As we said in our blog last week, “Real change comes from individuals, not institutions. Stop paying attention to brands, start paying attention to individual voices.”
Republicans across the country would be wise to listen to the voice of conservative Republican Governors who have been able to successfully govern. Governor Brewer is certainly one of those voices. Two more who have insightful things to say are Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Walker wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal last week discussing how he has been able to appeal to the “Obama-Walker voters” who are independent minded, desiring reform and leadership. In his editorial, he has some wise words on how Republicans can win elections while holding on to their conservative principles.
These “Obama-Walker” voters that he discusses are made up of the same “swing” constituencies that we often discuss. They are willing to cross party lines or split the ticket to select the best person for the job. As Walker explains, “The way to win the center is to lead.”
Kasich took on members of his own party to expand Medicaid and challenged the Republican establishment for their lack of compassion when it comes to the social safety net.
As Governor Walker opined, “Republicans need to do more than simply say no to Mr. Obama and his party’s big-government agenda. They can offer Americans positive solutions for the nation’s challenges, to reduce dependency, and create hope, opportunity, and upward mobility for all citizens.”
Anti-Obama gets the cheap tea party applause, but it doesn’t move this country forward. It is also the source of the impression that the Republican Party is cold and uncaring. The party has allowed itself to be tagged as anti-poor because it doesn’t offer solutions to help people, but instead remains steadfastly in opposition.
Kasich is one who is standing up to that notion, saying “I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor. That if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy. You know what? The very people who complain ought to ask their grandparents if they worked at the W.P.A.”
It is time for Republicans to offer solutions to problems, not simply opposition to anything that has to do with Obama.
Try to win instead of avoiding losing
Walker aptly points out, “Too many people in politics today spend their time trying not to lose instead of trying to do the right thing. They would better serve the country by worrying more about the next generation than the next election.”
Self preservation has filled the leadership void, leaving people reluctant to do the right thing for fear of losing an election. It is the political equivalent of the “prevent defense.” It is why satisfaction with Congress is so low and why the media is obsessed with Presidential approval ratings. It is time for Republicans to care less about moving the approval needle and more about getting things done.
In expanding Medicaid, Kasich took a hard line saying, “I will not accept the fact that the most vulnerable in our state should be ignored.” Governor Brewer did the same thing when she said that she refused to allow 60,000 Arizonans to lose coverage at the end of this year.
If you try to win the game instead of just trying not to lose, the approval and the electoral support will follow.
With 2014 rapidly approaching and the race for 2016 is already on the radar. Republicans would be wise to look to their governors for the messages that will carry the day.