October 21 2010

IWF in the News: Palin Not Playing Well With Others? Plus, What Would You Ask President George W. Bush?

Sabrina Schaeffer

Mr. President:

1. Although your effort to reform the nation's Social Security system was unsuccessful, it helped loosen the Democratic grip on the issue and launch a national discussion about entitlement spending. What lessons did you learn from the experience? How can Republicans demonstrate to voters that reforming Social Security through market-based solutions would secure solvency increase individual freedom?

2. At the time of the Social Security debate, I conducted an experiment that attempted to replicate the political discourse and partisan divide. I found that the White House's effort to reach beyond traditional coalition lines - to social groups like low-income Americans - was not effective in generating support for reform. Nor did it moderate pre-existing stereotypes about the GOP or improve the public's perception of the Republican Party. Instead my findings reinforced the notion that the public simply takes its cues from the partisan divide and largely forms its opinions based on party identification. How do you think the Republican Party can get beyond this? What needs to be done to change the way voters perceive the GOP? And, how can we make free-market solutions more palatable?

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