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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Conservative's Political Wish List For 2014.

Brad Cummings | A conservative's political wish list for 2014

My home has been overflowing with Christmas cheer this season. Along with the usual decorations and accoutrement, my wife and I have managed to watch nearly every Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel (or HMC for us true fans). Television ratings say I’m far from alone. In fact, I’d be willing to bet the only difference between you and me is that I’m actually willing to admit I’ve watched “Annie Claus Is Coming To Town” ... twice.

There is a nostalgic appeal to these kinds of movies. They embrace the magic of the season, often relying on miracles to solve problems. They teach that with a little Christmas Spirit, anything is possible. And they show the importance of making a list for Santa Claus. How else is he to deliver us the gifts we hope for each year? And so in the spirit of these cinematic masterpieces, I thought I’d share my political wish list for 2014.

• A Republican Majority in the Senate — We have been unable to pass a conservative agenda through Capitol Hill for years now and with good reason. As it is often said, elections have consequences. In 2014, we need fewer Ted Cruz filibusters and more energy pointed toward winning elections across the country. The electoral map is opening up to give Republicans a real shot at taking back the Senate with tight races in traditionally blue states like Michigan and Iowa showing signs of a shift to the right due largely to the unpopular rollout of the president’s health care law. Let’s resolve to not put up unelectable candidates as has been done in the recent past.

This Christmas, I’m asking Santa for Republicans to follow the old William F. Buckley rule of electing the most conservative candidate who can win. Those who discount the importance of winning elections are destined to stay in the political hell that is controlling only one half of one branch of government. I’d rather have coal in my stocking.

• A Clearly Communicated Republican Health Care Plan to Replace Obamacare — A variety of conservative alternatives to the Affordable Care Act were pushed to the side during the left’s unprecedented march off this policy cliff. But our job as conservatives is always harder because the mainstream media do not care to help our cause. (Can you imagine the enema reporters would have given the GOP if we had passed a similar law?) But with new forms of media often driving the political discussion nationally, we can show the American people we aren’t “The Party of No” by not just being against this failed health care plan but by offering a real solution to this problem.

There are now more people without health insurance in the U.S. than when the ACA was officially implemented in October. A major piece in a Republican victory for 2014 will be the ability for the GOP to lay out a health care message that solves the problems created by this disastrous law. A good communication strategy coupled with common-sense policy will likely put the Republican lawmakers on the nice list.

• A President who Learns the Power of Unity — President Obama famously believed he would have a cooling off of the political rancor in 2013 after his victory in the 2012 election. But when he claims your unifying principle “is making sure that 30 million people don’t have health care,” how can our president believe anything of substance be accomplished with this attitude toward his brothers and sisters whose only difference is the path they see to solve our nation’s problems?

Believing your political opponent is that evil makes compromise nearly impossible. Think of the last time you responded to vicious accusations with the spirit of generosity. President Obama must change his rhetoric in 2014 or he faces the very real possibility of being a two-termer without a major accomplishment during his tenure. That would truly be a Christmas miracle.

• A Concentration on Economic Policy — Nothing divides like a good old-fashioned conversation about social hot plates like abortion or gay marriage. We tend to hold very strong and uncompromising views on these issues. When we lead with them, we often run the risk of cutting our target audience in half or worse. Instead, I’m asking Santa for a Republican Party that knows its strength is in economic policy.

A balanced budget is an 80 percent issue. Entitlement reform that allows programs like Social Security and Medicare to thrive beyond our children’s and their children’s generations is an 80 percent issue. Not sacking those future generations with crippling debt is an 80 percent issue. Stay in the 80 percent and this time next year, Republicans will be knocking down some serious egg nog.

Brad Cummings is COO of PM Advertising, and he previously served as Jefferson County Republican Party chairman. His column appears every third Wednesday. He can be reached atbradford.cummings @gmail.com

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