Everyone is busy telling the Republican Party what to do with its sweeping victory at the 2014 midterm elections. I might just as well add my voice to the chorus.
The Republicans have less than two years before the presidential elections of 2016 to display the agenda they never really articulated. We should not kid ourselves; elections are won at the margin; as the two last elections told us again, and the margins depend to a large extent on who shows up and who stays home. And, the Democratic Party is deeply anchored in his society. It will stage a come-back with different faces and pretend Mr Obama hardly ever existed. The liberal message: “Buy one with subsidies get five for free” will always appeal more than the stern and counterintuitive conservative economic message: “Let the market take care of it.” What will carry the future is a strong demonstration of the validity of conservative ideas. To serve this purpose, there are things to do immediately and things not to do for the time being. Here they are, by order of importance.
Write new legislation allowing the Key Stone pipeline with no conditions attached. It’s become a symbolic issue. Building it will have an immediate economic effect. It will also force the lame-duck president to choose between his satanic environmentalist supporters and the many pro-growth Democrats, including in labor unions.
Prepare a bill cutting all federal taxes, beginning with the corporate tax. Every one likes tax cuts as long as he gets his. The announcement of tax cuts alone would lift investment. Foreign investment would pour into this superior of Western economies. Implementation would jump-start growth. (Tax cuts are different in this respect from all forms of subsidies and of other stimuli which take a long time to work their way through rough the system and often never do.) Government revenue should increase too. If it does not, Republicans should not worry about it for a while. It will, eventually. In the meantime, adding a small amount to the deficit is not big deal. Americans have stopped counting. Let Mr Obama be the president who vetoed tax cuts and economic growth.
Give all federal regulatory agencies haircut. Begin with the Environmental Protection Agency because the absurdity of many of its decisions is well known of the public and because it restricts growth immediately. Also, this will divide up Democrats between economic growth partisans and Green Devils. (See above.) Right away, cut the Internal Revenue Service down to size. It’s the right thing to do as an intermediate step. Such a bureaucracy should not exist at all in a democracy but it will take more than two years to install the reform that will make it possible to get rid of it entirely. Note that Congress needs no presidential approval to cut funds to anything. At the very least, federal agencies’ budgets can be frozen. Let the president and Democrats defend the IRS!
However tempting it is to try and repeal it, Republicans should stay off Obama care for the next two years while expressing a wish to modify it deeply in due time. It’s a minefield because, already, many Americans who are in principle opposed to the sleigh-of- hand that is the so-called Affordable Care Act, like some portion of the act. In the short term, trying to destroy it is a recipe for becoming mired and for wasting one’s strength.
Immigration reform is necessary but it’s also a minefield. Republicans should mostly avoid it. Yet it’s an important and an emotional issue – rightly or wrongly (mostly wrongly, to my mind) – for many voters. A Republican Congress should prepare a bill freezing both deportations and all forms of amnesty, under any name. The same bill should give agricultural interests all the manpower they want under a temporary labor program, one with a sunset provision. It should give high-tech industries immediately all the high-level employees they wish to import from overseas. The economic value of such immigrants is well established, hardly open to discussion. Let Mr Obama veto a bill that stops deportation of illegal aliens, mostly Hispanics while denying essential and self-sustaining manpower to the most obviously flourishing sector of our industry.
Immediately multiply by ten the number of aerial sorties against ISIS (Islamic State) in Iraq and Syria. Wasting ammunition is not the worst possible outcome of this crisis. Simultaneously, multiply by five the financial and material aid to those anti-ISIS fighters we like and are able to vet. It may turn out that only various Kurdish groups pass the test. If that happens, so be it. The Iraqi government has proved itself not worth supporting. The Turkish position on Syria makes sense but Turkey has turned out to be a bad ally until now. No need for complicated justification to intensify the struggle against ISIS. The fact that they assassinated Americans is enough. America should not allow itself to get lost in detail. Other government in the area must be asked to fall in line or be considered hostile.
Suspend the losing and phony negotiations with Iran about its military nuclear development. The Iranians have been negotiating in bad faith. Any way, they pose a danger mostly to their neighbors, first and foremost but not only, to nuclear-armed Israel. Let them deal with Iran. The US should cooperate when it’s feasible and convenient. Mr Obama obviously failed. Let him defend publicly a continuation of his failure.
The Russian push into the Ukraine should be viewed mostly as the Europeans’ problem. Let them take the lead in that area. So long as they depend so greatly on Russia for their energy (including, amazingly, Ukraine) and as long their defense spending is around 2% of their GDP, they lack credibility. (America’s military spending is more than double, in percentage alone.) It’s not our mission to make up for their structural and obstinate failures. Once they take the lead, we should help them, with circumspection. Let Mr Obama argue that he wants more war in East Europe.
Stop all downsizing of the military until the next election cycle.
Disengage in Israel/ Palestine. American political circles have proven their inability to do anything there.
Appoint as many judges and justices as possible before the 2016 election.