Why? You might ask.
Democrats will attempt to spin this to indicate that the Republicans are secretly hoping for the economy to tank so they can regain control in 2010. So the difficult task for the Republicans is to present remaining steadfast against the stimulus, but still favoring economic growth and recovery in such a way that the American people can embrace it.
Three hurdles we must jump are
- The stimulus package will probably not work to stimulate the economy in any significant way.
- The economy will likely grow in spite of the stimulus.
- The Democrats will attempt to take credit for any growth that occurs in the economy over the next two years.
1. Control the Language, Control the Debate
We need to pick a better name for the Stimulus package because it inherently sounds like a good thing. (Think of "The Fairness Doctrine;" it sounds like something anyone would favor.) We have tried to do this to some extent already. Rush Limbaugh referred to it as "porkulus" and John McCain called it the "Generational Theft Act."
These might be good for rallying the conservative base, but they sound like political weaponry. In order to win we need to refer to the stimulus package in terms that are less combative, but sound like something the American people would feel compelled to oppose.
A few suggestions might be "The 2009 Obama Spending Bill" or "The $1 Trillion Spending Package." We need to find a term that is accurate in its description, but doesn't carry the good-feeling sound of "stimulus" with it.
This is, of course, in addition to explaining why and how the 2009 Spending Bill failed to substantially stimulate the market. Which leads me to...
2. Explain How the 2009 Spending Bill Failed
In all likelihood the economy will have begun its natural turn-around in 2010, which the democrats will claim as a victory for the 2009 Spending Bill.
Republicans need a way to show how the turn-around was due to normal market fluctuation and not to the massive amount of government spending. Granted, this will not be easy to accomplish, but I think there is a three step plan for implementing this portion as well.
a. Highlight sectors of the economy that were given money from the 2009 Spending Bill that saw economic losses. (i.e. find the portions of the economy that received government money, but did not post growth or substantial growth)
b. Highlight sectors of economy that were not given money from the Spending Bill that saw economic growth. This will be easier said than done considering the $790 billion touched almost every area of the economy, but there will certainly be places that this is the case.
c. Explain precisely and concisely how tax cuts would have helped us recover more quickly. Use history and current data to prove the point. And show how businesses who are over-burdened with taxes cannot continue to grow at the same rate as businesses who are unencumbered can.
3. Be Positive!
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana states in this interview that we need to "stop trying to defeat something with nothing." And I think he said more than he intended with this. We have to offer real solutions to the problems that face America.
Instead of constantly stating that the liberal positions just "won't work" we must offer up real and contemporary solutions. Attacks on the other are okay, but they need to be met with substance. If they are not, attacks just appear desperate. Not sure? Think "Bill Ayers."
America has some very real challenges ahead of us, but I believe conservative principles that are well-defined and well-explained can help illustrate that conservatism, free markets, and personal liberty are the compassionate solutions for an ailing nation.
I believe if we do these things we can begin to win the PR battle that will be ramping up in the next few months, and America can see the real stances held by the Republican party instead of the liberal/media spin that has defined us in the minds of many Americans.
We are the party of Lincoln, who freed the slaves. We are the party of Eisenhower who made the first steps of the civil rights movement despite staunch opposition from democrats in congress. We are the party of Reagan who pulled us out of the worst recession since the Great Depression and won the Cold War. We are the party that can lead this nation to greatness for years ahead!