by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If congressional Republicans want to get anything accomplished in the next two years, they’ll have to adopt a new strategy. That’s the advice Steve Forbes offers in the latest issue of Forbes magazine.
Republicans could adopt several new approaches that over time would turn the tide.
The debt ceiling. Forget about achieving big cuts or entitlement reform. Instead come up with a list of egregious or duplicative government programs. One example, of literally thousands, is that there are, according to the Government Accountability Office, 94 federal initiatives to encourage “green building” in the private sector, all run by 11 different agencies. The changes here won’t amount to much, but they’ll start educating the public as to how many crazy things our central government is engaged in and will graphically portray how wasteful Washington is with the people’s money. Extend the ceiling for, say, 45 to 60 days, and then come back with another list of eye-rolling items.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich came up with a good idea: List a number of the most ludicrous offices (and, thus, programs) and have the public vote on the worst ten that should be eliminated. It’s an easy thing to set up in this electronic age and would quickly engage voter interest. A similar approach could bear fruit in the sequestration fight.
At the same time House Republicans should pass bills that will put them on the side of the angels and put the Democrats in an uncomfortable defensive position.