Paul Ryan is a smart man, and probably represents the mainstream thinking of the Republican Party, though like every ambitious politician he likes to position himself as a critic of the crowd. But In a recent interview with Matthew Continetti Ryan started out well by complaining about the GOP consultant class. “The consultant class always says play it safe, choose a risk-averse strategy. I don’t think we have the luxury of doing that.” But then when called on to provide a non-risk averse strategy he comes up with this: “We need to treat people like adults by offering them alternatives.” But what Republican consultant would tell his candidate not to offer alternative policies and ideas? There is none.
Every Republican thinks that offering a positive vision and new policies is the key to winning elections. Of course sometimes, as in the midterms this fall, the Democrats have screwed up so big that they are practically handing Republicans a victory. Just don’t count on it for 2016. In fact, Ryan embraces the conventional GOP wisdom: “The only way we beat an Obama third term is to offer a spirited alternative and bring it up to a crescendo where we’re really giving the country a very clear choice of policies and ideas.”
I wouldn’t bet on it. You can’t give the country a clear choice of policies and ideas when the Democrats are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to label you racists, sexists, homophobes enemies of the poor, selfish and uncaring. If Republicans are to win national elections they have to come up with an answer to these attacks. And the only answer is a counter-attack. I’ve laid out the basis for an effect counter-attack in my new book Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan For Defeating the Left (Regnery 2014). But I’m not holding my breath that Republicans will embrace the strategy I recommend. More likely they will go into the next national election like crash-dummies as they usually do.
When you examine the Democrat attacks they are all moral indictments: racist, uncaring, anti-woman, selfish. In contrast, Republicans criticize Democrats for having unworkable policies. Who do you think is going to win this debate? If a voter thinks someone is a racist, how seriously are they going to take his policy ideas? The same reaction awaits candidates who are seen as selfish defenders of the greedy rich, namely, Republicans.
What’s the …read more