by Lincoln Institute | February 14, 2022

By Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring

President Joe Biden just gave an enormous gift to the Republican Party in general and to the Republicans potentially running for President in 2024 in particular.  In cynically and sarcastically asking what are Republicans FOR, he gave Republicans a map that, properly followed, will lead them to victory.

Many of our American radio Journal listeners will remember the Contract with America that Newt Gingrich helped craft in 1994 that is credited with bringing in the largest Republican Congressional majority in 40 years – a time when Republicans didn’t have the advantage in generic party preference surveys that they now enjoy.  But while Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey are largely given the credit for that very positive vision and document, most don’t know how it came to be. It resulted from a highly professional focus group and statistical survey project led by pollster David Winston.  To simplify their rigorous process, they went through a long list of issues and positions and found ten that had 80 percent public support. As Gingrich famously asked afterwards, “What do you do when you find an 80 percent issue? You stand next to it and smile!”

Former Ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in the NY Post this week listed what she and her fellow Republicans are for. She said, “Republicans stand for everything America needs — especially right now. We are for … our country’s children to succeed and have the best shot at the best life. We fight for our kids’ education. We stand for keeping classrooms open and empowering families to choose the school that’s best for them. And we stand for ending critical-race-theory curricula and anything else that imparts discrimination and instructs kids that some of them are oppressors and others victims simply because of their skin color.

… Republicans stand for capitalism, the only system that can repair the economy.

… Republicans stand for public safety and strong borders. We support police — not call to defund them.

Every American wants to preserve the peace and prevent a war. That’s why Republicans stand for American strength…

Finally, and most important, every American wants America to survive. That’s why Republicans are fighting to defend our nation’s founding principles. We know our country isn’t perfect, but we also know the principles at the heart of our country are perfect.

Now is no time to swap liberty, opportunity, free speech and the rule of law for tyranny, censorship and the raw exercise of power. Now is the time to apply our principles to make our country freer, better and fairer for all.

What does the Republican Party stand for? Everything that makes America the best country in the world — everything that can make America even better. The real question is why Joe Biden and the Democratic Party don’t.”

Thank you, Governor Haley.

Indeed, Biden is surrendering much of this high ground in our national political discourse. Republicans should embrace the Biden-given opportunity to say what they are for.

Utah Republican Congressman Chris Stewart presented his own reply in the Deseret News just this week. He writes: “From speeches to press conferences to media gaggles, President Joe Biden has asked again and again: What are Republicans for?

.. The standard answer that many Republicans respond with is free enterprise, equal opportunity, freedom from big government and the protection of constitutional rights. And while I believe this answer may be accurate, I also believe it can be greatly simplified.

Mr. President, Republicans are for freedom.”

And thank you, Congressman Stewart.

There are many other things Republicans should be for, such as a consistently strong national defense, a responsible budget and tax policy, strengthening the family unit, economic opportunity for all without quotas, preferential classes and racial discrimination. Each one of these should be formulated into policy propositions that are rigorously tested with the American people to find the best way of presenting them so that they earn the 80% support that the ten elements of the Contract with America achieved. A campaign adopting that strategy will work, so Republicans should thank President Biden for suggesting it.

This has been Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring for American Radio Journal.