If the election were held today, surveys suggest that Democrats would win the U.S. House and possibly even the Senate. Luckily for Republicans, Election Day is not today, but just under two weeks from now. Nonetheless, glum Republicans are so busy shopping for caskets that they cannot feel their own beating hearts. President Bush should energize Republican candidates and activists so they will stop the post-Mark Foley moping and go on offense.
Bush should change the subject, as only presidents can do. He needs to supersede the endless speculation about the size of Rep. Nancy Pelosi's "incoming Democratic majority." Such talk demoralizes the already dejected Republican base, which is why it has become a liberal incantation. Bush should electrify GOP politicians, volunteers, and voters alike by unveiling a cause around which to rally: expanded GOP House and Senate majorities that would adopt a pro-freedom agenda.
Bush immediately should invite every Republican Congressional incumbent and challenger to a White House pep talk. As cameras transmit his message, here's what he should say:
My fellow Republicans:
On November 7, our fellow Americans will decide who controls Congress through 2008. As they weigh their choices, they should hear none of us wallow in defeatism. Instead, they should hear our confident message: America needs more Republicans on Capitol Hill.
For weeks, Americans have been appropriately shocked by the Mark Foley scandal. Well, he's gone. Investigations are underway. And anyone who covered Foley's tracks will be gone, too, whoever that may be.
We now must look ahead and self-assuredly lead the American public.
We should be proud of an economy that booms because of our growth-oriented tax policies:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average trades above 12,000. Wall Street is bullish on America. The burgeoning Investor Class, the 53 percent of Americans who own stocks, is enjoying higher returns on mutual funds, IRAs, and 401Ks.
Unemployment is just 4.6 percent, a five-year low. Republican incentives have helped create 7 million new jobs since January 2001.
At 2.1 percent, 12-month inflation is tame.
Average gasoline prices hit $3.04 per gallon last summer. They now average $2.23, and are falling.
Fiscal Year 2006's deficit fell to $248 billion. When we pledged to halve FY 2004's $521 billion deficit by FY 2009, Democrats laughed. But, as we promised, tax cuts stimulated the economy, and revenues flooded the Treasury. We bisected the deficit three years early.
On security policy, confronting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, harnessing the Patriot Act and Terrorist Surveillance Program, and interrogating captured Islamofascists all have kept America free from terrorist attacks since September 11.
Nevertheless, my fellow Republicans, we have work to do:
We must win the War on Terror. While too many Democrats scorn the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, interrogation, and surveillance, our firm hand will crush the terrorists.
We must win the Afghan and Iraqi fronts in this war. Yes, we are sacrificing precious blood and treasure there. But waving a white flag in Iraq will merit our enemies' scorn and amplify their hatred.
We also must keep Iran and North Korea nuke-free.
At home, we must make our temporary tax cuts permanent.
The Death Tax, which will resurrect itself from 0 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2011, instead must stay buried, for good.
Left unchecked, the Alternative Minimum Tax could ensnare 30 million Americans by 2010, the Tax Foundation estimates. It demands immediate reform or repeal.
Taxes should be reduced and further simplified, so Americans can retain more of their earnings, and the U.S. can keep leading the world's economy. We should offer Americans a totally optional flat tax.
A line-item veto will help me restrain Congress' more excessive spending impulses.
Americans deserve patient-centered health-care reform, such as Arizona Republican Rep. John Shadegg's proposal to let consumers purchase medical insurance across state lines. Let's broaden Health Savings Accounts and encourage new medical plans of every stripe. Let a thousand policies bloom!
After the Supreme Court's disastrous Kelo v. New London decision, Americans correctly worry that eminent domain could be abused to hand their property to private parties for private purposes. Barring federal dollars from such schemes would discourage such outrages. A clarifying constitutional amendment might be in order.
Social Security still needs modernization. As Republican senators Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) propose, investing the Social Security surplus in voluntary personal accounts will shield it from congressional appropriators without jeopardizing a dime owed to current or future retirees.
These positive, visionary ideas will enhance American security and prosperity. I need even more Republicans to enact even better pro-freedom legislation. We can bolster our achievements by electing even more Republicans who share our Reaganesque philosophy.
We still have 11 days. I need you to explain our solid record and our optimistic ideas to America's voters. I will campaign non-stop with as many of you as would like — even challengers in long-shot races. We concede nothing to the Democrats.
If we widen our majorities, imagine what we can accomplish for the American people. If we maintain today's strength, we lose nothing. And if this bold strategy fails — though I believe it will succeed — we still will hold our heads high knowing we stood up and sang America a song about hope. That's what we do. After all, we're Republicans.
Deroy Murdock is a New York-based columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service.
By Deroy Murdock
Reprinted with permission from National Review Online