With the primaries nearly done and the November matchups clearly taking shape, I think there are a couple of simple messages / strategies for the Repblicans.
- Related to the Ground Zero mosque, I believe that until they cancel plans to build it in its current location, this will continue to be an issue through election day. However, the GOP should not make this about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. I don’t like his comments about the US being an “accessory” to 9/11, but he is incidental to this story. It’s not about him. It’s about the building itself. I don’t care who was proposing that building, it should not be in that location. Muslim terrorists around the world will see a building at that site as a victory nearly a decade after bringing down the twin towers. The more the candidates and GOP pundits make it about Rauf, the more they play into the elitist talking points about this being a matter of religious persecution and Islamophobia.
- Republicans should not touch questions regarding the recent poll that showed 18% of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim (up from previous poll of 11%). MSM is also trying to turn that story into one of Islamophobia and GOP-induced fear mongering. Republicans should not feed into this and should not allow MSM to bait them. If asked, they should just say, “The President says he is Christian, and I’ll take him at his word.”
- I’ve seen a number of stories showing that Democrats who are up for re-election are running away from Obama and his agenda. Republicans should attack this strategy aggressively. “Beware the Democrat who runs to the right.” If the health care fight taught us anything it was that, when push comes to shove, Nancy and Harry will force their iron will upon their members. The Dems will vote the way they are told to vote.
- Regarding Obama’s economic car metaphor of Republicans having driven the economy into a ditch and now wanting the keys back, Republicans need to challenge his timeline. He will always bring up the eight Bush years. However, his party took over Congress in January 2007. We went into recession in December 2007. So they definitely had one firm hand on the proverbial economic steering wheel for Bush’s last two years, but few pundits ever bring this up. If Democrats want to claim that the damage had already been done at that point, Republicans should ask if they were that charitable in March 2001. Bush came into office in late January 2001 and we went into recession that March. Democrats instantly blamed that on Bush, ignoring that it is impossible to drive an economy into recession in 1.5 months. Would current Democrats admit that Bush, dare I say, “inherited” a recession from Bill Clinton?
- Republicans need to defang the Dems predictable class warfare strategy (e.g. – trying to roll back the Bush tax cuts on the top two tax brackets). Republicans should emphasize the entire populace is in this economic environment together and we make no progess by playing favorites (like say, the unions and the benefits they got from auto bailouts, stimulus, etc.).
- Put some meat on those bones. Keep it simple but come together with some cohesive plans that you can roll out across the country. If you make it all about Obama, Nancy, and Harry’s agenda you play into the “party of no” mantra.
- Keep Michael Steele on the sidelines. I’m sorry Michael. I’ve tried giving you the benefit of the doubt time and time again, but your equivocation of the Arizona immigration law this week was the last straw. You’re not helping the cause.