As the nation increasingly disapproves of the direction of the country along with many key Obama administration policies, conservatives will have a clear opportunity to offer a deep contrast in the 2012 elections. The eventual Republican nominee for president, most likely Mitt Romney, will clearly be dealt a strong hand to use in his favor as Americans have shown strong support in a number of important issues. There are seven key areas that conservatives will need to focus on if they hope to win the support of the public and retake the White House and possibly the Senate in 2012.
Shortly after being inaugurated President Obama demanded passage of his the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to purportedly save the economy. One of his chief claims of the Act was that it would prevent unemployment from surpassing 8%. Within months of the passage of the Recovery Act, the unemployment rate soared past 8% and three years later has failed to dip below the levels it was said to never even approach. While the unemployment rate has dropped somewhat recently, much of the drop has come from a large number of unemployed people simply giving up their job search.
Spending and Debt
The first four years of the Obama administration is predicted to have added more publicly held debt than every president before himÃ¢Â€Â¦ combined. Spending is out of control, and the Obama administration's only plan is to increase taxes while refusing to reduce spending in any area beyond Defense. Conservatives have proposed balanced budget amendments, entitlement reforms, and plans for job growth that would increase the tax base. Congressman Paul Ryan has introduced A Roadmap for Americas Future, which offers an in-depth plan to get federal spending under control, to reduce deficits and publicly held debt, and to streamline many government agencies. The Roadmap has the backing of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and the plan offers a clear alternative to the budget-free Obama administration and the Democrat-led Senate that has refused to pass a budget in over 1,000 days.
It might be called the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, but it's more widely known as Obamacare, President Obama's signature legislation. Promoting the repeal and replacement of Obamacare has been a core issue for all Republican candidates for president and, more importantly, the public has never embraced the legislation. Since the day it was crafted and in the years since, polling data has shown a clear desire to see the law repealed. The passage of the legislation was a major catalyst in the rise of the Tea Party, which in turn helped to inflict major losses to Democrats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2010.
The Obama administration has been caught up in a number of apparent crony capitalism and pay-for-play scenarios. Cronyism refers to politicians in power offering deals, loans, and other favors to political allies and supporters. The Obama administration took over General Motors and sought to reward his union buddies by giving them unprecedented control in how the company is run. In his push for "Alternative Energy" the administration rushed through previously rejected loans to Obama allies that controlled financially ruined companies. Former Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin offers a glimpse into how Republicans can use this issue to their advantage in the upcoming election cycle.
One of the key reasons for economic uncertainty rests in the fact the business owners, both small and large, are concerned with the Obama administration's policies. The cost of Obamacare weighs heavily in their business decisions which include expanding business and taking on new employees. Since the status of Obamacare is unknown, many businesses are just hanging out until the dust settles. Plus, ever-increasing regulations on business have made doing business harder. Finally, businesses are worried about future unknown taxes and other costs of business that could be headed their way. At the end of the day businesses are afraid to do business.
Republicans will need to be aggressive in their support for promoting an "all-of-the-above" approach to energy. That is to say, they will need to strongly support domestic oil production, possible expansion of nuclear energy, and let the green energy market fight its battle in the marketplace. While Obama has focused almost exclusively on investing in unproven, ineffective, and costly "green-energy" sources, he has also worked to decrease the ability of Americans to grow and expand the domestic market for crude oil. One such development was President Obama's decision to reject the Keystone Oil Pipeline project which helps set the stage for a battle over the future of energy production in the next presidential election.
Finally, conservatives will be able to counter President Obama with their belief in American exceptionalism. By offering optimism to a country that so desperately needs it conservatives can recapture the Ronald Reagan magic that led him to defeat the doom-and-gloom Jimmy Carter in 1980. Conservatives can fight the class warfare charges and make the case that all is not lost, and that Americans can thrive again without the guiding hand of the federal government. They must make the case that America is still that shining city on a hill.
Conservatives and the eventual Republican candidate will be given a strong hand to start with in their quest to defeat Obama. The public regularly views the GOP as more competent and able to handle matters relating to the economy. The public is in favor of repeal of Obamacare, worried about unemployment, and supportive of domestic energy production while also disappointed in the current size of government. With the public on their side, all they must do now is effectively get these messages across.