attempt to rewrite the laws of supply and demand, while pulling exorbitant fees from our bank accounts to pay for their “services.” We need government to disengage from the free market, in order to serve its proper regulatory purpose. We require professional economists with total commitment to capitalism and the free markets in our Treasury department, not political hacks who believe their job is to figure out how much cash they can siphon out of the market without killing it altogether. Republicans should pledge to respect the freedom, and collective wisdom, of the voters, and make it clear they see their role as enhancing the stability and security of the marketplace. Their job is to give businesses and consumers the confidence to build a more prosperous future, not design the future and force the populace into their appointed roles at gunpoint.

Silence in the face of tyranny: We are the defenders of freedom, not mute spectators to oppression. The peaceful future of the world hinges on the universal acceptance of every person’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those words were not written for Americans to recite to each other. Our duty is to shout them into the darkness of communism, theocracy, and the other vicious systems men have designed to enslave each other. Our fathers defeated evil on a global scale, and we inherited a responsibility to call evil by its right name, wherever we see it. Republicans should pledge that no one struggling to raise their neck from beneath a tyrant’s boot will need to strain their ears to hear the voice of America.

Corruption of our electoral system: Americans have been asked to make painful sacrifices to address a frightening economic crisis. They have been told they need to sacrifice their freedoms, and mortgage their futures. They have the right to expect that every hand outstretched to take their money belongs to a fairly, honestly elected representative. Voter fraud and intimidation are unacceptable outrages, and Republicans should pledge to prosecute them aggressively and relentlessly. No organization under investigation for voter fraud should receive a single penny from the government.

Playing politics with national defense: In a time of war, we cannot afford to allow political hacks like Nancy Pelosi to smear our intelligence community. In a time of breathtaking victories against terrorism, our military leaders deserve better than to be treated like uppity peasants by Barbara Boxer. We have not forgotten Democrat leaders declaring defeat while our troops were still engaged in the field, hoping to demoralize the public for partisan political advantage. We have not forgotten prominent Democrats referring to American troops as Nazis. Republicans should pledge to keep petty politics out of national defense, and remember that civilian oversight of the military does not make civilian leaders better than the soldiers sworn to respect their authority. American soldiers do not enlist to become body servants, or convenient fall guys, for rich and powerful Democrat politicians.

Insanely expensive government: Bloated government fueled by economy-killing taxes produces nothing, except economy-killing regulations. Socialism is not a clever idea Barack Obama just came up with. It has been tried, and failed, around the globe, over and over again. Every socialist program in the history of the United States, from the “war on poverty” to public education, is a miserable failure with a staggering price tag. The most urgent imperative for the next Congress is to stop the runaway pork spending, dismantle government programs, and return money and freedom to the people, who will use it freely and productively. Republicans should strive to make the architects of the financial meltdown – people like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd – household names, with their corruption a matter of water-cooler conversation around the country. They should stress that Big Government is inherently corrosive – no party can swim in trillions of dollars and remain clean, as the Republicans of 2004 to 2008 demonstrated. Their campaign should not be to take over the wheel of the nanny state, but to dissolve it with massive tax cuts, and privatization of failed government programs. Remind the voters that everyone knows where Barack Obama’s tired, bankrupt socialism leads. He isn’t taking us on a bold new path. He’s just repackaging the same old swindles and reselling them to us with slick new advertising… and huge new price tags.

Americans can’t afford to be fools for the Democrats any more. They’ve enriched themselves with a very lucrative forty-year run, but if there’s one service we can thank Barack Obama for – before we set about the urgent business of making him the lamest duck ever to float across the bottom two years of the presidential pond – it’s the way he’s made the absurdity of socialism too obvious for any thinking person to ignore any more. In a shower of soaring unemployment, crashing market values, mind-blowing deficit spending, embarrassing foreign policy, and breathtaking corruption, Obama has given Republicans a flowchart for demonstrating how unethical and unsustainable socialism inevitably becomes. I can only hope they have the courage to walk past a media that will be begging, then demanding, and finally screaming at them to put that flowchart down…

… because we can’t afford an ineffective, timid Republican Party, either.

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beautiful. thank you, doc!

homesickamerican on June 19, 2009 at 12:35 AM

Under the “Political interference in the economy” section, there are two major subcategories that aren’t directly addressed.

First, it has become increasingly obvious that the costs of defined benefit pension plans can only be sustained by government entities — and that short-term/long-term dichotomies eventually lead government entities to overextend the plans (see “bankruptcy of Vallejo, California”). Even while the benefits side is driven out of control, the pile of money entrusted to the plans’ trustees grows — and, itself, becomes subject to graft and fraud, as well as unreasonable meddling in public markets (see “history of CalPERS”). Defined benefit plans themselves are creatures of the tax system, and the Feds have huge Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation obligations (similar to the backstop to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae).

The solution is clear and simple. Defined benefit pension plans should be entirely phased out and replaced by 401K/403B plans.

Second, there is the spectacle of public employee unionization. In a thriving economy, public employers would compete with private employers for employees — and unfair practices by either employer would be simply remedied by having the worker leave the job. Unfortunately, many public-sector jobs don’t have private sector analogues, so there is — in effect — a monopsony. That is to say, a single buyer who a number of sellers compete to serve. For example, there aren’t many private employers of prison guards.

As the old saying goes, “monopoly is no cure for monopsony”. If the public sector unionizes, it produces an entity that argues for its interests against a division of government that supports its interests. The inevitable result is a rapid and deep tap on the public till.

A huge improvement to the problem of political interference in the economy would involve replacing all defined benefit plans with fully funded individual 401K/403B plans and eliminating public employee unions.

cthulhu on June 19, 2009 at 3:22 AM

Good, but it needs a shorter, catchier name.

Michael McCullough on June 19, 2009 at 5:30 AM

How about this: 1) No public or private entity can be forced to accept federal funds, and 2) Acceptance of federal funds does not necessitate a federal role in management. Ever.

Farmer_Joe on June 19, 2009 at 6:15 AM

It’s going to be tougher to put this across in 2010 than it was in 1994 because a lot of the people carrying the message will still be the same ones who overspent while running Congress during the period from 1999 through 2006. In ’94 the GOP had only held half of Congress for six of the previous 40 years, and had more credibility when they said they would do things differently from the Democrats (though Obama’s spending plans are on such as fantastically high level that could offset the “trust” factor, especially if the economy’s still in trouble next year).

jon1979 on June 19, 2009 at 8:17 AM

Not so much neurotic liberal obsessions, but rather: Return of intellectual liberty and conscience to science.

* Real scientists see “the debate is over” as the antithesis of what they actually do for a living.

* Similarly, a free nation ought not be subject to the chilling phrase “settled science”, which is itself not a scientific phrase, but is rather a slogan that is intended to shut down inquiry, and as such is abhorrent to the spirit of American science.

* The role of government in science is to provide adequate and unbiased research funding for the common good, not to play referee in determining which lines of research have potential and which do not. This must remain a scientific decision based on evidence, not a political one based on pressure from extremist factions or celebrities. E.g., stem-cell.

* Science does not determine what is moral or immoral, human judgment does; the question of whose life is worth living is not a scientific question, it is a moral one.

* No practitioner of science or health care can be required to perform scientific experiments or procedures that are morally abhorrent to him. This should be obvious in a free society.

jeff_from_mpls on June 19, 2009 at 9:04 AM

Excellent! Doctor Zero you made a quip the other day regarding the Scare Force One flight that continues to pique my curioustity. Has there been any headway in getting a list of the passengers on that flight? That may make for some very interesting elections as well.

Also, we need a decent alternate print media for our cities across this country. Do you think with all of the local rags struggling that perhaps a regional version of the Washington Times could be that? I’m wondering if the existing printing capacities could be utilized for this because we know they are running well below their capabilities. Believe it or not I still like to spread a newspaper out but not one that insults me everyday.

DanMan on June 19, 2009 at 10:07 AM

This is not a remake… this is nothing more than a disjointed bunch of positions… its not a philosophy.

If you read the Republican Platform, you see the same thing, lots of positions taken on various issues, but no base foundation that brings it all together.

Romeo13 on June 19, 2009 at 10:39 AM

Well said. Ed – put this on the main page if you haven’t already.

matthew26 on June 19, 2009 at 11:43 AM

The public believes so many of our problems are too difficult to fix. Therefore, we get the meme from the Democrats there needs to be a total new entity/program. What we need is some programs from the federal government to be completely removed. We need reform that looks like the twenty something paged Interstate Highway bill. Keep it simple. Whatever the issue, whatever the answer, whatever it is we need to be able to explain the solutions in 2 minutes or less. Unfortunately, the attention span of most Americans is very short.

But to me the most important thing about our winning is going to be no weasel wording. A candidate is going to have to be firm, have a backbone, and not remotely look like a moderate. After the disasters this Administration will have created, the public is going to want strong and solid leadership.

freeus on June 19, 2009 at 12:02 PM

B+ for effort.
D- for exceeding assigned length.

Too long. Too verbose. Deeper thoughts like this are very needed, but this cannot be the leading edge of the blade.

As for whether this can be sold by the same Repubucrats who sold the fiscally conservative (and socially conservative) down the river during Bush 2.0′s first term, well, Tip O’Neill is still right – all politics is local.

Want to win, Repubs? Read *AND COMPREHEND* the above positions. Pick the top two or three that resonate in your specific district. Live them. Every conversation with anyone even remotely associated with media needs to contain one, every speech must hit at least one and ideally 2-3. Oh, and don’t forget linking your opponent to Obama….

Mew

acat on June 20, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Too long. Too verbose. Deeper thoughts like this are very needed, but this cannot be the leading edge of the blade.

Seconded. Especially given the last couple generations of Americans, who appear to have the attention span of a fly and the reading comprehension of Klem Kadiddlehopper.

Dark-Star on June 20, 2009 at 9:04 PM

The thing about Reagan was that he managed to get Klem to sit down and listen – he knew how to put this stuff right across the plate.

The apparent inspiration for this, “Contract With America”, worked not because it had a great communicator – Newt is too damn eggheaded – but because each point was a sound bite, and each sound bite could be put together in a media buy, or used to season a campaign speech, or … well, *communicated*.

Again, these are points that will resonate – they resonated for Reagan, they resonated for Gingrich, they will resonate for whomever can boil them down into nuggets of sound-bite-y goodness and (this is key) get other people to say them too.

Mew

acat on June 20, 2009 at 10:56 PM

Seconded. Especially given the last couple generations of Americans, who appear to have the attention span of a fly and the reading comprehension of Klem Kadiddlehopper.

Dark-Star on June 20, 2009 at 9:04 PM

I wasn’t writing for Klem and his short-attention-span ilk… I was writing for Hot Air readers, who I assume can handle eleven paragraphs to make a case for putting together a platform for the most desperate internal struggle America has faced since the Vietnam War. I wanted to make the case for why each of those things belonged in the platform. At this level, I thought it needed to be a comprehensive case. I assume somebody in the Republican Party apparatus can edit it down into a smash-cut Michael Bay movie trailer format, for presentation to the people who think Twitter posts are too long.

2010 will be the last chance to stop some very bad things from being done to this country. In fact, the perception of 2010 as a tight battle against a resurgent Republican party, against a backdrop of increasing discontent with Obama’s policies, is crucial now, to scare Democrats away from some of the nuttier items on the Obama agenda, like the health-care fever dream. This leads me to think the items on the Republican platform should be debated and, if adopted, understood in depth, so they can be defended effectively. I think the “we can’t afford liberalism any more” theme is the right one to hit, but success will involve more than simply repeating a slogan over and over again – especially since the media will not be interested in helping to disseminate that idea.

Later, it will be important to boil the platform down into sound bites, as acat suggested. For the moment, I thought Hot Air readers deserve more than a USA Today editorial, and made the corresponding effort.

Doctor Zero on June 20, 2009 at 11:24 PM

Doctor Zero,

The example we both cited, “Contract With America”, and the one I cited, Reagan, have two things in common – substance and style. Your post, for all its’ substance, lacked some of the stylistic nuances needed. Yes, it’s a thought-work in progress, but from your writing style and your previous posts, it struck me as oddly.. lumpy.

I frequently run into people who miss on the order of style and substance – the builder who says “It’ll look fine once it’s painted” or the web site guru who says “We’ll add some pretty to it later on”. Neither ends up working out real well – the style is integral to the substance, and the substance is integral to the style – both must grow together.

So, to your point, yes someone can “Michael Bay” this, but – look to your example again – how far out from the 1994 election was the contract, with its’ easy-to-quote bullet points available to the average Repub candidate? Time is running out. “Adding the pretty” or “giving it the Michael Bay treatment” won’t help if the ideas are inherently off-key. “the pretty” should be the bald, naked ideas themselves.

I’m a little concerned with “We can no longer afford …” as the catchphrase. It sounds a little too much like “Daddy” taking away the car keys or the iTunes… Which, in a way, is what we’re saying. The other issue with it is the Dem/Lib response – just ratchet up class warfare again.

I’d rather tap the edge of the Tea Party movement – not “We can’t afford”, but instead “We won’t pay for…” or “We refuse to pay for…”

As a cat from Illinois, “We refuse to pay for corrupt government” sounds pretty damn good.

Mew

acat on June 21, 2009 at 10:34 AM