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Advice for the Republicans

Don't let Dems control dialogue; address illegal immigration, defense

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Monica Crowley
Political analyst

American politics is cyclical: some years, your party is up, dominant.  Some years, well, not so much.  This election year, it looks like the Republican party’s turn to take it on the chin.  Of course, the party has had a big hand in creating the mess in which it finds itself: out of control federal spending, wildly disparate positions on illegal immigration, a failure to aggressively take on the criticism of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, and the scandals from Bob Ney to Mark Foley have created a sense of drift.  

If the Republicans are to retain control of the House and Senate, they must do a few things beyond simply pointing out how much worse the Democrats will be.  First, they should hit national security hard.  They should look to the President’s speech last week as he signed the Military Commissions bill.  

Use that as a template to remind voters about three things:

1. The unprecedented nature of the current war
2. The true nature of the enemy we face
3. Republicans have kept and will keep voters safer 

The Republicans need to remind voters that they are the grown-ups on national defense.

Second, the Republicans need to stop accommodating illegal immigration.  Individual candidates should break with the President if they have to.  This is the number one issue among the base, and that base is really angry about the hopscotch positions of the party.  There are a few exceptions- including Congressman Tom Tancredo, the most visible one- who have been dealing with it as a rule of law, border security, and national security issue. All other Republicans should be following their lead.

And finally, the Republicans have the presidency and both houses of Congress.  They should be using them.  Stop letting the Democrats control the dialogue.  Talk about conservative principles- cutting taxes, reducing the size of government, and aggressively confronting violent Islamism- and don’t back down.  Voters want to know that you stand for something, even when they may disagree with you.  It’s not enough to tear down the Democrats and point out how much more irresponsible and costly they will be in power.  Republicans must also offer a compelling alternative, a positive reason for voters to choose them. Voters don’t want to hold their noses when they vote.  They want to feel good about their choices. 

Give them reason to, Republicans. 

If you do, you may have reason to celebrate the night of November 7. 

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