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Publius Speaks
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Monday, January 3, 2011

REPUBLICANS MUST BE CHALLENGED

Now that Republicans have administered a “shellacking,”  President Obama needs to compromise where he can, but most of all, he must start sending bills like the following in quick succession, to challenge Republicans to vote yes or no.  Obama cannot play defense; he cannot simply be reactive to Republican proposals.  He must play offense; he must challenge Republicans on as many important issues as possible or he will face an even stronger GOP in 2012.

+ Substantial Jobs bill with infra-structure repair included; use funds from a pay cut for Congresspersons and others cuts (see below) in Congress’s perks
+ Across-the-board budget cuts by 5%, including all departments, even DoD
+ Balanced budget Amendment including line item veto (build on Oct., 1982; Jan. 1997; Feb. & July 2005)
+ Income Tax reform bill  closing major loopholes favoring the rich and large corporations
+ Health Care Reform  amendments: proposing reforms and including limited Republican concepts: tort reform and across state-line availability.  But also allow Medicare to negotiate drug costs; and make Medicare available to more people
+ Clean energy bill with incentives for alternative sources and reduction of  loopholes/incentives for Big Oil: include one or two Republican ideas
+ ”Sunset” legislation: all programs must have an end date certain
+ Reform of Congress‘s budget: challenge Congress to cut and end certain programs:  Chaplains, limos & drivers, end offices of attending Physicians in both houses (use naval & army doctors to improve VA system instead), end junkets, abolish Office of Former Speakers (and offices of Party Leaders), curb the franking privilege, cut all travel budgets by 30%, cut personal staff, printing. 
+Education reform bill: to force Republicans to deal with the overall Purpose and Mission of public education
+Omnibus Budget bill:  it must be used, not just as a budget bill, but as a platform for forcing Republicans to “put up or shut up”.  It must be strategic in the way money is allocated; it must be political as well as policy-making; it must force change that people can see and feel. 

The President must beat Republicans to the punch; propose some of their ideas before they can get their act together.  But, for every compromise this involves, challenge Republicans to a choice, one of which shows them to be major hypocrites.  Every time Republicans propose discretionary program cuts that will hurt the poor or middle class, counter with an equivalent cut of Congress’ budget

McConnell’s prime objective is to turn the President out of office.  There is no compromise with that kind of attack.  The President must attack Republicans at every turn, and back them into a corner.  It would help to form an attack group (through the DNC) and have them out there attacking everything Republicans try to do, all the time, unrelentingly.  Use surrogates to make the attacks.  The President should stay somewhat above the daily fray, compromising by offering Republican ideas before they do, but making them look bad by getting them to vote against the people and their own conservative principles.  He cannot stay out of it entirely; he has to be the spokesman for Democratic ideals and principles, but he should use the bully pulpit when necessary and appropriate, and when it will pay dividends for him and others in his Party.

Get busy Democrats, and stop letting Republicans set the public agenda!