Newt Gingrich wrote a very good op/ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal “Which Bipartisanship Will Bush Choose?” asking which path President Bush will take in the final two years of his presidency:
If President Bush decides to govern as President Reagan did, he will work to unify the Blue Dog Democrats with the Republicans to win a handful of very large victories while accepting a constant barrage of unhappiness from the liberal leadership. That is what conservative bipartisanship is like. If on the other hand, President Bush decides on an establishment strategy of cooperating with the liberal leadership, he will guarantee splitting his own party and will see his legacy drift further and further to the left as the Pelosi-Reid wing of their party demands more and more concessions.
One thing Mr. Gingrich didn’t mention is a balanced budget spending limitation pay-go. This is the single most important initiative the GOP can take right now. It would rule out tax hikes and force deeper budget savings with a targeted date for a balanced budget—similar to what the Republican Congress did in 1997.
I still believe this spending limitation pay-go is the keystone to Republican recovery. It would send a strong, limited government, low tax message to disaffected Republicans and independents (read Ross Perot voters).
It would also end the counter productive experiment known as big government conservatism.
Polls show an overwhelming majority of respondents believe government should do less and be smaller. This message was completely missing from Republican election strategy and it cost them dearly in the November 7th vote.
It should be a mantra and a rallying cry for Republican reform and strategy. And it should begin right now.
Senators Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, John Kyl and others could get moving on this in the Senate right away. It would show that the GOP understands the election returns and is taking action in a key area.
This spending limitation pay-go could also be tied to budget earmark reform. This would get to the corruption issue—another GOP failing in the past election.
A balanced budget spending limitation at low tax rates would be a strong growth measure as well as a significant political step.