At the moment I’m only seeing one way out of the Republicans’ fiscal cliff corner. President Obama and the Democrats have the Republicans cornered, there is some division among their ranks, and the only thing being discussed with any vigor is the president’s ridiculous and irresponsible tax hikes. Those hikes would amount to a rounding error on the national debt if enacted, while they stand a good chance of hurting the economy going into next year.
President Obama clearly doesn’t care about hurting the economy. He says he does, but he doesn’t. If he did, he would not propose those tax hikes, and he would rein in his Environmental Protection Agency, he would halt his war on coal, and he would stop giving gifts to Big Labor, and he, frankly, would not have run for re-election. He remains fixated on his goal of “fundamentally transforming” America, and a bad economy is evidently among the means he intends to use to reach that goal. Democrats used a “health care crisis (OMG!)” to force through a law that does not fix said crisis, but empowers Democrats by shifting the entire national political conversation leftward. They will use an economic crisis, again, to force their own policies on the rest of us. It’s how they roll.
So what do the Republicans do when dealing with such a man and the party he leads?
Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have got to force the Democrats into getting detailed and specific on what spending cuts they will and will not contemplate. This will take a flood the zone approach, on cable nets, in prime time speeches, in ads — the works. The comms should frame the debate as the tax and spend liberal Democrats against main street. Go populist and prepare to take no prisoners.
Will the Democrats roll back the 32% welfare spending increase since Obama took office? Why or why not, and show your work.
Will they consider putting off or stopping the implementation of ObamaCare, which will cost the federal government and the states far more than the American people were told when the Democrats passed the bill? Why or why not, and show your work.
Will the Democrats consider cutting the National Endowment for the Arts or any of the other thousands of programs that we don’t need and can no longer afford? How about public radio and public TV? Why or why not, and show your work.
What I mean by show your work, is justify the inevitable Democrat defense of these programs in detail.
The Republicans are also going to have to bring the “tax and spend liberal” meme back into vogue. Use it in every public statement and web video and press release and talking point until the Democrats and everyone else gets sick of hearing it. Find ridiculous items in the budget and force the Democrats to defend them. Make them defend every insane penny they’re spending. Make them get specific. None of this “we’ll raise taxes now in return for the promise of spending cuts later” nonsense. We’ve seen that play out before. The Democrats always lie and increase spending after they get their tax increase, and then they turn around and use the tax hike to destroy Republicans.
That’s how they roll.