Karen Tumulty and Paul Kane have an interesting piece on the debate over whether Republicans should be for anything or just against Obama:
“The smart political approach would be to make the election about the Democrats,” said Neil Newhouse of the powerhouse Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, which is advising more than 50 House and Senate candidates. “In terms of our individual campaigns, I don’t think it does a great deal of good” to engage in a debate over the Republicans’ own agenda.
Others are skeptical that any Republican policy proposals will have much of an impact. “They really still have to have a sharp contrast with the Democrats,” said John McLaughlin, another leading Republican pollster whose firm counts both the House and Senate campaign committees among its clients. “They really need to drive that home before people will be willing to listen to what Republicans stand for.”
Interestingly, Boehner, and to an even larger extent, Newt Gingrich, think this is a nutty idea and that Republicans should offer policies. But what policies? This seems to be best they can do:
“There will be legislation. There will be bills. You’ll see what’s in them,” said McCarthy. He is gathering public suggestions on a Web site the party calls “America Speaking Out,” though traditional polling is likely to be the real GPS for drafting any legislation.
I hate to engage in politico-speak, but I can see why Republicans consultants would rather this be a referendum on the Democratic Congress (read: shitty economy) rather than a choice between Democrats and Republicans. If Republicans don’t come up with an ostensible agenda, Democrats need to remind voters what Republicans’ real agenda will be: obstruction, endless investigation, possible government shut-downs, more tax cuts for the rich.
And by the way, if you read the article through, you’ll see that the lack of substance is all Rahm’s fault.