A GOP "Surfing" Strategy towards American Greatness: A Six-Point Plan
In another week, Americans will vote, hoping to pull our nation out of its overlong malaise—the Obama-generated malaise. Real progress can be achieved only if the Democrats’ hold on the Senate is broken.
You’ve no doubt noticed looming over the TV anchors’ shoulders all that scaffolding now obscuring our magnificent Capitol building in order to repair earthquake and other damage accruing over the years. It’s an excellent metaphor.
The Capitol architects, unencumbered by politics, took it upon themselves to fix the dome and all its physical supports because it was their job, not because they were in a holding pattern until the next election or protecting the president’s agenda. American voters, likewise, see that those who conduct business under the dome won’t fix themselves. On November 4, the voters will rise to the occasion.
Over the past six years, my House Republican colleagues, contrary to media-generated perceptions, have passed bill after bill to move the country forward, only to see their efforts stymied in Harry Reid’s Senate. Now they expect a wave to carry them to vindication by increasing their majority in the lower house and to win the Senate.
As optimistic as they are, Republicans cannot just coast to victory. They must surf. They are going to have to paddle with all their strength to catch the waves, showing the world they have style and are in control. They must impress on the electorate that they still have imaginative ideas that will move our country forward. The Democrats sit aimlessly, treading water, going nowhere, waiting for Hillary to summon their energy.
What happens next Tuesday will set the stage for the 2016 presidential sweepstakes. The last great malaise, the era with which the word is most associated, defined the Jimmy Carter presidency, especially its last two years. That’s when Republicans successfully defined themselves as “the party of ideas,” making the way for that most simpatico of candidates, Ronald Reagan.
My old boss spoke confidently and prophetically about the new bounty that would come to America, ultimately to the world, by simplifying the grossly complex tax code. But we’ve been serving up leftovers from the Reagan years for too long. Time to offer some new approaches.
Consistent with President Reagan’s firm beliefs in limited government and free markets, his GOP legatees can most assuredly prompt American voters to think cheerfully about Republicans again. But a few things will be needed in order to do that.
1. An Employee Empowerment Initiative:
Republicans, self-described as the party of job creation, must decouple from the boss-worker model. Young Americans dream of personal accomplishments, big and small, but they cannot all be bosses unless they follow a more collaborative model.
American workers should not be taxed on stock in the companies included in their compensation. They should be escalated into the ranks of owners. Likewise, capital-gains taxes should be eliminated if an employee keeps company stock for more than twenty years.
These reforms would move American laborers and job-creators closer to a paradigm that achieves socialist objectives without state control of production and distribution. A good place to start: the U.S. Postal Service. Let’s give postal workers the assets needed to provide a model.
2. A Competition-Plus-Cooperation Initiative:
Republicans should reaffirm the creative role of credit unions, farm co-ops and other examples of cooperation consistent with a free market.
We can facilitate the sharing of capital in struggling urban communities to buy homes, in rural areas to purchase farm equipment, even in those “creative class” neighborhoods where people promote healthier foods and lifestyles. Volunteer organizations, service clubs, Alcoholics Anonymous, Boys and Girls Clubs and the like can play larger roles in the restoration of their communities, sparking a new American optimism.
3. An Affordable Security Initiative:
The Grand Old Party must come to grips with the reality that Pax Americana is unaffordable. We can lead, but we can no longer carry the load. We must have a strategy that gives us a positive global presence, but not one built on maintaining garrisons around the world. The Reagan Doctrine of assisting local, pro-freedom insurgents to overcome tyrannical regimes was then and is today the most effective way of defending against an enemy that threatens our safety.
The corollary to this is, of course, to mobilize willing state leaders to combat terrorism and become proactive in that fight. Leaders such as Abe in Japan, Modi in India, and, yes, Putin in Russia—maybe even Assad in Syria—can be major factors in defending their interests against today’s terrorists. (If FDR allied with Stalin to defeat Hitler, and Nixon arranged a rapprochement with Mao Zedong, our generation can use the likes of Putin and Assad to secure our world from the monstrous threats that are all too evident.)
Let’s not be afraid to consider really imaginative alternatives. For example, we could create a new, deployable force with an updated equivalent of the French Foreign Legion, open to the world’s freedom-loving adventurers, to conduct dirty work on troubled grounds we wish to keep free of American boots. Somebody has to do it. Of course, eligibility for citizenship could be a reward for completion of service.
4. An Anti-Crony Capitalism Initiative: