President Obama won the first round of his second term, but thanks to Mitch McConnell the beating wasn’t as severe as it could have been.
The period between the election and the turn of the calendar was dominated by the president, with Speaker John Boehner as his foil. The Speaker always seemed to assume the president was negotiating in good faith, even as the campaign events continued, and even as he was pummeled day and night by the president and his surrogates in the MSM.
The collapse of the Speaker's and the GOP’s ability to make an argument was complete when the silly “Plan B” stunt unfolded and then crashed and burned in front of the country last week. This is not an era of stunts, but because of new media, a time for serious argument instead. The GOP has not yet recognized the old era of secret deal-making is over and a new era of public argument begun. It is not very good at the latter, being about a light year behind when it comes to the mechanics of being heard in the new millennium.
Repetition, repetition, repetition.
And location, location, location: Every platform, every day. Just like the president.
The GOP couldn’t beat him, so it must join him in his tactical approach to issues.
The GOP did little between the election and Tuesday's passage of the tax bill to explain that the major issue facing the country is spending.
Much of the time was spent silent --wounds being nursed etc-- or talking of grand bargains or rumors of secret meetings at the White House. The Speaker, with the biggest platform not belonging to the president, didn't use it at all. The Manhattan-Beltway media elite, in love with the confrontation between the president and the Speaker, paid no attention to spending, and after the horror of Newtown covered almost nothing else.
Now the table is clear and the clock running down to the moment when the Treasury cannot borrow any more money. That is also the moment that the Defense Department-smashing sequester hits. The GOP has 60 days to outline and argue for its vision of what has to be done, especially with regards to entitlements.
It needs to be concise. It needs to be repeated. The consequences to individuals have to be spelled out.
"Social Security needs a new retirement age. Medicare needs a new eligibility age. Medicaid needs a cap. They all need reform to their cost-of-living escalators."
What also needs repeating is that there will be no more tax hikes. The president got what he campaigned for, and the revenue flowing into the government is enormous.