The 2012 election year poses a difficult decision for Republican
presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Should his campaign take on Obama’s
failures by running a single-issue campaign on jobs? Or should he go bold, take
on entitlement reforms and campaign on a holistic plan that offers a new vision
That decision is not so simple, says Stephen Hayes, who
spoke at the Illinois Policy Institute’s Liberty Speaker Series this week. Most
Republican consultants are advising Romney and congressional candidates to keep
their message simple and to steer away from potentially lethal discussions on
Hayes, the Weekly Standard columnist and Fox News
panelist, disagrees with that advice. Instead, he thinks Republican candidates
should go big, go bold, and win on ideas.
After all, fixing the economy does nothing to alter the
crippling and mounting debt that entitlement programs create. And Americans
know this. The more that people can understand these problems, the more likely
they’ll want to fix them.
Fortunately, we’ve been given evidence that a bold
approach and big ideas can work:
Gov. Walker in Wisconsin took on the unions and
collective bargaining to flip a $3.6 billion budget deficit into a small surplus.
Not only that, but he convincingly won a recall election by standing firm on
Marco Rubio made entitlement reforms an issue, in Florida
no less. He won despite the barrage of attacks on his reform ideas.
And Rep. Paul Ryan’s strict budget plan was used successfully
by several candidates in 2010 that chose his platform and entitlement reforms over
less ambitious plans.
Yes, it’s possible to be bold and win.
Can that strategy work in Illinois? Can good policy be
Illinoisan’s are eager to learn about pension,
health care and budget reforms. They’re not happy with where
this great state is headed. That means Illinois Republicans and Democrats alike
have an opportunity to offer real reforms – and win elections at the same time!
Sooner or later, it’s going to be Illinois’ turn for big
ideas. We’re just waiting for real leaders to step forward.