Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, are assembling a new team to get out the GOP message.
Roll Call reports:
McConnell still is assembling his team, but the incoming Minority Leader is working to hire a handful of message, new media and speech-writing staffers to work for the new communications arm. It is expected to be up and running before Jan. 3, when the Senate reconvenes for the 110th Congress.
McConnell currently is coordinating with the other five incoming GOP leaders and rank-and-file party members to figure out ways to increase their participation in communicating the Republican message. He also is working with other Senators and leaders to carve out particular roles, in both policy and communications, to advance the party’s goals.
McConnell wants the party’s communications operation to be a “team” effort that taps into the strengths of individual Senators, sources close to the Senator said.
This is welcome news. Now that congressional conservatives are in the minority, message, not legislation, is the name of the game. Democrats are in control and they will schedule legislation for both the House and Senate floors. Republicans must find a way to get their message out no matter what bills Dems bring to the floor.
The tools to do this exist, especially in the Senate. The great freedom senators enjoy allows them to offer amendments to virtually any legislative vehicle crossing the Senate floor. Every liberal bill scheduled for floor debate must be seen as an opportunity for conservatives to change the conversation by offering their alternatives.
Additionally, with 49 Republicans in the minority, McConnell will have all the leverage he needs to slow down or stop big spending liberal bills. But when Republicans do this, they need to make it clear that they are not obstructing progress in the Senate. Rather, they need to explain that they are fighting for the American taxpayer’s right to keep more of the money he or she earns.
A final thought: when Republicans proposed the Contract with America in 1994 they did not necessarily emphasize “conservatism.” Rather, they emphasized conservative issues that were popular with conservatives, moderates and even some liberals (think welfare reform). There is nothing wrong with conservatives picking agenda items that are popular with a broad swath of the American people and then employing the proper messaging strategy to push those agenda items.