I remember vividly a political cartoon that showed an elephant being buried in a casket with the words “rest in peace”.
Many political analysts boldly predicted the “Obama Revolution” was here to stay given the changing demographics the country was facing and how if the Republican Party did not tack to the right, it would become an obsolete party for generations to come. That was eight years ago in 2009.
Fast forward to today, Republicans not only control the White House, House and Senate, but a majority of the statehouses around the country and not just in the legislature, but also in the governor’s mansions as well. Long and short is that Republicans own this country, but what policies do they have to show for it? Very little.
House Republicans recently passed a repeal and replace health care bill, a campaign promise they’ve been promising for eight years only to have the president call it a “mean” bill at a private lunch with Republican Senators where he encouraged them to make the bill better by giving it more money.
House and Senate Republicans for years have been championing comprehensive tax reform – something that has not been accomplished since 1986 only to be thwarted by internal differences on whether to tackle tax reform or a much simpler tax cuts, which is another difference of opinion with President Donald Trump.
The bottom line is that Republicans own this town and they simply cannot get their act together on policy and press. The policy is hard the part – what do they stand for? What are the principles that guide them as a political and policy party?
Oftentimes, it appears that the GOP leadership is always scrambling defensively and in reactive mode to the president’s policy and political tweets, which drives the press coverage.
So how can Republicans get out of this mess? Do what they do best: focus on the long game. Republicans are very good at playing the long game and remember that if they want to stay in power they need to actually govern in a way that focuses on results.
Fixing health care, pay increases for our military, fixing our infrastructure, reforming Kindergarten through 12-grade education and maybe even some international policy on repairing our relationships with some of our allies around the world. With the exception of health care, all of the other policy initiatives most likely would garner bipartisan support.
And even better still, Republicans can go after low hanging fruit such as school uniforms, no driving while texting, expanding the do not call list to cell phones and the list goes on. Instead we have Republican infighting, which is a root cause to some of the gridlock that our country is experiencing.
Can we get pass this as a country? We will, and the reason why I know this is because we have in the past.
John F. Kennedy once said that “sometimes party loyalty asks to much.” Well said, Mr. President well said.
Robert Traynham is the vice president of communications for the Bipartisan Policy Center. He can be twitted at @roberttraynham.