Monday, May 19, 2008

Really, Voters Want MORE Republican Policies

The GOP's Socially Conservative wing refuses to acknowledge just how unpopular their policies and ideas are for the majority of voters, which will make their upcoming political woes even more devastating.

Now is NOT the time to be running as the reddest of Republicans.

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May 20, 2008

House Conservatives to Offer Ideas for G.O.P. Message


WASHINGTON — Conservative Republicans in the House plan to urge their colleagues to rally behind a new manifesto that mixes antispending initiatives and tighter restrictions on government benefits as the party seeks a fresh message after a string of election defeats.

Leaders of the Republican Study Committee intend to use a closed-door party meeting on Tuesday to present a seven-point proposal calling for a constitutional limit on federal spending, a new simplified income tax alternative and a proposal to require recipients of food stamps or housing aid to meet work requirements.

“Clearly, we have been sobered by three special election losses in a row,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, chairman of the group of more than 100 Republican lawmakers. “We are sobered by the massive cash advantage that Democrats have to get their message out.”

Mr. Hensarling said that getting off the political defensive would “take unity, and it is going to take unity behind a handful of messages.”

The proposal from the group of conservatives is likely to be just one of the ideas circulated at the session as Republicans look for ways to right themselves heading into what is promising to be a difficult election year.

The party leadership in the House has already begun to roll out its own agenda under the rubric “The Change You Deserve,” but some lawmakers have said the party needs to be more aggressive. Others are skeptical about overreacting to the elections or embracing too strong a conservative theme.

A spokeswoman for Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the No. 2 Republican in the House, said the leadership was open to constructive suggestions from lawmakers.

“It’s healthy and good for our members to weigh in and put forward ideas,” said the spokeswoman, Antonia Ferrier. “That’s how we get the energy leading into November.”

Several Republicans have said it is not their goal to force changes in the House leadership team. Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader, said Sunday that he intended to remain in his position.

Some of the ideas from the conservatives have been circulating for months, including an immediate moratorium on seeking money for the pet home-state projects known as earmarks. But other Republicans have rejected that idea, arguing it is a chief responsibility of representatives to win federal aid for local initiatives.

A draft of the conservative agenda calls for the endorsement of a constitutional amendment to prohibit federal spending from growing faster than the economy except in times of war or national emergency. The plan seeks support for an income tax overhaul that would provide a simplified flat tax and allow people to choose between it and the current system.

The conservative proposal seeks tax credits for buying health insurance, more domestic energy production and a streamlined terrorist surveillance program. The draft also said that House Republicans should extend existing welfare work requirements to food stamps and housing assistance “so that those who are not old, young or disabled are either working in the private sector or serving in their community.”

Mr. Hensarling said his group was emphasizing fiscal policy because polls and recent electoral experience showed that voters viewed Republicans as having strayed too far from the party’s tradition on spending restraint. That approach could also mesh with the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the party’s presumed nominee, who has made his opposition to excessive federal spending a central theme.

“We have to get back to our core identity,” Mr. Hensarling said, adding that “there is work to be done.”



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