Without even buying a ticket, the GOP has won the Powerball of politics. But in our happy delirium, we Republicans should be brutally honest with ourselves. Democrats are flailing right now–but that doesn’t mean Republicans are in control. We didn’t earn this. Sure, we were right about Obamacare. But telling the country what we are against is only a start. To really run the table and take back the White House and the Senate, the GOP must do the hard work of a true party reset. If we don’t, a big Democratic comeback in 2016 is quite likely, even with the failures of Obamacare. Here is the path forward.
We must understand that the GOP needs fresh policy thinking, not a just an update of our political tactics. New computers in the RNC basement won’t save us. A new set of right-of-center policy ideas might. The computers will help us sell those ideas.
Our Republican policy cupboard is embarrassingly bare. What are our new ideas to help the middle class after years of economic pain? What’s our plan to address the rising costs of health insurance? How do we create economic growth–for everybody, not just the most successful 10% of the country? How do we rebuild the ladder of upward social mobility? How do we fix public education?
The Republicans need an idea renaissance to carry our fight forward. We also need to recognize what ideas and issues to avoid. Are we going to spend 2014 and 2016 debating social issues, like same-sex-marriage bans, that are rapidly losing public support? Are we going to define our party by retrograde ideas that most people oppose? The Democrats would like nothing better. Wounded and cornered, they’ll soon try to pick abortion and gay-rights fights in Congress to shift the political debate away from Obamacare. Our choice is simple: Do we walk into their trap?