Republicans need to focus on one issue at a time, explain publicly why their solution is better than President Barack Obama’s, and set up so much pressure that Democratic senators fall in line behind them, according to a group of lawmakers led by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson.
If they persevere, they can persuade voters to elect a GOP president and Senate in November, the Wisconsin freshman told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
Johnson heads up the group, known as America’s Choice, with the support of freshman Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, to highlight the difference between the approaches of the two main political parties. Five items really differentiate the Republicans from Obama, Johnson said.
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“The America’s Choice agenda is really all about a strategy to break through the communication barrier and compete with the presidential bully pulpit,” said Johnson, who used tea party support in 2010 to help him topple one of the most liberal senators, Democrat Russ Feingold.
Johnson, Wisconsin’s first Republican senator in 18 years, listed those items as:
- The size and role of government — “President Obama wants a large government, intrusive and controlling. We want to grow the private sector to reduce our debt.”
- Energy exploitation — “President Obama is all about limiting the use of our domestic energy resources, we actually want to utilize that.”
- Government regulations — “We don’t want to eliminate regulations, but we want to first put a moratorium on them to give businesses a chance to grow and heal.”
- Tax reform — “President Obama is playing class division. He’s about punishing success. We want pro-growth tax reform.”
- Healthcare — “President Obama wants to take over one-sixth of our economy, which will do great harm to our healthcare system as well as blow a hole in our already horribly broken budget. We want to repeal that and replace it with patient-centered, free market-based reforms.”
All GOP members of Congress have to unite behind the five principles, one-by-one, and take them to the American public, Johnson said. Even if they don’t get laws passed, they will set the tone for the November elections, he said.
“Our financial situation is dire in this country, and the need to address it is urgent. We can’t afford to have a prevent defense strategy and just limp over the finish line to victory.”
Johnson said he hopes the Supreme Court will do the heavy lifting on healthcare by declaring Obamacare unconstitutional. Otherwise, he believes, it would take both a Republican president and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate to overturn the law.
“But we certainly can, through the budget process, defund the implementation of Obamacare and that would be the next best thing. But let’s keep our fingers crossed, let the Supreme Court take a look at this and rule it as unconstitutional.”
Johnson accused Democrats of being beholden to extreme environmentalists in their rejection of both drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.
Alaskans want drilling and their view about their own environment is more important than those of people in California, New York or Massachusetts, he said, declaring: “If Alaskans want to drill in ANWR, we should let Alaskans drill in ANWR.”
The pipeline will be built unless Obama declares it against the national interest, Johnson said. “If you take a look at the 20,000 jobs the construction would create; you take a look at the $20 billion in private sector investment; you take a look at the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be created long-term; and the impact on our energy prices, I think it will be very difficult for President Obama to make that determination.”
Johnson also expressed his support for his state’s governor, Scott Walker, who is facing a recall petition following his successful bid to rein in the power of public-sector unions. “I don’t care where you are in the political spectrum, in Wisconsin, we actually had a governor and members of our Legislature under public levels of intimidation. There is an email that went around saying ‘We are going to put a bullet in your head, we know where you and your family live.’ This is young legislators, women with children.
“But we actually had elected officials that understood we had a problem and had the courage, against that level of intimidation, to make the tough choices and take the tough votes.
“It would be a horrible signal for other elected officials who are going to have to show courage to start solving these problems in America, which are, honestly, 1,000 times worse, to say your reward for showing courage is to be turned out of office and not even to be able to serve the full term to which you were elected.”
Johnson said no American wants to see public-sector workers underpaid, but a recent USA Today survey showed that the average cost of hiring a federal employee is $123,000, double that of a worker in the private sector.
”That’s simply not sustainable,” he said.
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