Let me state that whoever leads the party and whoever becomes the candidate in 2012 must be, in the words of Joe Biden, "...articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking."
She aces "bright," "clean," and "nice-looking;" but much as I love Governor Palin, she did not demonstrate "articulate" during the recent campaign.
Why is this so important? I think that while we have seen that George W. Bush has been an effective administrator in protecting the country for the last 8 years, his inability to communicate his plans and directions ceded to his opponents the marketplace of ideas and opinions. So his accomplishments (no attacks on the order of 9/11, forstalling a depression in 2002, etc.) became not victories, but clubs used by the left to beat him.
James Pethokoukis points out that if the Democratic plans for US health care policy proceed unopposed, Conservatives may never recover the ground. He makes this observation:
3) Republicans better learn to competently talk healthcare.Mr. Pethokoukis ends with this:
John McCain's healthcare plan was perhaps the most provocative policy proposal of the entire 2008 campaign. Too bad he could neither fully explain how it worked nor persuasively argue why it was better than Barack Obama's plan. Also too bad since his plan would have smartly reduced healthcare costs by getting companies out of the healthcare benefits business and empowering individuals to buy insurance on their own. This would have helped fix what economist Arnold Kling calls the insurance vs. insulation problem: "Insulation relieves the patient of the stress of making decisions about treatment. The patient also does not have to worry about shopping around for the best price. The problem with insulation is that it is not a sustainable form of healthcare finance."
Another interesting healthcare reform option is highlighted by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam in the book Grand New Party. Uncle Sam would require individuals and families to put 15 percent of their income into health savings accounts. If you run out of money before year-end, the government steps in. If you don't, you get the money back or it rolls over into a retirement account. Of course, any conservative alternative would be easier to implement if it doesn't first have to kill an existing nationalized health plan. But thanks to Tom Daschle, that is just what might have to happen.