Writing in the Wall Street Journal today, Karl Rove outlines what Republicans need to do to win the messaging war on the Ryan budget. According to Rove, the majority of voters in NY-26 agreed with the GOP arguments for Medicare reforms, but the candidate Republican Jane Corwin failed to get these arguments out to the public:
An earlier, more aggressive explanation and defense of the Ryan plan would have turned the issue: 55% in the Crossroads survey [of voters in the NY-26 district] agreed with GOP arguments for the Ryan reforms while just 36% agreed with the Democrats’ arguments against it.
Rove proposes that Republicans create a “political war college” to educate members on how to publicize these arguments:
Congressional Republicans—especially in the House—need a political war college that schools incumbents and challengers in the best way to explain, defend and attack on the issue of Medicare reform. They have to become as comfortable talking about Medicare in the coming year as they did in talking about health-care reform last year.
The reason why Ryan has been so successful at town halls is because he has an strong grasp of the budget issues and he’s excellent at articulating the arguments. Other members who don’t focus solely on the budget will understandably have a more difficult time explaining the details to their constituents.
Rove is right. Republicans need to go on the offense, but they will also need help to stay on message, especially when they’re speaking off-the-cuff at town halls. Setting up a crash course on the best way to articulate budget arguments is something that the House GOP should look into.