Advice for Republicans

With the election less than three weeks away, the GOP is leading, but it still needs something to put it away. Here are some ideas:

1. Back in 1932 - 1933, during the Depression, Congress cut its pay from $10,000 to $8,500 in two steps. That would be very popular today. Rasmussen Reports found that 75% of likely voters said Congress should cut its pay until the federal budget is balanced. 16% disagreed. More generally, Gallup reported that only 18% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. 77% disapprove.

The way to capitalize on this is to relate it to the jobless rate. Congress could cut its pay by 20% (currently $174,000) until the unemployment rate drops below 6%. Their motto would be: "We don't get paid until you get paid".

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (a Democrat!) has sponsored a bill to cut Congressional salaries by 5%. It isn't tied to the unemployment rate.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) introduced a bill to cut Congressional salaries by 10%, with a two week unpaid furlough for all federal employees. Since federal employees are paid more than private sector employees (especially when benefits are counted) and federal employees haven't been subject to layoffs to the same extent as private employees, it's reasonable to reduce federal salaries. This suggests a combination bill: cut congressional pay by 20% and federal employee pay by 10% until unemployment drops below 6%.

2. The Republican approach to the health care bill has been "repeal and replace". The Democrats ask: "replace with what?" The answer should be: decide it at the State level. A major part (maybe the main part) of Obamacare is a new set of regulations. The obvious question is why these regulations should be decided at the federal level. Since medicine is so complicated, it makes sense to have decisions made by those closest to the ones involved.

The polls support this. Rasmussen Reports reported that only 14% said that the federal government does the best job of the levels of government. 19% picked state governments, 43% picked local governments, and 25% had no opinion. If we assume that those that prefer local government would choose state government over federal government, then state over federal would be 62% to 14%, more than 4 to 1.

3. Americans prefer divided government. In an NBC/WSJ poll, voters were asked: "In general, do you think that it is better for the same political party to control both the Congress and the presidency so they can work together more closely, or do you think it is better to have different political parties controlling the Congress and the presidency to prevent either one from going too far?" The results were: 31% said the same party, 61% said different parties. That's a much bigger margin than those that prefer Republicans to Democrats.

How to exploit that? Here is a possible TV commercial:

A subjective camera is walking down a sidewalk in a suburban neighborhood. There is a dog barking. The camera turns and sees a terrifying dog barking with its paws against a chain link fence. A voice over says: "We don't let dangerous dogs run free. They have to be kept behind fences. The same way we don't let people in government do what they want. We have checks and balances. But that only works if the President and the congress are from different parties. We need to remember that this election." Then words overlay the barking dog: "Don't let Obama run wild. Vote Republican."

Barak Obama said: "They talk about me like a dog. Thatís not in my prepared remarks, but itís true." That's a great idea. Thank you Mr. President!

Posted 2010/October/14