WASHINGTON, August 10, 2014 — The New York times writes, Uniting to Take Congress, G.O.P. Tries to Become the Party of ‘Yes’, only the idea is far from new. But they do revisit an interesting path that Republicans must take.
In April 2010, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spoke at the South Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans and said that Republicans needed to become the Party of Yes.
Today the question is “Can Jeff Sessions lead his fellow Republicans to become the ‘yes’ party?”
One rock that Republicans need to kick over is that at one time there was a difference between the Democratic party and liberals. Looking at the Democratic party as far back as 1950, or as recently as 1990, not all Democrats were mainstream liberals.
In fact, few were.
Today, few Democrats lean toward the center, staying firmly to left the with party ideology of big business, entitlements and a do-as-I-say administration. Only recent actions by the Obama Adminstration that have his poll numbers at historical lows may have Liberal Democrats moving away from Obama.
Even as Republicans have moved farther right, they have combated the very things most dear to a liberal’s big-government, welfare-loving heart.
Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is saying that Republicans need to unite around those things they can lead on — a balanced budget and approval of items such as the Keystone XL pipeline, or the repeal of the medical equipment tax.
Republican party leaders need to find items that they can realistically support, that will get them voter support, and that will create unity at the highest levels of the party in order to gain seats in the fall mid-term elections.
And they don’t have a lot of time once they return to session.
Items such as immigration, which Republicans would like to see changes in, need to be set aside until there is a larger consensus in the House and Senate. Recent world events have moved the issue of immigration from the media’s front burner to the warmer.
Republicans are favoring a more measured approach toward immigration, which is supported by the majority of Americans, versus a broad-brush and sweeping amnesty for all.
It’s a matter of simply defining party priorities, versus individual agendas.
“We need to change our mentality,” said Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican. “Because we have been in the minority, some people are used to saying no. We need to find something we can say yes to, something that advances our agenda.”
And that means some elected officials may need to accept defeat in some hard-line districts in order to achieve success in the future. It is unrealistic to think that every demand can be met; by attempting to do so and holding to that hard line, they are ensuring the party’s defeat.
Swing states like Illinois, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are particularly vulnerable for the Republicans. They have a very short period of time once they get back in September to show that they can get the job, any job, done.
One item that they can send forward is a budget, a sore spot for people both inside and outside the Beltway. Sessions says Republicans need to come together on a budget; failure is not an option if the GOP is to be a party of leaders.
For that budget to balance will require the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget to identify more than $5 trillion in reduction over the next decade.
“We have to be better informed about what is cuttable and what is not,” Mr. Sessions said. “This idea that the government cannot take reductions in spending is ludicrous, and the American people know that.”
Part of the strategy will be to send measures that already have bi-partisan support, but that have been sidelined on Capitol Hill to the president. In addition to Keystone XL and the medical device tax repeal, other items include exporting of natural gas and changing the definition of “full-time” work from 30 to 40 hours per week.
Another popular measure Republican can get behind is the Veteran’s Employment bill.
Republicans have battled and defeated Tea Party candidates in two important elections, Tennessee (Lama Alexandar) and Kansas (Pat Roberts). A recent poll of registered voters by NBC/WSJ/Marist showed that registered voters are favoring Republicans over Democrats by a slight lead – 43 to 31 percent with a 16 percent undecided.
A recent Gallup survey shows Jewish voters leaning toward Republicans, in large part because of the Administration’s response to the conflict in Israel. A Pew Poll asking who was responsible for the violence was almost evenly split — 29 percent blaming Hams, 26 percent blaming Israel.
Republican voters, however, held Hamas responsible over Israel by 60 to 13 percent.
Speaking to The Hill, Noam Neusner, who worked for President George W. Bush as a liaison to the Jewish community said:
“The bigger issue is not whether the Obama administration imposes a cease-fire on Israel or not. The bigger issue is with the Democratic Party electorate, namely academic elites, African-Americans and younger voters.
As those blocs of voters become more skeptical of Israel’s right to defend itself — and that seems to be happening — that is going to make American Jews who are Democratic Party voters less comfortable in their own party.”