As leader, you will be the spokesman for a philosophy of smaller government, more individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, free markets and budget cuts. You will speak up for the traditional family and strong community organizations.
On one hand, you stand for keeping taxes low on the very richest Americans. On the other, you're for cutting programs that are broadly popular. Congratulations. What are you for that Americans support? That's what is so great about this job. It requires creativity.
A sizable percentage of your caucus will balk at any increases in taxes ever on anyone -- even on those earning more than $1 million per year -- as John Boehner just discovered. So you'll have to seek balanced budgets exclusively by cutting spending. This will further confirm the public image of you as Scrooge.
Your job is to worry not just about the fiscal cliff, but about the $71.7 trillion in unfunded liabilities the federal government has amassed, the unchecked expansion of entitlements, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and now Obamacare, the waning percentage of Americans in the workforce (it's down to 63.6 now, compared with 67.2 in 2001), and the decline of traditional families which is, in turn, creating more and more Americans who become dependent on government programs.
Your opponents are the Democrats, who tell voters that they care and simply want to give them more and more. P. J. O'Rourke memorably described the difference between the parties this way in "Parliament of Whores": "God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat."
God is an elderly or, at any rate, middle-aged mate, a stern fellow, patriarchal rather than paternal, and a great believer in rules and regulations. He holds men strictly accountable for their actions ... God is unsentimental. It is very hard to get into God's heavenly country club.
Santa Claus is another matter. He's cute. He's nonthreatening. He's always cheerful. He may know who's been naughty and who's been nice, but he never does anything about it. He gives everyone everything they want without thought of a quid pro quo. Santa Claus is preferable to God in every way but one: There is no such thing as Santa Claus.