By Elise Cooper
This past Tuesday, President Obama declared in his State of the Union address that he would take executive authority, promising "a year of action." He changed his talking points from economic inequality to opportunity for those economically disadvantaged. He wants to increase the minimum wage for federal employees and extend unemployment benefits. Although conservatives also want opportunity, they see the path to betterment through smaller government. It appears that many Americans agree, since in a recent poll, only 37% trust the president to make the right decisions. American Thinkerinterviewed those who want to elect officials who support conservative policies.
Scottie Nell Hughes, the news director for the Tea Party News Network, is hoping the Republican establishment will work with the grassroots effort so all will be on the same page. She agrees with the theme of opportunity and regards the 2014 election as one where "people will be concerned with their pocketbooks. It does not matter if someone is an independent, a moderate, or a conservative; what Americans want are ideas on how they can better themselves. I do not think we should make the focus of any conservative campaign solely social issues. We need to put ourselves on the offense, be respectful, but quit biting our tongue. We should utilize what bonds us with everyone else, like lower taxes, establishing new jobs, and getting rid of ObamaCare."
Evan Feinberg, president of Generation Opportunity, takes the battle to the college campuses. His organization is a grassroots advocacy group that will go to college football tailgates, set up tables at college campuses, and attempt to mobilize through social media. Their main focus currently is to point out the demons of ObamaCare.
Evan referred to the Jimmy Kimmel spoof that disparages ObamaCare and those of his age who are uninformed. For him, one line summarizes it all: "You young people are paying for our drugs and our doctors. Not to mention our social security and our Medicare." Contrast this with the ads rolled out by the Obama administration suggesting that if young people sign up for ObamaCare, they can lounge around in their pajamas, rap like a presidential look- alike, or, for women, sleep around. Evan told American Thinker, "You can have all the celebrities in the world, but the ads will not be successful because they are selling a bad product. We point out to our peers to opt out of ObamaCare because this is a bad deal, where we have to pay more for a poorer-quality product."
He also discusses opportunity but sees it as something the older generation has squandered from the Millennials. Citing the statistic that those 18 to 29 are unemployed at a much higher rate, 15.9%, he encourages his generation to elect officials who "will put the next generation before the next election. We see the older generation as the ones who put us out of work with their spending programs. They have made my generation's life worse through irresponsible decisions. The issue is not our selfishness, but caring about our country, peers, and family."
Hadley Heath, the director of health policy at the Independent Women's Forum, agrees and also points out that young people are paying more than what their risk factor reflects, and that even with subsidies, the premium cost is not covered. She told American Thinker that the president, just as he did in his State of the Union address, has touted equality for women regarding health care, promising women the same premiums as what men pay. Yet "women need to understand the downside and consequences. There is still a substantial increase for women: a thirty-year-old man will have a 270% premium increase on average, while a woman that age will still have a 190% increase."
The president misleads the young women even when he speaks of equal pay for equal work. Both Hadley and her colleague Carrie L. Lukas point out that this supposed inequality is due to the diverseness of women, not to discrimination. In health care, women are more proactive in seeking preventive care and many times make health care decisions for their dependents. Regarding workforce pay, Carrie, in an article for National Review Online, describes the disparities in pay due to the different choices men and women make regarding working hours, industry, and job specialty, which are "the primary drivers of the wage gap."
Matt Walter, the political director of the Republican State Leadership Committee, feels that the Democrats will continue to try to campaign on this "war on women." He says the goal of the Republicans is to elect more women to office. He feels that those running for federal office should look at what state officials have accomplished: "Republicans need to speak to their communities. State officials have a much more favorable rating because they are doing more in the areas of economic development, job-creation, and getting things accomplished. They are pushing back against the federal overreach."
It seems that Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), in her official Republican response, took a page from the playbook — as the Washington Post reported, "mixing plain-spoken platitudes with tenderly told stories about her children and her blue-collar roots." Walter feels that Republicans need to empower women, since many have the same priorities and issues as male voters. "We need to point out that the way the Democrats speak to women is patronizing. Women's issues are not limited to their reproductive issues. Republicans should not water down where they stand on the social issues, but they can echo their belief in a respectful, thoughtful, and empathetic way. With that said, those running for office should be asking women voters, what is the most important issue facing them today, and who is best suited to help solve that issue?"
Everyone interviewed agrees that the 2014 election is a turning point. Republicans need to show why they are not the party of no, but are the ones to best raise the standard of living for all Americans. They have to make sure the that Democrats' divide-and-conquer policy according to race, gender, and age is not successful. If Republicans nominate intelligent candidates who want to be problem-solvers, they should, in 2014, be able to win a majority in both the House and the Senate, where they can then get to work on making America great again.
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.