(I wholeheartedly agree with this. It’s something I’ve been pushing for for a while. – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)
While the MassGOP and House Republicans lick their wounds and try to set themselves up for more success in 2014, and maybe even the corner office, the most critical step in this process starts at the first GOP caucus in January.
The most important thing the Republican Party will do this year is draft an alternative budget (and get a vote on its passage)
First off, this shouldn’t be a “republican” budget. It’s an alternative budget meant to expose waste, fraud and other bloated spending on Beacon Hill. If Democrats want to sign on with this alternative budget, than they are more than able to, and be given every opportunity to.
Republicans lost for many reasons in 2012. I’m not going to bother going into the questions about how and why. Bringing the focal point of the discussion BACK to the budgets, where the money comes from and goes, than this can be “our” talking points.
The MassDems made a every candidate look like Todd Akin. Why? Because the last election cycle, “Republican Tea Party extremist (candidate X) ……..” However, bringing to light the budget process and proposing an alternative budget gives the Republicans (and any other lawmaker) something to stand behind.
For example, say the House Republicans propose an alternative budget that zero democrats support. Say that budget denies to illegal immigrants the ability of receiving tax-payer funded in-state tuition breaks. It gives every republican candidate a talking point in 2014. Essentially, it makes the democrat make a tough vote. If a democrat opposed the alternative budget, than s/he better be ready for the negative mailers in 2014.
Here is the way to optimize the effectiveness of this alternative budget:
-Whenever the first caucus is, the GOP needs to discuss how it will present its budget
This isn’t something that needs to be sprung on unsuspecting legislators. From day one, the House Republicans need to be discussing the strategy behind this budget. Also, it will quickly show the divide. If certain republican lawmakers chose not to partake in this process, than it will show who in the caucus is “with us” and who is “against us”.
As you can see from a previous article, I’m less than convinced real leadership will come from the House leadership. If someone who is in the minority of the minority (Jim Lyons, Mike Lombardo, Ryan Fattman, etc) proposes this to their own party, we can truly see who will support real reform and a real opposing viewpoint.
-The budget process should be over a month long, with public hearings, presentations, press releases, legislators’ amendments and more
Let’s make the alternative budget show how embarrassing the “real” budget process is. Have public hearings on it, allow legislators time to read, comprehend, and propose amendments to it. Make it all inclusive, instead of made in secret by three of four legislators.
-When finalized, offer it as an amendment to the “real” budget and get a roll call
Let as many democrats, or other State Representatives, vote against the budget. Give candidates something to talk about as they run in 2014.
Most importantly, doing the alternative budget will show the GOP is working hard for the taxpayers and is working even harder at providing an alternative viewpoint and ideas for their constituents.
The MassDems want to (and they have the money to) make every voter in the Commonwealth think that every Republican lawmaker is a gay bashing, woman hating extremist who only cares about saving fetuses and traditional marriage. This can bring the discussion back to the budget, corruption, and how we are genuinely the party of big ideas.
The biggest idea happens at the first caucus.
Matt Elder is a political consultant and Marlborough City Councilor. Follow him on Twitter @CouncilorElder