What Republicans could learn from NY race

Winningreen Issue Alert       A052611

What Republicans could learn from defeat in NY congressional race

By Gretchen Randall

Date: May 26, 2011

After Republicans lost a special election in a very Republican district in upstate New York on Tuesday, the media and many Democrats blamed it on Republican support for Paul Ryan’s budget plan which includes reforming Medicare.  Leading up to the election, Democrats ran TV ads showing hypothetical Republicans shoving Grandma off a cliff, and did “shamelessly distort and demagogue the issue to scare seniors” as Ryan himself admitted.

However,  Republicans did little to help themselves.  They floundered in town hall meetings during the Easter recess, unable to answer voters’ questions and allowed Democrats to convince seniors that under the Ryan plan, Republicans would dissolve Medicare.  Here are some of our ideas on what Republicans can now do to repair the damage and still win the argument:

    √  It may have been better for such a significant proposal to come from a presdiential candidate, but now that the plan has passed the House, don’t run away from it.
    √  Explain the plan in simple terms to all members of the House and Senate so they can defend it as well as Paul Ryan.  Beyond talking points, members must be educated on the “why” and “how” of the plan so they feel comfortable answering constituent questions.
    √  Simplify the message — don’t get too wonky.  We’ve seen Paul Ryan’s detailed video (link below).  The message must be shorter and simpler:  “No change for current recipients.”  or  “Medicare will go bankrupt in a few years unless we work together to save it now.” 
    √  Make sure voters know Obama would have 15 bureaucrats decide what healthcare, drugs and procedures seniors would be allowed to have.  Neither they nor their doctor would have a choice.
    √  Counter Democrat ads which are filled with lies with ads explaining the true situation.  Don’t let lies go unanwsered.
    √  Acknowledge that this is a “blueprint” and is open to changes if only the president or Democrats would negotiate.  It is not the only or necessarily the final answer to saving Medicare.
    √  Begin a national message campaign to explain to voters that without some change, Medicare will soon be bankrupt. It’s better to spend some campaign money now rather than wait nearer election time when it may be too late.
    √   Make job creation and growing the economy a top priority as well.  (House Republicans introduced  their plan today.)  Read:  http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55755.html

Links: See a video of Ryan explaining his plan:  http://paulryan.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=242931  with links to myths and facts about the issue.

Contact: Gretchen Randall
Winningreen LLC
Chicago, IL
Phone: 773-857-5086
e-mail: grandall@winningreen.com