Last year, I showed up at my Young Republican meeting with copies of Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future.” My concern with local politics is that it’s too much patronage and not enough policy, and I thought the “Roadmap” would be a good way to spark a conversation with anyone interested enough it reading it. Sure enough, little by little, I’ve been converting quite a number of Paul Ryan fans.
The rub is that GOP leadership seems to be afraid to adapt any big ideas. We discussed this in a previous post; the old guard wants to just run against the Democrats, the new guard knows that doing so will only go so far without fresh ideas of our own. Ryan’s “Roadmap” is aboot as bold an idea as they come.
This was highlighted recently in the Weekly Standard, where Fred Barnes gave three reasons why the GOP should run on it in 2010. Number three I felt was most important…
The third reason is the Republican message (or the absence of one). In Pennsylvania, it was “send a message to Nancy Pelosi.” Voters declined. I like the Republican slogan that worked so well in 1946—“Had enough?” But a slogan is not a message. The Road Map is a message. The country is falling apart, we’re going broke, government is on a takeover binge, the economy is wobbling. The Road Map is the solution. That’s a pretty good message.
Those who tremble at the thought of pushing a big idea should remember the campaign of 1980. Reagan, who for years had warned of the evils of government spending and overreach, suddenly became the champion of an across the board, 30 percent cut in tax rates for individuals and business.
That was very risky. The elder George Bush called it “voodoo economics.” Democrats were certain the whopping tax cut would turn the country against Reagan. Quite the opposite occurred. Reagan would have defeated Jimmy Carter without it, but not by the 10 percentage points he actually won by. The tax cut showed Reagan was serious about reviving the economy and not at all a weakling like Carter.
For more on the Roadmap for America’s Future, click here.