Quin Hillyer outlines in a National Review Online column how conservatives on Capitol Hill ought to pursue policy improvements — big and small. Hillyer starts by recounting a conversation with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

“I’m excited about the opportunity finally to move bills through both the House and the Senate, and put them on the president’s desk, that will get our economy moving again and spending under control,” Scalise says. “We have to be smart about having an aggressive first-hundred-days plan where we are moving bills through to the president’s desk that are good conservative policy that have populist appeal. Things like the Keystone Pipeline [note: approved yet again by the House this past Friday]. People across the country want to see it happen, and yet the Senate’s been blocking it.

“Then there’s a lot of other good economic policy, much of it energy-related. Getting into some of these regulations that are killing jobs in America. People are seeing more and more of these destructive policies from agencies like the EPA and the IRS and others that are not only costing us jobs that are being shipped to other countries, but they are increasing the cost of things like higher electricity prices because of some of these policies that make no sense. So, bills to rein some of that in, that actually have bipartisan support: You can get those to the president’s desk. . . . Put those bills on Barack Obama’s desk where he finally has to make some tough decisions.”

Then came the best specifics: “Of course, getting into the health-care law, there are a lot of things that can make it to his desk that he will have a tough time vetoing — starting with a bill to hold him to his campaign promise that was broken, [that] if you like what you have, you can keep it. [We need] the bill that says anybody who’s got a health-care plan they like, some unelected bureaucrat can’t take it away from them because of Obamacare. If that bill’s on his desk, what does he do with it? How can he veto a bill that actually enshrines into law his most broken promise of his presidency?”

Scalise has the right idea. Don’t pick “wedge issues” that might enjoy 52 or 53 percent support; find ones where at least 60 percent of the public supports the conservative principles in the bill at issue, or ones that promote our principles while putting Obama in awkward spots. Choose our fights. Find issues where conservatism and populism are one and the same, and do those first and most prominently.

It’s nice to see some focus on tackling the problem of government overspending.