What are you gonna do?
If you don't tell voters what you plan to do once they elect you, there are no campaign promises to fulfill and your opponents can't attack you on your agenda during the campaign. That's why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) long-held philosophy is that silence is the best policy. Asked about the GOP's 2022 midterms agenda in January, McConnell told reporters, "I'll let you know when we take it back."
"McConnell may be irked, then, that a member of his leadership team released an agenda of his own on Tuesday morning," Jim Newell suggests at Slate. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) published his 31-page, 11-point GOP governing blueprint because, he told Politico, it's "important to tell people what we're gonna do."
Scott chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP's campaign arm, but he said this is his own plan, not the NRSC's.
Scott's agenda would bar the federal government from asking citizens about their race or ethnicity — even on the Census — or their sexual preference or "gender identity." He would have all school kids learn patriotism and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, ban indoctrinating kids with "political ideology," and eliminate the Department of Education.
"The document is largely a compilation of culture war grievances," Newell writes. "But wedged between the cultural huffing and snorting, there are some policy prescriptions that you might hear about for the rest of the campaign cycle — in attacks from Democrats."
Scott is effectively "rekindling the same issue that led Mitt Romney to stumble into his '47 percent' gaffe," Aaron Blake explains at The Washington Post. Romney was covertly filmed in 2012 telling donors he would tackle the 47 percent of "takers" who don't pay federal income tax, he adds, but in 2020 "that number climbed as high as 61 percent," meaning that by the GOP's own criteria, Scott is proposing to raise taxes on between 75 million and 100 million Americans.
"You begin to see the potential political problem here," Blake writes. "The political ads almost write themselves."
Scott may get points for frankness. But really, "McConnell's strategy of not previewing an agenda is more honest, because the agenda is to deprive Democrats of the ability to do what they want" until at least 2024, Newell argues. "Scott's agenda isn't a preview of what Republican congressional majorities would do after the midterms. It's a preview of the Republican presidential primary."