Jan 23 2015
As Republicans reflect on what to do with our largest congressional majority since 1929, we must ask ourselves: how did we get here, and what must be done to get to where we want to be?
Two years ago, many believed that Republicans in Washington had lost their way. And in certain crucial respects we had.
Following the discouragement and frustration of the 2012 election, there was a deep sense of distrust between the American people and their elected officials in Washington that was mirrored by a lack of trust between Republican elites and the conservative base of the party.
Yet Republicans had no choice but to reunite in opposition to the excesses and abuses of a president no longer constrained by, or concerned with, elections. Two years later, we’ve come a long way. we won a historic victory – now we have to earn truly it.
Moving from a divided to a united Congress is an important step toward – but not a substitute for – reunifying the Republican Party around a positive, conservative reform agenda. Now is the time to turn our congressional majority into a national mandate. To do that we must elevate ideas over personalities, choose open debate over backroom politics, and perhaps most importantly reconnect Republicans in Congress with the American people.
The President clearly has little interest in reforming dysfunctional government policies that are holding back America’s working families, propping up well-connected elites, and keeping the most vulnerable mired in poverty. With his sights firmly set on 2016, the President intends to spend the next two years defending old ideas and failed policies.
This presents a unique opportunity for Republicans to develop and promote real solutions to America’s opportunity deficit and devote ourselves to advancing a bold, conservative reform agenda in Congress over the next two years.
Republicans in Congress have proposed thoughtful and creative reforms to our higher education, tax, welfare, transportation, labor, and criminal justice systems – all of which aim to level the economic playing field for low- and middle-income Americans.
But if you talk to most people outside of Washington, they’ve never heard of these bills.
With unified control over Congress, Republicans now have the ability – and I would say the responsibility – to make their case directly to the American people, by debating and voting on the conservative alternatives to the failed status quo.
There’s no doubt that many of our reforms will be stopped short of becoming law – either by the President or Democrats in Congress – but this should not lead us to inaction. We must embrace every debate and every vote as an opportunity to persuade the American people, by drawing bold contrasts between the merits of our reforms and the failed policies of the Left.
Building a mandate for our agenda is the only way that we can reach our ultimate objective: to restore dynamism and fairness to our economy, accountability and competency to our government, and equal opportunity to every corner of our society.
Reunify the Republican Party, reconnect with the people, and restore equal opportunity to those hardworking Americans who have been left behind for too long – this is the only path to success. As I see it, this is not only good for Republicans, but good for the country. This is the way to honor our principles and return to a government of, by, and for the people.