I keep hearing that Republicans are expected to do well in the 2014 midterm elections. So I'm trying to figure out what issues they'll be running on. Here's how the landscape looks to me:
Obamacare - We hear a lot these days about how the main focus for Republicans will be to run against Obamacare. But is sure seems like every time they highlight a scare story about its implementation - it turns out to be a hoax. Then yesterday's Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll was bad news for the Republicans in that it showed that a majority of Americans want Congress to keep the health care law in place. Furthermore, Republicans keep fumbling with the "replace" part of "repeal and replace." CBO just scored their latest attempt and said it would mean that 1 million people would lose their health insurance and it would cost an additional $73 billion.
Government Spending - Reducing government spending has been the standard "go-to" message for the Republicans for over 40 years. But given that the federal deficit has been cut in half since President Obama took office during the Great Recession, that's going to be a hard sell. I'm sure we'll still see a lot of rhetoric about it. But any attempt to get specific will be impossible to justify.
Cultural Issues - The mood of the country has changed since the days that Karl Rove cooked up a scheme to put marriage equality on ballots to ramp up conservative voter turnout. In just the last two days we've seen a judge in Texas rule against that state's ban on gay marriage and even Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona recognized that her state legislature's attempt to legalize discrimination was not a good idea. After all the fiascos of Republican candidates saying stupid things about rape and birth control, the memo on staying clear of abortion politics has gone out from the establishment.
Immigration Reform - This one is causing Republicans major headaches. They know they need to do something, but the teapublicans won't let them. So at this point it looks like the decision is simply going to be to punt on it for now.
Tax Reform - Rep. Dave Camp tried. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told him to STFU.
Deregulation - I'm sure we'll be hearing about this one from lots of Republicans. But when plants blow up in Texas and water isn't safe to drink in West Virginia, that's a tough sell.
Foreign Policy - Right now the John McCain hawks are at war with the Rand Paul non-interventionist libertarians. There is no clear end in sight on that conflict.
That about covers the standard Republican fare. Nothing much to work with there. And so we'll likely see the default position that Republicans tend to rely on - negativity as a means to induce fear. The only question that remains is whether or not enough Americans will buy it. Let's just call it what it is...FAIL.
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