The challenge before the newly minted Republicans is as difficult as it is simple. Come January 20th, Republicans will take the majority in the House and will send a minority to the Senate. Under the current parliamentary rules, this minority will be capable of stopping any bill proposed. This will make the word, “No” roll off the tongue as easy for Republicans as Paula Deen adding butter to a recipe. And herein lies the challenge; the Republicans must not become the party of “no.”
This is not a new challenge for Republicans. Ronald Reagan in his 1964 speech endorsing Barry Goldwater for President noted that:
“Anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we’re denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we’re always ‘against’ things—we’re never ‘for’ anything.”
Considering that Republicans will be unlikely to pass anything without the help of Senate Democrats and ultimately a presidential signature, saying “no” seems like good response to an overreaching left. But therein lies the problem. The American people are not a people of “no.” And if all they ever hear from Republicans is no, they will soon be looking for someone saying yes.
But in Reagan’s analysis of the problem he also gave us the answer. Republicans must move beyond saying no, to saying yes. Republicans must stop being against big government and taxes, to being for individual freedom and pro-growth market policies. Republicans must not respond with “no” to proposals from the left, but respond with a plan showing Americans how to go forward.
This will require brains as well as backbone. Democrats will likely halt most of these plans, yet the American people have the insight to understand this. And if the American people come to like what they hear, in two years they will Republicans the Senate. They may even decide to entrust to us the White House.
In the end, we do not remember George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan because they said no. We remember them because afterwards they said yes.