Mitch Daniels: Here's How to Trounce Obama
On Saturday May 5, President Obama kicked off his presidential campaign, and it became obvious that Republicans are facing an uphill battle. They will not get a fair shake from the mass media and will have to overcome the publicity given to an incumbent president, such as the recent Obama-Afghan photo op. American Thinker interviewed Republican Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (NC) and Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN) to get their thoughts on what the Republican message should be and how to get it across to the American public. Additionally, former CIA Director Michael Hayden weighed in on foreign policy issues.
Governor Daniels, a prominent Republican who is rumored to be a choice for vice president, told American Thinker at the Milken Institute Global Conference that "[m]edia bias is not the only thing Republicans have to live with. We need to tackle the stereotype that we are not empathetic. It is important to reach as many people as you can and make an effort not to drive anyone away. We need to communicate to people that we get it. We understand what is making them fearful and troubling them in their lives and that is also our first concern."
Although he would not talk about himself personally and whether he would accept the vice presidency if offered, Daniels did list the most important attribute Romney should consider: "unquestioned readiness. Someone who is competent enough, experienced enough, and mature enough to be able to step in. A VP choice can make a negative difference if people are uncomfortable with whoever was picked."
What does the governor think are the issues that should be emphasized, that alarm many Americans today? First and foremost are the deterioration of the economy and a sense that there is no longer upward mobility. Because of his time limits, Daniels could not discuss his plan in detail, but he did feel that tax rates must be lowered and loopholes have to be taken away. In his book, Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans, Daniels points out that what he did in his state can be applied nationally, by making private-sector job growth a leading goal of governmental policies. He directly commented, "We should be unapologetic for a pro-growth policy. We need to get more people working and have more money coming in to pay off our national bill. The safety net programs should be means-tested. Let's not send Warren Buffet a pension check. We need to paint a detailed optimistic picture to move back towards the America of promise."
He noted that although polls show that Americans do not want Social Security and Medicare touched, they also do not expect it to be there or to be a significant part of their retirement. "The mortal enemies of these programs are the people that tell us to just leave them alone. They know in their hearts they are talking BS; it's just plain mathematics. Let's not sell Americans short and assume they are gullible and incapable of digesting the simple facts."
Daniels would like to gain energy-independence by involving the private sector, much as was done with the Silicon Valley breakthrough. He sees an all-of-the-above approach as having a large impact: creating huge amounts of jobs and bringing in huge amounts of money and favorable long-term prospects for the entire country.
Congressman McHenry (R-NC) agrees with the need for the Republicans to have a clear vision of what America can be. "If President Obama gets a second term, that will confirm his health insurance policies, his tax increases, and his budget which never balances and has Social Security and Medicare going broke. We need a competing vision on the issues."
McHenry believes that Congress can have an impact; however, "the problem is still Harry Reid in the Senate. He will block any actions we take in the House. Even in areas where we can have a consensus." After repealing ObamaCare, McHenry would like Congress to tackle health care on issues of agreement: enabling Americans to buy insurance across state lines, allowing parents to have their children on their health insurance policies, high-risk pools, allowing care for pre-existing conditions and chronic diseases, and reforming medical malpractice. "Build it in a way that Americans can understand and support instead of having a 2,000-page bill that no one has read."
McHenry also told American Thinker that Congress is moving forward with a "Contempt of Congress resolution." "Attorney General Eric Holder's actions show absolute disdain on how he has treated the American people, Congress, and those he directs. His approach and actions along with his refusal to answer our questions regarding Fast and Furious show his disregard for America's system of checks and balances." He gave an example of how Holder does not want to be held accountable: that the AG never put a rebuke in anyone's file for his or her actions, and that no one has been held responsible or has been fired for the Fast and Furious fiasco.
There are a number of resolutions being considered by the 112th Congress regarding national security, including placing restraints on President Obama's ability to release funds to the Palestinians and placing more sanctions on Iran. McHenry commented, "Every time the president tries to establish a red line with his Middle East policy, he then backtracks. It has become a habit. We in the House want to make sure Iran has a very clear message since it will be very difficult to put that program back in the box once Iran establishes the capacity to create a nuclear weapon."
Congressman McHenry was asked about the Obama campaign ad that claimed that Governor Romney would not have gone after Osama bin Laden. He dismissed it as being over the top and feels that the American people will see it for what it is, not to mention that President Obama will stop at nothing to make a political point. He further noted, "This is what is disheartening about the Obama administration. In the areas where you can get some agreement, they still want to punch you in the face. This president has resorted to the most raw and disreputable partisanship that is just nasty and dumb."
Former CIA director Michael Hayden, a Romney advisor, pointed out to American Thinker that Governor Romney's words were taken out of context by the Obama ad. Romney's statement, according to Hayden, was in line with what "the current president is now saying. Getting OBL was good, but that does not mean the War on Terror is over. There are lots of other threats out there, which is pretty much what the whole Romney statement said."
There are those in the mass media who list foreign policy as a strength of President Obama. However, Hayden mentions the recent Afghanistan agreement and wonders in which direction the president is heading: is American staying or leaving? "This is not a good thing at all if what this administration is saying is that we are all done now and can move along."
Hayden cites the 2008 Obama statements condemning President Bush's foreign policy style, yet he notes that with North Korea and a Middle East peace agreement, America is exactly where we were when George W. Bush left office. He noted, regarding Iran, "In at least one sense, it could be thought of as America being worse off because the clock keeps ticking and [the Iranians] continue to build up their capabilities. If we are willing to accept, at the Baghdad meeting, Iran having up to a 5% enrichment, which is what has been rumored, that is a drastic change in American policy. I think the popular support for it will be contentious."
All interviewed agree with Governor Daniels in that "I think there is a majority that can be assembled who are not bothered by Romney's success as long as they believe that he has their interests at heart, just as the American public believed in Reagan, Kennedy, and FDR. It is important to reach as many people as possible with a sense of hope and promise. We need to take the message and be more passionate than the other side." There is also the need for Republicans to make sure that the American people understand that President Obama's policies have failed, be it on foreign affairs, his lack of imagination to move America to become energy-independent, or his health care bill. If Republicans can make the case, then Obama will hopefully be a one-term president.