Memo to GOP: To win in 2014 we need an anti-cronyism, anti-corporate welfare agenda

In my Fox News column this week, I argue that conservatives in Washington need to embrace an anti-cronyism and anti-corporate welfare agenda:

The lessons of the 2012 election cycle are plain in the history books for all to see. When Republicans keep their heads down, worry about “not making ourselves the issue,” and stick to safe, silent stump speeches, the vociferous left has everything it needs to reframe the debate on the terms upon which it prospers.


Conservatives must put forward an anti-cronyism, anti-corporate welfare agenda that uplifts all Americans, not just the elites.  Such an agenda would resonate with Americans’ deep-seated frustration with Washington, which is a well-oiled machine for those powerful enough to hire an army of lobbyists to descend on lawmakers, staff and bureaucrats.

There are many obvious planks to a pro-America, anti-Washington platform that can be built over the next six months.

Read the whole column here.

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Weak on Russia

Every single Senate Democrat has some explaining to do on Russia:

Now, the very people who pushed New START during the reset are now pretending to be hard-liners on Russia. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D–La.) says, “Being sanctioned by President Putin is a badge of honor.” Sen. Mark Warner (D–Va.) claims to be “deeply concerned with Russia’s actions, which are in clear violation of existing treaties and agreements.” Perhaps most ironic is Shaheen, who now advocates sending “strong signal[s] to Russia that we do not accept their illegal disregard for international norms and agreements.”

All three voted in favor of New START, though, just as President Obama requested. Their tough talk in hindsight doesn’t do much to advance American foreign policy or keep Americans safe. It does, however, demonstrate why Americans are tired of Washington: politicians on both sides cover up weak action with bold talk.

At Heritage Action, we believe in accountability. Politicians may know how to say the right things at the most convenient times, but too few are willing to take the votes that matter or apologize for the mistakes they’ve made. It’s our job to draw attention to the inconsistency–and to remind Americans the next time some legislators try to push half-baked policies through Congress for the sake of bipartisan cooperation and progress.

Read my whole piece on The Foundry.

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Running Away From the Ryan Budget

What practical impact will the House-passed Ryan Budget have on policy making in an election year?

Unfortunately, since 2010, there has been a notable unwillingness among House Republicans — particularly their leadership — to fight for the policies embodied in Ryan’s budgets

House Republicans and Chairman Ryan deserve credit for passing a budget, but Americans are growing tired of Washington’s budget-this-way, govern-that-way doublespeak. Lawmakers should not make the mistake, as Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) recently did, of suggesting a budget resolution alone is “a strong signal to our base that if we can deliver the election victories that we need, we’re prepared to make some really tough decisions.” 

We will only believe that promise when we see some evidence to support it. 

Read the whole Politico Magazine piece.

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Fact: Compromise Has Expanded Government

In my Foundry column this week, I argue progressives have seen too many successes over the last century for us to offer a timid response.  Conservatives have to start winning the argument with the American people, and that won’t be accomplished by continually compromising our principles:

“[C]onservatives make two simple claims: Most policies under debate are liberal, and Republican leaders sacrifice conservative principles when they compromise. History shows they are right on both counts.”

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What Conservatives Want

Over at National Review I argue that while winning elections is critical for conservatives, we also have to be concerned with winning policy victories after election day is over that distinguish us from the other major party and from Republican party strategists in Washington:

[W]inning elections isn’t sufficient. As the founder of the Heritage Foundation, Edwin J. Feulner, explained in a speech shortly after Ronald Reagan won the presidency, conservatives also must win in the realm of policy. Put another way, political power should not be viewed as an end in and of itself, but rather the means to achieve the policy outcomes that will save the country.

Williamson invokes the common refrain that “the differences among us are minor compared with the differences between us and them, which are fundamental.”

Unfortunately, there are some fundamental differences between grassroots conservatives and the party strategists in Washington. Those differences get to the heart of whether conservatives will win in the realm of policy.

Read the whole column here

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