Americans clearly want the new Congress to focus on economic growth and creating jobs in the private sector. Real spending reductions, an extension of the Bush tax cuts, ending earmarks, using the returns from the bailouts to reduce the debt, and turning Fannie and Freddie into private companies should all be at the top of the GOP’s agenda.

Republicans must also tackle ObamaCare. They must try to repeal or defund it. But they should also present conservative alternatives—such as permitting Americans to buy health insurance across state lines, allowing small businesses to pool their risk to get the same discounts that big businesses get, giving the tax advantage of having insurance to the individual as well as the employer, and passing medical-liability reform to end junk lawsuits.

The GOP should also take up entitlement reform. Voters will not judge them to be fiscally serious if they avoid the issue.

All of this needs to be advanced by a party that is seen as hopeful and optimistic about America while remaining humble about itself. The next speaker of the House, John Boehner, hit just the right notes on Tuesday night.