A Teleconference With Congressman Jeff Flake And the Club For Growth’s Pat Toomey

I just got off of a teleconference with Congressman Jeff Flake and Pat Toomey from the Club for Growth. Here are my notes (not quotes) from the teleconference:

Jeff Flake: This disastrous election we just had wasn’t a result of the war or the Foley scandal, it was because we as a party need a course correction. Earmarking really came back to bite us. I think we Republicans simply lost our brand name. We are no longer considered to be the party of limited government and that came back to hurt us badly.

Pat Toomey: This election wasn’t a repudiation of conservatism, it was a repudiation of Republicans. We did a Sunday night poll in the seats we thought were most likely to switch. They didn’t believe the GOP was the party of limited government and fiscal discipline. When we asked which party was the party of big government, the Republican Party won that by 11 points over Democrats.

In response to a question, Flake said that he thinks there needs to be a change in leadership.

Question from me: To convince the voters we’re serious about fiscal conservatism again, do we need to push a big idea like the Balanced Budget Amendment or do we need to nibble away at it an earmark at a time.

Jeff Flake: For us to have credibility on the big ideas, we need to push the little ideas, too. But, we should do both.

Pat Toomey: We’re not wild about the Balanced Budget Amendment. We think it could end up being an excuse to raise taxes. We do need to call the Democrats on fiscal responsibility issues. They’ve been saying that’s what they believe, so let’s support them on fiscal responsibility issues and see if they’ll put their money where their mouth is.

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