I believe it has become clear over the past two-plus years that the focus on debt reduction has not worked as planned. We have gotten very little debt reduction, including literally no reduction in projected entitlement spending - the primary driver of future deficits. Given that this has been, if not the sole national legislative priority, the highest national legislative priority for the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement, this is a frustrating defeat. It's time to face some tough facts if we care to save our country from a debt crisis. It's also imperative if we care about limited government and traditional American politics.
I submit three conclusions:
1. The focus on Deficit Reduction since 2010, entirely motivated by Republican energy, has not reduced our debt trajectory.
2. The focus on Deficit Reduction since 2010 has not assisted Republicans or Conservatives in taking the Senate or the White House - the dramatic decline in Republican, Conservative, and Tea Party approval ratings since Nov. 2010 suggests that the focus on Deficit Reduction focus has only harmed the standings of these three groups.
3. The focus on Deficit Reduction has not communicated Conservative values in a persuasive way to anyone not already likely to vote Republican.
Continuing along the same path for another 2-4 years could bury the Conservative Movement.
Ask yourself: Does Conservatism stand for anything beyond reducing aggregate government health care spending without any increase in marginal tax rates?
... because, that's Conservatism to many, especially younger, Americans - and it's not a very persuasive stance.
Without winning the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016 we simply can not reduce future deficits (Entitlement Reform) without raising taxes. This is simple fact.
So what are we accomplishing by fighting this fight? Because I don't see anything of value. I do see, however, that Republicans, Conservatives, and the Tea Party's standing in public opinion polls crater. Which does not augur well for winning the Senate in 2014 (regardless of the map) or the White House in 2016.
We need a new emphasis, we need a new message - we need new priorities. We owe it to ourselves and our nation.