Pitney on Republican Policy Ideas

Bloomberg news recently had an article in which Professor Pitney is quoted about Republican’s trying to reclaim their spot as the “ideas” party. Pitney suspects this year will not be the source of new policy ideas in the Republican party, and that maybe it shouldn’t be.

Still, the new approach may be a hard sell with voters after eight years of Republican control of the White House and six years of congressional domination, says John Pitney, a former Republican operative and political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California.

“People are going to scratch their heads and say, `If you have a whole bunch of new ideas, why didn’t you suggest them before?”’ Pitney says.

Gary Bauer, president of the Arlington, Virginia-based conservative advocacy group American Values, says the Republicans will remain devoted to low taxes, strong defense, and conservative social values. Yet the agenda also must become “more relevant to the guy who works with his hands,” he says.

That requires grappling with the issues these voters care about “front and center — health care and jobs, people who worry about their commute, our schools,” Cantor says.

Losing power in November may be just the impetus the Republicans need, Pitney says.

“A lot of Republicans privately are not going to be too disappointed if Obama wins, because everything bad that happens they can blame on Democrats and they’ll have time to reflect and come up with alternative policies,” Pitney says.

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