BY TOM TOTH | MARCH 5, 2014
5 Issues the Republicans must win in 2014
With November's midterm elections drawing near, Republicans have a chance to take control of the Senate and build a daunting majority in the House of Representatives with resounding election victories across the nation. What's unclear, however, is whether or not Republicans are prepared to win in Congress once they win in their states and districts.
Efforts against the most damaging aspects of Obama's agenda by House Republicans in the four years since the 2010 midterms awarded them their majority have been, at best, timid. This, along with the uninspiring results of their last two-house majority during the George W. Bush administration, greatly damaged the Republican brand.
If Republicans are going to repair that brand and again establish themselves as the dominant American party, they must learn to win and maintain the results of their victories.
These are 5 areas the Republicans must win in the coming years:
The only thing more politically toxic about the Affordable Care Act than its unpopularity is its actual rollout.
From conception, through passage by blatant corruption, to the historically abysmal Healthcare.gov launch, Democrats should, by any rational standard, be running for their political lives from Obamacare with Republicans on their heels—but they aren't. This isn't to say the Democrats aren't intimidated by Obamacare, as evidenced by the Left's most common rhetorical defense of "it's the law of the land, deal with it" as if that's ever stopped Americans from fighting against public policy. But Obamacare is known commodity for the American people—the bill passed, the people have seen what's in it, and they're mad as hell.
Obamacare is an easy target and one Republicans absolutely must not allow to survive the end of the next President's first term. Killing it will require using the power of the purse to emasculate the law before electing a Republican to ultimately sign it into non-existence in January of 2017.
#2: The Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA—longtime enemy of industrial development, inexpensive energy, and poor families who spend every winter above the Mason-Dixon line—outdid themselves when they deemed carbon dioxide to be a hazardous pollutant in their sweeping "Carbon Endangerment Finding." Indeed, no longer are just SUVs killing the earth; each one of us is an emitter of a dangerous pollutant, killing the planet one breath at a time.
Using its bad science and bloated power, the EPA has been the Administration's weapon of choice against long-standing, inexpensive energy producers such as coal, oil, and even natural gas, driving energy prices sky high as a consequence. This gives Republicans a large platform to stand up for the American people and put an end to environmental policies that are hurting American families—especially the poor.
An executive agency this far out of touch with the needs and values of the United States holds no place of practical importance and there is no reason a Republican Congress can't reign in its power, save millions of jobs, ensure energy resources to power the future, and save the American people a lot of money in the process. No successful Republican majority would ignore it.
#3: The IRS
"The tax man" was perhaps the most hated arm of the federal government before it lent itself as a political weapon against the President's political enemies and became the taxing enforcement arm against those astute enough to forego enrolling for health insurance on Healthcare.gov. In 2014, there's no question.
For all intents and purposes, the Obama-led IRS has thoroughly trampled any and all credibility with the American people. The agency responsible for commandeering funds from your paychecks put the base of the Republican Party in its crosshairs in the middle of as many as two campaign seasons and they're now looking to legalize their actions. New regulations have been proposed that effectively prohibit free speech from 501(c)(4) political non-profits.
Congress has the responsibility to guarantee that political targeting from the IRS never again enters the American democratic arena again. Of course, because the IRS was led by a Democrat Administration and was not targeting liberal non-profits, Democrats won't say a word or lift a finger to stop the misconduct. This leaves Republicans with the unique prerogative to pass legislation protecting the free speech of 501(c)(4) non-profits from the IRS.
#4: The NSA
Simply put, "Big Brother" probably knows more about you than you have the clearance level to know.
The size and scope of NSA data collection and surveillance has gone beyond what many people thought possible—and the American people are unimpressed. Recent polling shows that most Americans now oppose the NSA surveillance and data collection and over 7-in-10 Americans are unwilling to sacrifice their privacy to the government for security.
Republicans would be smart to tap into this vein of public opinion and be a part of the solution to reform the NSA. Done correctly, it would go a long way to earn the trust of the Americans people while still protecting our national security interests.
#5: Executive Power Explosion
Barack Obama has made clear his intentions to assume to himself as much power from the people—through their elected representatives—as he possibly can. Whether it's changing the law on a whim, overreach from executive agencies, or executive orders, Barack Obama has put the Oval Office in a position of unprecedented—and unconstitutional—power.
Republicans are, at least nominally, the Party for the principles of limited government. Barack Obama's term and a half in office have flown in the face of any standards of limited government and has left the executive branch ripe for corrective action by the American people's legislative branch.
If Republicans hold any hope for legitimizing their Party and the principles of their base, they must take advantage of the opportunity to rein in the size and scope of government, and that begins with using their oversight functions combined with the Constitutional power of the purse to end Obama's power grab.
Tom Toth (@TomToth3) is the social media director for Americans for Limited Government and an editor for www.NetRightDaily.com.