House Stategery: An Internal Memo From Leadership

Thaddeus McCotter is a member of the GOP Leadership in the House and one of the sharper guys up there. His office forwarded over an internal memo about the election today that I liked enough to share.


To: Honorable U.S. House Republicans

From: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, Republican House Policy Chair

Date: May 19, 2008

Subj: Waging and Winning a “Change” Election:

Make It a Choice Not a Referendum


We’ve a tiger by the tail and he’s dumping on us. U.S. House Republicans are a legislative minority tied to an unpopular, departing President during a “change” election. Thus, we must stop feeding the kitty by waging a public “referendum” on ourselves as Republicans; instead, we must wage and win a “choice” election against Democrats.


To do so, we must surmount several challenges, some of them self-inflicted.

1. Rifles vs. Shotguns: House Republicans are not a President, a parliamentary party, or sane people’s paramount interest. In the larger electoral environment, we cannot attempt to “re-brand” the entire party in Americans’ minds. We must focus our goals and energies; play to our strengths; and win.

2. Computers vs. Chisels: For over two election cycles the Left has pummeled us with millions of dollars of negative attacks through their 527s and other outside groups (including the biased media). Also, the Left has improved their technological weaponry, notably fundraising and advertising on the internet. While legally we can only hope our activists someday match the Left’s external political infrastructure, we can improve our internal technological infrastructure and stop waging campaigns armed with the modern equivalents of stone tablets and chisels.

3. Symptoms vs. Diseases: Spending was a symptom of a deeper disease — it did not cause the Katrina fiasco, a failed Iraqi reconstruction, or the Foley scandal. We must frankly diagnose and eradicate the deeper lapse of principles that spurred all of our problems; rectify this disease; and redeem ourselves by offering a broader, more purposeful vision for America. If we do not, we will continue to lose within the Democrats’ narrow, undefined political prism of “change”.

4. Homicide vs. Suicide: The Democrats want to kill us off. We must not help them by committing suicide. Following their successful 2006 “rubber stamp for Bush” election, the Democrats again seek a national referendum on us. Thus, we must stop running public referendums upon ourselves, because it abets the Democrats’ goal. Remember: a self-obsessed quest for an illusory ideological purity will put our conservative philosophy into a permanent minority.


Opportunities exist which we must seize to win.

1. Character vs. Chameleons: Our core principles are still shared by the majority of Americans. (See the RHPC’s American Empowerment Agenda.) This was proven in the special elections, where the Democrats ran “chameleon candidates.” Running with the courage of our convictions, we can unmask and defeat these impostors.

2. Tomorrow vs. Yesterday: Though they have destroyed public trust in Congress, it’s too early to for a flat-out referendum on the Democrats. We must make it too late for another referendum on our lame duck President. Let Democrats whine about yesterday while we focus on tomorrow. Americans know a party of change doesn’t dwell on the past.

3. Direction vs. Detour: The Democrats’ Presidential primary is our road map to victory. Culturally conservative Democrats — especially blue-collar, ethnic Catholics — have already voted against the Leftist Obama. Ironically, the ultra-liberal Clinton showed us who they are and where they live. These voters are in play and, though we once took them for granted, we can and must win them back.

4. Mavericks vs. Hacks: Each member must be able to augment their core principles with issues that maximize their in-district appeal. Our Conference must not impose an arbitrary ideological litmus test or label upon any member, for it will harm every member’s personal ability to appeal to their constituency and win.


Wage and win a choice campaign.

1. Principled: Reaffirm and differentiate our core principles against the Democrats’ chameleon conservatives and unmask them before the electorate.

2. Purposeful: Challenge Americans to higher purposes than mere self-interest and promote the policies that will accomplish these goals. (Reference materials include the Leader’s Reasons to Believe, the RHPC’s American Empowerment Agenda, the House Republican Conference’s continuing series of issue roll outs, etc…)

3. Strategic: Each member must identify and capture Republicans and culturally conservative swing voters by articulating core principles and personalizing district-specific policies that appeal to voter’s higher aspirations and immediate concerns.

4. Tactical: To maximize the voters’ choice in this election, members must fairly tie Democratic candidates to their Presidential candidate; Senate and House “leadership”; and insane Left-wing organizations. There is a reason the radical Left is supporting “conservative” Democrats. We must let the voters know it.

5. Victorious: If you believe in you, others will believe in you. And you will win.


The first step toward winning a change election is for House Republicans to choose to run a choice election. If we do, House Republicans will commence what Rep. Randy Forbes has rightfully cited as the most critical change in this election: We will make our supporters proud of us. If we do, they will rally to our shared cause and America will win.

Addendum: A GOP Candidate Defining the Choice

Theme: We can’t afford the Democrats’ dangerous change. I’ll fight for the change our families deserve. (To the tune of “Rice-a-Roni”): Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Threat.

Gas Prices and Energy: The Democrats’ Energy Deficit is a dangerous change that spikes our gas prices. I’ll fight for the American energy production and independence our families deserve. Pelosi’s bad gas is asphyxiating our economy.

Economy: Our family budgets can’t afford the Democrats’ dangerous change of higher taxes and bigger government. I’ll fight for the lower taxes and better government our families deserve. Democrats want to fix a broken government by making it bigger.

Health Care: The Democrats’ want a dangerous change to government dictated rationing of medicine. I’ll fight for the patient-centered health care our families deserve. Democrats want a government that can’t process tax rebates to perform heart transplants.

Security: The Democrats’ dangerous change dropped America’s guard against our enemies and threatens our families’ security. I’ll fight for the national security our families deserve. If Iraq made us less safe, why did Democrats make it harder to catch terrorists?

Bonus Track: It is the People’s House not Pelosi’s House!

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