How the GOP Can Avoid Blame and Maintain the GOP Brand


How’s this for a simple GOP strategy to avoid blame for fiscal-cliff tax-rate increases and seize the public relations initiative from an overconfident president?

Pass two simple bills in the House.  Bill A extends current tax rates for those with incomes of $250,000 or less.  Bill B extends current tax rates for all the rest.  Keep both bills just that simple — include nothing else in either one.  Both will pass in the House thanks to the Republican majority.

As the bills are moving to the Senate, Speaker Boehner holds a press conference and begins with a short address to the American public to promote both bills.

First, Boehner points out that Bill A should pass the Senate promptly and be signed by the president.  Reid and Obama have promised as much. Second, the Speaker points out that Bill B will be likely be blocked in the Senate and/or on the president’s desk.  Reid and Obama have (virtually) promised to do that too.

Then make an impassioned appeal to Americans for Bill B with something like:

Now … there are 3 million of your fellow Americans who still face a huge tax increase on January 1.

Among these taxpayers are current and future employers of you, your children, your friends, and your neighbors.

Ask yourself:  will a tax increase on these employers make it more likely or less likely:

  • That they will be able to offer you a job if you are currently unemployed?
  • That they will be able to offer a job to your children about to enter the work force?
  • That they will be able to give you a bonus, raise, or promotion?
  • That they will be able to offer you continued or improved benefits?
  • That they will be able to buy new equipment and hire more employees?
  • That they will be able to find more customers that can buy their products or services?
  • That they will be able to compete with foreign companies?
  • That they will be able to avoid outsourcing your job?
  • That they will be able to keep you on the payroll during this long downturn?

If you agree with me that it’s in your family’s best interests that these employers get the same tax rate extension that you will get, then join with me in demanding that the President and Harry Reid support the bill I hold in my hands, and let’s get it done!

The GOP’s PR people, assuming they have some, could no doubt improve on this script where needed, but that’s the general idea.

So the recommendation to Speaker Boehner is:

  1. Stop begging the president to “get serious.”
  2. Pass these two simple bills in the House.
  3. Hold the press conference, and deliver your practiced pitch.
  4. Take 3 questions from the press, wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and walk away.

With this approach, the GOP:

  • Seizes the PR initiative from those who expect to blame tax-rate increases on Republicans
  • Maintains the “Republican Brand” as the party of low taxes
  • Puts the ball squarely in the Democrats’ court — until they act, they’re the bad guys

Readers, what do you think?  How much better could the GOP hope to do between now and the Christmas break?  Comments below will be welcomed!

[Cross-posted from]