Tony Blankley

While the first, negative argument probably wins on a narrow assessment of the party's goals, I believe a carefully crafted discussion of where America stands in this fateful election year -- including both a strong, positive message and response to the current urge of the people -- is the most useful strategy for Republicans.

Of course, the GOP -- along with at least 60 percent of the country -- is powerfully negative on the enacted Obama agenda. We must commit to repeal. Millions of tea party voters (and others) worry that it will be business as usual if the Republican Party is back in charge. The public wants repeal, the country needs repeal, and Republicans must commit to it. Even if we do not have the votes to override a presidential veto, we must take the vote and make the case to the public. And, by the way, if the Democrats take the kind of beating that Democratic professionals such as James Carville and others anticipate, don't be surprised to see surviving Democratic senators and congressmen become "me-too Democrats" and vote with the Republicans to save their own skins. If not, we take names and run hard against them in 2012.

Also, the GOP must make a firm commitment to economic growth and prosperity, which will require a balanced budget without tax increases. Serious spending cuts must appear in the first year of the first budget the Republican Congress crafts. Finally, as community leaders as well as legislators, Republicans must provide leadership in a voluntary, private-sector explosion of "republican virtues" -- that is to say, the qualities of citizenship that make free self-governance possible. We need not only to limit entitlements but limit the need for them by encouraging self-sufficiency in the public.

The debauchery of Regency England (1790-1820s) was consciously replaced with Victorian values honoring work, self-reliance, living within one's income, cleanliness and social responsibility through good works and charity -- and thereby gave Britain an extra 100 years of world dominance.

Today in America, in appalled response to the excesses of Mr. Obama's statist policies, much of the public is ready to reconsider many of the excesses of the past several decades. We have a chance to help lead a voluntary cultural reinvigoration similar to Britain's, in keeping with 21st-century American application of the timeless civic virtues that made America both materially and morally worthy of worldwide admiration. Time to be great again.

Tea party and Republican families in thousands of chapters could hold local essay contests for children on the responsibilities of citizenship. It would be a first step around the teacher unions' stranglehold on teaching moral lessons. In more and more ways, we must lead a voluntary reassertion of American values.

On the legislative front, for example, we should systematically purge the codes where possible and pass laws to expedite free enterprise that encourages micro-entrepreneurship. New businesses with just a few employees should have almost all paperwork requirements waived as well as the first three to five years of taxes. We want to encourage an explosion in such creative economic activity from the inner city to the suburbs. We need to systematically strip the codes, where possible, of any legal barriers to citizen self-sufficiency.

By balancing a stern demand for constitutional, limited government with a strong, positive, active commitment to voluntary betterment, the Republican Party can stand confidently to ask for the privilege of leading America back to our greatness and our goodness.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

©Creators Syndicate