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Our first event of the day was a meeting with RNC chair Ken Mehlman, who reviewed the strategy for the GOP in the upcoming electoral cycle. He opened the conference with some background remarks and then dove into the specifics of electoral and legislative strategy and took a number of questions from the assorted bloggers here at the RNC Blogger Forum.
I'll post this and update as we go ....
1. Positive agenda for change -- Defending the status quo won't do.
Need to be seen as reformers -- leadership already turning towards that. We need a smaller government to combat this kind of corruption. Reduce government, reduce corruption. But then how do we reform lobbying and government? Full and quicker disclosure. Keep in mind that what Jack Abramoff did was theft and kickbacks, and that should always be aggressively prosecuted.
2. Election is a choice, not a referendum -- Easier than in 2004, and that probably gets back into local choices.
3. Motivate and persuade simultaneously -- Still have to excite the base while finding new voters for the GOP.
Immigration will prove a major problem for motivating the base. Need more money, technology, and people at the border. "If you're not protecting the border, you're not protecting the country in a post-9/11 world." Guest-worker programs enforce the law; supply and demand disincentivizes people from following the law. We need to integrate the demand into the reform to leverage as much support as possible.
4. Remind people who the Democrats are.
5. Run better local campaigns
Entitlements are the true long-term economic problem, not deficits; the short-term deficit is only 2.6% of the GDP. However, our unfunded liabilities from Medicare and other programs threaten our long-term fiscal stability. We need entitlement reform based on market economics and ownership. Mehlman uses Medicare as a model, and he acknowledges Social Security came first because it already had bipartisan support.
Why are energy prices high? More global competition for energy means prices will go higher, unless more supply comes on line. People looking for higher taxes do not understand that this is a market issue, simple supply and demand.
Alito -- higher qualifications than anyone in 70 years. An outrageous effort to smear Judge Alito --"[Nan Aron] is the puppet master, and the Democrats are the puppets." The Vanguard issue has been repeatedly reviewed by ethics panels and found to be no problem. The ABA rating gets based on ethics, and Vanguard obviously formed part of that evaluation -- and he got the highest qualification unanimously.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to invest in California; one can disagree with some of the specifics, but Mehlman believes that the Governator is working towards a positive result in California. On Susan Kennedy, Mehlman says that she is a "professional" and notes that strategy gets set by the leader and implemented by the professionals. He says Kennedy will work on Arnold's behalf, and not on her own agenda. He points to her market-based approach with her work on energy issues in California.
Mehlman fully supports Mike Pence and Operation Offset. The most important thing we can do in the long run, Mehlman says, is to eliminate single-payor systems in public policy and replace them with market-based solutions. "The Left hates monopolies in the private sector but loves them in the public sector." Conservatives should be the party of markets in both arenas.Sphere It View blog reactions
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