As the campaign continues and the fortunes of both parties change in a blink, there is one pressing question that remains for many American voters. What does Mitt Romney stand for? What do Republicans stand for? And how do they want to put their principles in place?
We all know what Obama and the Democrats advocate. Larger government, more spending, more red tape, higher taxes, and continued corruption and mismanagement in Washington. Although they disguise them very nicely (so that some people are actually fooled by the glittery words like "investment" and "insourcing"), their plans have already been exposed by their deeds. The ultimate result of their big-government policies: more debt, fewer jobs. Americans are tired of them.
However, they are also able to run against cardboard cut-outs of the Republican Party. Few Americans actually know what the Republican Party proposes, other than vague commitments to "cut spending" and "cut taxes". This is a result of our party's failure to lay out clear alternatives to the Democrats' policies, and when we actually have alternatives, we fail to publicize them and make our case to the American people. It puts us at risk of being accussed of wishing to "cut Medicare", "offer tax breaks for fat cats", "cut aid for women's health", and "blow a hole in the deficit". These are of course simply untrue, but we are not challenging the perception, and comments like Mitch McConnell's (30 million people losing insurance if Obamacare is repealed- a phony number, by the way, are "not the issue") do not help.
It's time for us to define our plans and defend them on our own terms. This is the only way to control the narrative. Yes, we must continue to attack the Democrats' incompetence, but Republicans must also be willing to unite behind a consensus, common-sense Conservative framework for governance. Put out clear, coherent, and constructive plans, package them, and sell them to the American people in a concise way. We cannot afford to fuel the perception that we are the "Party of No", not least because that is untrue- what we have are a President and a Senate of No. They have opposed common-sense bills proposed by Republicans, and have made no effort to find common ground. However, most Americans don't know that those bills existed in the first place. A package of our plans, that includes the principles and proposals in these bills, will offer a stark contrast with the Democrats, which Americans haven't seen yet.
Let us follow the example of parties in the Commonwealth. Put out a plan. It can be a contract, a pledge, a blueprint, a roadmap, a manifesto, a platform, a white paper, anything. Just show Americans our plan. Give them a reason to believe in the Republican Party, and to believe in America's future. This election is a referendum on Obama, but in referendums, people make choices as well. And in this referendum, they must have a choice between two visions, not a choice between two vacuums.
Let us be the Party of Common-Sense Ideas and Real World Solutions to Real World Problems once again.