Stop Being So Gloomy, Republicans -- LEAD
By Edward Pozzuoli
In the wake of the recent presidential election, many Republicans across the country remain shell-shocked, some on suicide watch, with doom and gloom lurking on every corner. We thought we had this election wrapped up.
Despite a barely limping economy (one more sluggish than it would otherwise be but for President Obama’s big-government, Keynesian policy prescriptions) the Romney-led GOP still couldn’t seal the deal and recapture the White House. And so, the reality of an Obama second term has set in, and it’s proving to be an extraordinarily difficult pill to swallow.
It’s time for the GOP to snap out of it.
Understandably, one of the big concerns right now is that if the Republican message didn’t resonate after four years of basically 8-percent unemployment, will it ever? The answer is a resounding “yes.” But it will take Republicans re-acquainting themselves with the strength of our free market principles and convictions and our unyielding support of the American Dream.
Republicans need to brush themselves off, regroup and lead. We need to revisit our inner Ronald Reagan, in particular, his “Shining City on a Hill.” It was Reagan’s incredibly inspiring vision of America—this unwavering belief that smaller government and pro-growth, free market policies could truly lift all Americans—that lifted our country once. The good news is that it can happen again.
Specifically, we need to focus our energies on policies that help not just those who are prosperous, but those not yet prosperous, who possess the ambition and work ethic to become prosperous. We must offer a compelling vision which motivates and inspires citizens to seek their share of the American Promise; that through hard work, the possibilities are limited only by an individual’s capability and drive. Our priorities must be singularly driven to support and create an environment where all Americans have the opportunity to experience prosperity.
Those in the commentariat often write about “true believer” Republicans in a pejorative sense, but little do they know, they’re paying us “true believers” the ultimate compliment. Yes we do believe our rhetoric about economic and personal freedom– that’s why we’re Republicans. And if the Republican Party can get its zest for freedom and growth back, soon enough its majority will extend beyond the House of Representatives and governorships.
Republicans are the party of the American dream. It’s been said that other than joining the military, the second most assimilative act an immigrant can do is to join the Republican Party. We’re the party that says “You most certainly did build that”, and because we are, we’re the party that believes hard work should be rewarded with low rates of taxation.
Far from the party of forced wealth redistribution through the tax code, we’re the party that says let’s use the tax code to remove the investment barriers that keep so much wealth locked up in so few hands. We say lower the cost of investment through a reduction of the capital gains rate to zero, so that those with wealth have every incentive possible to shift that wealth to tomorrow’s entrepreneurs in the form of investment, not handouts.
No doubt, there’s a need for a safety net for those down on their luck, though what kind of safety net is for a discussion another time. What can’t be doubted, however, and this is true whether you’ve got a D or an R next your name, is that the greatest safety net by far, one that brings with it positive national security dividends, is a booming economy.
The Republicans know that the quickest path to a roaring economy is also the simplest path. An economy is nothing more than a collection of individuals, and if you want individuals to thrive, you must remove the tax, regulatory, trade and monetary barriers to productivity. In short, make taxes and regulation light, trade free, and money sound, and the economy will soar.
To truly unleash the American economic engine, we need those ambitious individuals who’ve reached our shores from all points around the world. Far from an immigration skeptic, Reagan properly felt that Americans aren’t a race as much as they’re a striving, multi-racial ideal of the world’s most ambitious. As such, he correctly believed that every time an immigrant arrived on these shores that America became more American.
An economy is not a blob; it’s a collection of individuals. When we take in the world’s most ambitious and embrace their desire to be Americans, we increase our economic chances exponentially.
Lest we forget, the late Steve Jobs was of Syrian descent, Intel co-founder Andy Grove came to the U.S. from Hungary, and then Google’s Sergey Brin was born inRussia. Immigrants bring to us essential knowledge and impressive drive, so rather than shun them, it’s essential for the party of the American Dream and economic growth to figure out a way to at the very least legalize all work; U.S. citizenship perhaps a more distant object.
We need to speak with passion like Marco Rubio does when he talks of his experience as a first generation American. We need to speak with purpose like Jeb Bush does when advocating for educational choice targeted at providing greater control to parents (particularly, minority parents). We need to speak like Jack Kemp did when debating the virtues of pro-growth policies that benefitted ALL Americans – including Democrats. We can’t cede the debate on immigration, education or the economy and we must engage in the battle of ideas with all segments of society—to ignore any group, is to truly become irrelevant. In short, we must lead and lead with real solutions.
Ultimately, Republicans need to remind themselves that if they’re not the party of economic growth and American dreaming, then they’re a party without a message; or, more to the point, they’re in the minority. Economic growth is what animates the party’s leadership and its base of voters, but most important to true-believer Republicans, pro-growth policies lift the boats of every American, irrespective of ideology.
Because they do it’s necessary that Republicans get back to work on spreading their vision of freedom and prosperity. As Ronald Reagan said “To sit back hoping that someday, someway, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last—but eat you he will”.
Now is no time for us to stand aside. Our ideas work. And they will put Americans back to work.
We are compelled to lead.
Ed Pozzuoli is the President of the law firm Tripp Scott in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Most recently, he served as a campaign advisor to Ambassador Jon Huntsman during the 2012 Republican Primaries.