Throughout the 2010 midterm election, Democrats vibrantly portrayed the Republican party as 'the party of no.' No to healthcare for 50 million uninsured Americans, no to a second stimulus bill, no to extending unemployment to hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans, and no to increasing the government's role in shoring up our distressed economic climate. Republicans overtly accepted this notion, and rode a tidal wave election in which the GOP regained majority in the House and sustained moderate gains in the Senate.
Enter December 2010. We are only a month or two away from the launch of the election cycle all over again; this time, however, with much larger stakes. The American electorate clung to the theme of 'the party of no' last time around, but it is time for the Republicans to take on a new identity that may excite, but scare the GOP elite: 'the party of yes.'
This is not embodying the approval of increased government spending or adding to the national debt; rather, a preconceived revival of legislation that will make a profound impact on Americans. Turning these next two years into a commonality of rejecting proposed legislation to stifle President Obama’s election chances in 2012 is a mere irrationality. There are simply too many pressing issues facing the lives of millions of Americans in need of reform to spend these next two years avoiding compromise for the sake of scoring cheap political points in 2012. Merit and accomplishment are consistently superior to avoidance and evasiveness, as will be displayed in the 2012 election if Republicans can cultivate a reputation of dedication and willingness.
Thus far, we have seen Republicans take hard stances in the early stages of their majority in the House and affluence in the Senate. Positions such as banning all earmarks and voting entirely against extending unemployment are ideologically valid, but the GOP must carefully examine the direction it has sustained in just the past month alone. The electorate is exhausted with a lack of compromise for reform to crucial pieces of legislation that can the government’s efficiency and effectiveness in improving the general well being of Americans. If Republicans expect to spend the next two years hoping for economic failure in hopes of a 2012 overhaul, then the GOP has entirely abandoned its sprit of American prosperity. It is unrealistic that Republicans can assess a political climate in such a manner that they are willing to sacrifice the well being of the economy to win any election. Yes, the dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats is stark, but the GOP should be looking to increase productivity rather than demise Democrats or any policy that sustains compromising potential.
It’s time that Republicans start saying ‘Yes’ for now, and portray themselves as the party who is able to conceive the momentous reform that our country is in dire need of. Let’s witness the GOP say yes to using unspent stimulus funds to extend unemployment, yes to extending the Bush tax cuts, yes to stimulating private sector growth, yes to reducing the annual deficit, and a multitude of similar issues facing our economic recovery. While President Obama surely will take credit for the successes encompassed with such an upturn in the economy, the voters of 2012 will be sure to account for the party that in two years fought for the people’s right to the American dream. By taking a pragmatic and reasonable approach to these issues rather than letting party-ambition fuel the rapidly approaching landmark election, there is no reason to believe that prominent and virtuous leaders can concurrently revive the economy and portray the GOP as the quintessential party to affirm for years to come.