ROBERTSON: Opportunity knocks: Will the Republican Party answer?

December 10, 2016

As of January, the Republican Party will hold more elected offices than anytime in the last 80 years. We have elected a Republican president. Republicans control both chambers of Congress. And there’s a stronghold on control at the state level through large numbers of GOP governors and GOP-controlled legislatures.

We currently have the opportunity to make major changes at both the national and state levels. We can pursue all the economic policies we have argued will make our country thrive. We have the opportunity to pass common-sense immigration reforms we have talked about for years. We can reform our health care system and even finally address the looming cliff our Social Security system is quickly approaching. We can actually do something about the national debt. Simply put, we can do amazing things that will set our country and our states on the right path for decades.

Will we?

There is another path we can take. We are already starting to hear about the issues that will sidetrack us from where our efforts should be focused. Banning flag burning. Muslim registries. Punishing women seeking abortions. Massive deportations. Partisan paybacks and special interests. Or worst of all, empowering or giving any legitimacy to the so-called “alt-right,” which is really just code for racism and not Republican at all.

Will we appeal to the lowest common denominator or to our better angels? We have complete and total control. We will have no one to blame but ourselves if we do not go to work addressing the serious issues facing our country. Issues I have always believed can and should be solved through Republican leadership. We have all the opportunity and potential in the world. The question is whether we will live up to that potential.

Are we ready for this opportunity? Will we achieve what we should, or will we simply show we weren’t up to the task?

I spent the better part of my career working for this sort of political outcome because I believed Republicans were up to the challenge. In the last few years, I started to think perhaps my hopes were too high, too optimistic. Or, maybe I was young and drank too much of the Kool-Aid.

Taking full advantage of this tremendous opportunity will not be easy.

As we have seen here in Indiana, managing large electoral majorities is tricky. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have their work cut out for them. And so do Eric Holcomb, House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long.

We’ve seen Republican-led government generate huge successes here in Indiana when Gov. Daniels worked with both Bosma and Long to largely keep our focus on taking our state to the next level. So we know it can be done. We just have to have the strength to do it.

Despite some of the misgivings I’ve felt these past few years, I have faith that the GOP will govern pragmatically and responsibly in a way that will move our state and country forward and bring Americans together

All my party has to do is prove me right.•


Robertson is the executive director of Enterprise Republicans and runs her own consulting firm, Frontrunner Strategies. Send comments toibjedit@ibj.com.

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