Inside the Numbers: Mississippi Burning: GOP Should Heed Gingrich’s Warning

Here are Newt’s main points:

— Congressional Republicans can’t take comfort in McCain’s polling numbers. Newt accurately notes that McCain’s non-traditional Republican image is what has him in the ballgame. A more typical Republican candidate would be running much further behind.

— Being anti-Obama, anti-Clinton, anti-(Jeremiah) Wright is not a model that will work this year. Again, “The Great One” has hit the nail on the head. As he correctly points out, the Republican brand has been so badly damaged that just running “anti” to anything will get the party’s candidates nowhere.

— Republicans have lost the advantage on every issue being polled. Name a topic, and Americans tell those of us who poll that the Democrats can handle it better. Tough news, but as I say, most polls don’t lie — only pollsters do!

— House members should call an emergency, members-only conference. This isn’t to say that Newt’s nearly endless succession of conference meetings were a smashing success when he was U.S. House speaker. And he knows it. Even so, he’s now urging the House GOP caucus to at least bring back his tradition of creating a sense of urgency, and leveraging off of that sentiment by creating a realistic plan for formulating a genuinely new message and legislative agenda for public consumption. And by the way, the “members only” qualification is to avoid the meddling influence of staff and others, who inevitably cause members to pull their punches, and who position themselves for beneficial press leaks after these meetings.

Gingrich next suggests a list of immediate actions, including:

— The repeal of the gas tax for the summer and the cutting of domestic discretionary spending in Congress to pay for it.

— A redirection of oil now going into the national petroleum reserve. It should flow into the open market instead.

— The establishment of an “earmarks” moratorium for at least a year, plus a pledge to uphold any presidential vetoes of budget earmarks through the end of 2009.

— The implementation of a space-based GPS-style system for air traffic control.

Newt also includes a suggested reminder to the public that Congress has a vital role in the appointment of federal judges, and that Republicans are better stewards of this task than Democrats.

Southern Political Report
5/15/8