After spending months using gimmicks and “flimsy” websites attempting to convince voters they have fresh and substantive policy ideas, Republicans have all but conceded they don’t have any. Last month, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said that Republicans shouldn’t “lay out a complete agenda” because it could become a “campaign issue.” Just days later, the heads of the Republican congressional campaign committees — Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) — failed to name a single specific policy they support on NBC’s Meet The Press, instead suggesting that Americans intuitively “understand what Republicans stand for.”
This morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appeared on Bloomberg to discuss policy and the GOP agenda. But he didn’t have much to say either:
HOST: Do Republicans need to articulate what you would do in power, as opposed to simply campaigning against what the President’s done?
MCCONNELL: I think we clearly do need to make sure Americans know what we would do and we’re gonna make that announcement in late September so the voters will have an opp…
HOST: But you have an opportunity right here to spell it out.
MCCONNELL: Yeah but I think I won’t scoop myself. We’ll be making that announcement in late September.
It’s unclear why the GOP needs to wait months to announce their policies when it has been working on overcoming its branding as the “Party of No” since last year. In fact, the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), suggested that his committee be eliminated because other “solutions groups” were duplicating its work. Yet the GOP still has no coherent policy agenda – last month, RedState founder and staunch conservative Erick Erickson even told the party to “stop lying” and admit that it’s the “Party of No.”
But it’s not like the GOP has no ideas whatsoever. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) thinks that “all [Republicans] should do is issue subpoenas” if they win the House this fall. And House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who “doesn’t need to see GDP numbers or talk to economists” to determine policy, instead had lobbyists help him come up with a “new policy agenda.” More recently, the House Republican Study Committee issued a jobs plan that is a “huge doubling down on the Bush agenda” and “won’t effectively create jobs.”
Considering the total lack of smart, new ideas in the Republican party, it’s not a surprise that they need a lot more time to announce their agenda while their members are trying to duck scrutiny.