The Washington Post

A bold Republican economic message

After the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, the GOP slugfest will continue. The primaries aren’t pretty, but the Grand Old Party sure is getting a lot of attention.

The Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, should use his authority to encourage campaigns and party leaders to do a better job of talking about economic issues and how we should respond to the almost weekly economic data updates. We should use the stage, no matter how cluttered it is right now, to present a more coherent economic alternative to President Obama.

As less terrible economic data begin their inevitable emergence from the wasteland of the Great Recession, Republicans are on their back foot.  The Democratic president gets gushing credit for any hint of economic improvement. We Republicans respond with a mix of messages including: The economy is not getting better, it’s getting better but with no thanks to Obama, or it might look better, but it’s really not.

None of these messages are winners or even accurate. The Republican Party should already be making a big offer and introducing a bold vision for balanced books and strong growth. We should not just carp about whether there is incremental improvement. Keep the Paul Ryan budget alive, talk about it, update it, vote on it; talk about the Tea Party balanced budget plan released last week, and most important, get a mile ahead of Obama by advocating for and describing how 5 percent growth would change America.

The 2012 campaigns and other GOP leaders need to do more to vividly contrast the puny natural improvements under Obama vs. the robust world that a pro-growth Republican presidency would bring.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.

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