The GOP has launched a new caucus called the National Council for a New America.
According to a press release from House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA):
“The National Council for a New America will engage with and empower the American people to develop innovative solutions that meet the serious challenges confronting our country. It is the right time to begin a thoughtful conversation about the future of this country.”
Some are calling this initiative a “rebranding” campaign for Republicans.
Others point out that the stated agenda for the caucus conspicuously does not include some of the more contentious issues important to conservatives like abortion, marriage, and illegal immigration.
I am one of those conservatives who is greatly concerned about all of these issues and more. But while I am reluctant to see them excluded from any serious policy discussion, it may not be the sellout some might be tempted to call it.
When you consider just how dug in and deeply divided liberals and conservatives are on issues such as marriage and abortion, and when you consider that liberals have a near-total lock on the executive and legislative branches (and hit-and-miss control of the judicial branch), it is not likely that conservatives are going to see any gains for the next two years or more at the very least. Even fighting a holding action against the onslaught of liberalism in these areas is going to be extremely difficult.
But the key areas chosen by the National Council for a New America are some which, while still characterized by serious divisions, are not quite as dug in on a broad scale. There may be significant opportunity to make philosophical inroads in these areas and produce some converts to the virtues of conservative policy in these areas.
Take a look at the “meat” of Cantor’s press release:
A Blueprint for our Conversation with America
Economy: Real Solutions for Economic Recovery
As the country battles through the worst economic crisis in a generation, we must remain focused on the foundations and institutions that have made us the most prosperous people in the world and the ideas that create jobs and grow our economy. At the same time, we must learn from the mistakes that led to the current crisis and to prevent similar situations from ever occurring again.
Healthcare: Building a 21st Century, Patient-Centered System
No one doubts that our nation’s health care system is in need of reform, but we must strike the right balance that builds on what works and fixes what is broken. All Americans deserve access to high-quality, affordable care. But such coverage cannot come at the expense of their ability to choose their own doctor and have access to the right care, at the right time, in the right setting without waiting in line while sick. In addition, we must continue to focus on the innovation and science that have resulted in thousands of treatments and cures for life-threatening or debilitating diseases while allowing America to remain the leader in research and development worldwide.
Education: Preparing Our Children to Succeed
A high-quality education should not be dependent upon a parent’s income or address. All of America’s children deserve an education that will prepare them for the opportunities and the challenges that await them in the global economy. Yet today, thousands of American children, especially in our inner cities, receive a substandard education or find post-secondary education unaffordable. We must return power from Washington to parents and well-paid teachers who know what’s best for our children.
Energy: Solutions for Energy Independence
American families and businesses cannot afford an energy policy where we are held hostage by foreign oil cartels and dictators. As a nation, we can no longer send billions of dollars overseas each year, often to countries that help fund our enemies. We must implement a comprehensive energy policy that includes traditional fuels, alternative energy, and conservation resulting in affordable, reliable domestic energy. Such a policy will stabilize costs for families and businesses while at the same time creating much-needed jobs here at home.
National Security: Defending American Liberty and Freedom
The threats posed to our nation are more varied and evolving more than perhaps at any other time in our history. Modern communications, technology and the proliferation of weapons of all types have empowered our enemies and those who support them. Our national security policy must reflect these realities while allowing us to maintain technological superiority, support the most well-trained and well-equipped military in the world and have the intelligence capabilities to uncover and prevent attacks before they occur.
Our National Panel of Experts:
Governor Haley Barbour
Governor Jeb Bush
Governor Bobby Jindal
Senator John McCain
Governor Mitt Romney
These are not the only issue areas where we will engage America, but they form a starting point in our revitalization effort. In the coming months, the NCNA will focus our attention outside of Washington where American families are living and raising their children, working toward the promise of a better tomorrow, and where common-sense ideals are valued over pundits and the political winds. We know America’s best days are ahead, but we need to work hard to ensure that promise. We also know that the American people want choices and alternatives – that there is no one right solution for what America and its people need. This is what our country was founded on, this is what we stand for, this is what we hope the National Council for a New America will provide and we ask our fellow citizens to join with us.
John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, John Carter, Pete Sessions, David Dreier, Kevin McCarthy, Roy Blunt, Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl, Lamar Alexander, John Cornyn, John Thune
I have to admit I don’t like the name: National Council for a New America. The old America was truly great in its moral foundation, its freedom, its strength and its prosperity. I see no need for a “new America,” only a return to the values that made us the greatest, most free nation in human history.
However, given the bubble-gum pop-culture glitter mentality common today, perhaps they felt a sugary, forward-sounding name would be more catchy and popular, and thus more likely to get some of the confused middle-of-the-roaders to take a closer look at something they might otherwise be tempted to ignore.
Time will tell how effective this caucus may be, and how committed they will remain to conservative values in these areas.
But at least they’re doing something to engage the minds of the American people, and to engage the enemy in the arena of ideas.
And that’s more than can be said of the GOP for the last several years…