Can 2014 be like 2010 and 1994?
In a word, yes, the 2014 midterm election can be a wave year, sweeping in dozens of new Republican members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, taking down unsuspecting incumbent Democrats.
But we must first acknowledge that the Republican resurgence is, more than anything else, the result of Democratic incompetence.
On its current trajectory, the federal health care law, known as Obamacare, is ruining President Obama’s second term and will soil his legacy. Premiums and deductibles are rising. The administration, on what seems like a daily basis, lawlessly issues more delays. More than five million have lost their insurance, the very thing that President Obama, (by saying “… if you like your plan, you can keep your plan …”), repeatedly promised would not happen. Uninsured Americans are having difficulty enrolling or have given up due to the disastrous rollout. Many health care experts do not believe the program will have the requisite number of healthy, young people enroll to make the math work. Ultimately, the program will implode.
Republicans should let this happen. The mainstream media is now holding the Obama administration accountable for its broken promises. Republican predictions of Obamacare’s problems now appear prescient.
Obamacare likely will cause the House to remain in Republican hands and may even turn the U.S. Senate into a Republican majority. The final two years of President Obama’s second term will be markedly different, as he will then have to deal with a Republican Congress from a weakened position, as President Clinton did in 1995.
I subscribe to the dictum that Sun Tzu wrote in “The Art of War” more than 2,200 years ago: “When your enemy is in the process of destroying himself, stay out of the way.”
But staying out of the way is not enough.
As a resolution for the New Year, Republicans should work to present a clear, national agenda that demonstrates their positive vision for the country.
When you are in the minority, without the White House, it can be hard to get your message out.
For example, many Americans are unaware that in 2013 the Republican-led House passed 168 bills that were stuck in the Democrat-led Senate.
Unfortunately, the Senate majority, in breaking with 200 years of tradition, is refusing to take up and amend House-passed legislation, to protect its own vulnerable members from taking tough votes.
My hope is that the Republican Party, made up of both conservatives and more moderate establishment members, can unite in early 2014 with a three-point, simple, powerful positive agenda to push in the New Year: school choice, domestic energy growth and a market-based, private sector health care alternative.
Let’s take them individually:
The hyperventilating arguments made against school choice are ludicrous. Competition in the private sector is a good thing. The sad fact that we do not have it in public education is why we are failing to innovate as other countries are better educating their younger populations. Education should not be an economic or geographic question. Allowing parents to choose which public school their child attends would revolutionize our public education system and anyone who blocks it is engaging in parochial, selfish, bureaucratic thinking. These reforms have worked in places like Washington, D.C. and in Louisiana and the GOP should fully embrace them nationally.
An energy boom is occurring across the United States today and the shame is that it could be so much bigger. Hydraulic fracture, a process known as fracking, has turned the energy industry upside down, making legacy fields economically viable, unlocking huge amounts of natural gas, and creating massive economic development in new areas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, North Dakota and many other states. Out on an active shale play, new hotels are being built in three months, and employees can start out making $70,000 annually. Families are becoming overnight millionaires. The shame is that all this development is happening almost exclusively on state and private lands, not on vast federal lands. The Obama administration is needlessly blocking development on federal lands, shackling our economy in the process.
Obamacare may be failing before our very eyes, but the GOP needs to unite behind one approach as an alternative. We know this can include small business health plans, tort reform, portability, equalizing the tax treatment of health care, and other reforms. Several viable bills exist in the U.S. House, authored by members who are doctors.
The GOP can continue to let its “enemy” destroy itself, or they can unite and present a clear agenda that can become a mandate.
I hope they seize the moment.