After years of frustration and months of feverish work, the Republican Party has finally won back the U.S. Senate, and with it, undivided control of Congress. But no sooner had Tuesday night’s balloon drops hit the floor than Republicans around the country—and especially in certain offices in Washington, DC—faced that timeless question of election-night winners: Now what?
This is never an easy question to answer, given the requisite balancing act between expectations and realities, politics and substance. And answering it could be especially difficult for the leaders of the new Republican Congress, for two additional reasons.
First, there is the still-strained relationship between the GOP’s Washington establishment and its grassroots conservative base. And second, the party establishment and consultant class chose to de-emphasize Republican policy alternatives during the campaign. So despite that strategy’s apparent success Tuesday night, our new majority cannot claim a sweeping legislative mandate.
But this question needs to be answered, nonetheless. And soon.
As a frequent critic of my party’s strategic timidity—and as incoming chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, whose job it is encourage bolder thinking and action—I thought it incumbent on me to offer some concrete, early, and hopefully constructive suggestions about how the new Republican Congress might be steered toward unity and success.
As the reader will see, the ideas below are not really policy goals. (I have my own ideas about what our party’s reform agenda ought to be, and I will spend most of the next two years advocating them.)
Rather, these are five suggestions to my Republican colleagues to help repair the dysfunctional legislative branch we have inherited, rebuild Congress’s reputation among the American people, and by extension slowly restore the public’s confidence in the Republican Party…