GOP Begins Nationwide Effort to Emphasize Policy Initiatives
Friday, May 1, 2009
Looking to rebut Democratic criticisms that the GOP represents little more than the "Party of No," some leading Republicans announced yesterday that they will hold a series of campaign-style events around the country to tout their policy ideas and develop new ones.
With polls showing that many Americans view GOP opposition to President Obama's agenda as Republicans simply playing politics, key party figures, including Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, will hold forums to discuss issues such as education and health care and to tout Republican proposals.
The project is dubbed the National Council for a New America, and its first event is tomorrow in Arlington. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney will speak and take questions from about 70 people at an Italian restaurant.
GOP officials have complained that their alternative proposals to bills pushed through by the Democratic Congress have not received enough attention from the media and thus have been ignored by most Americans. They hope that using high-profile figures such as Bush will ensure that voters learn more about Republicans' ideas.
Cantor, who spearheaded the creation of the group, emphasized that this is not an effort at "rebranding" the GOP and that the group's leaders do not include any of the figures aggressively calling for the party to move to the center, such as Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Cantor said the group wanted to start a "conversation" on five key issues: education, health care, energy, the economy and national security.
"This is an effort to engage the American people in a conversation," Cantor said in a conference call with reporters yesterday.
The group's list of issues excluded same-sex marriage, immigration and abortion, which some party strategists say help pull swing voters away from the GOP. McCain said group leaders invited Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, his running mate in 2008, and think she will participate.