So here are some areas he highlighted, and my thoughts on them (all quotes: sic; I'm not a proofreader). I'll follow up with a couple more at the end.
On immigration, has anyone defined what the word "amnesty" means? We can't simply say "follow existing law", because than entails kicking in doors at 2am and dragging mothers away from their children (which looks bad on the evening news). It would be good to have a well written position on what true conservatives want.Amnesty means "officially not administering just punishment for a crime." Any "path to legalization" or "path to citizenship" is Amnesty.
Step 1 (before anything else) secure the border (or take real, substantive steps to secure it). Step 2 Make explicit that illegal aliens are not eligible for any federal benefit, reduce Medicaid payments to States who pay State benefits for illegal aliens. Step 3 Come down like "a ton of rectanular building things" on any employer- large or small- found to be hiring illegals. Step 4 expedite deportation hearings, stop releasing illegals into their own recognizance.
2: ObamaCare/Health Care/Health Insurance
On healthcare, certainly everyone wants Obamacare repealed, but that's not a position. Never in the history of the U.S. has the government been able to give citizens free shit and then turn around and take it back. Those who think this is an option just aren't being serious. We need a conservative plan on what is going to replace Obamacare.
Burn it down.
Scatter the stones.
Salt the earth where it stood.
The federal government has no authority over health care/health insurance. The only space where the feds have authority is to end the prohibition on interstate sale of insurance. Would consider making personal health insurance tax deductible, just like employer coverage... but that has issues (since I want the tax code to be much less complex).
3: Defense (esp. Defense Budget)
On defense, some are taking the position that patriotism can be gauged by how much we spend on the military. Others know that at some point, enough is enough. It's hard to make the case of being a budget hawk while handing out blank checks. We should nail this down so that voters know where we're at.
I'm sorry, Hawks, we don't have money. I don't want to cut defense spending, but neither can we let it grow (or, at least, grow much). Let's fix the procurement process, cut out the "diversity" stupidity, and see any other avenues available to make the defense budget more efficient. If that's still not enough, *then* we can talk about more money.
4: Social Security
On Social Security, for decades the holy grail of the conservative side of the aisle was a plan to privatize SS. If this is still the plan, it could be marketed in such a way as to gain the black vote. Of course, our side needs to agree on plan first.
One-time payment of "your" SS money into an IRA. Retirement planning is your business, not Daddy Government's. For current or near retirees, we'll have to figure out a plan. Some kind of phase-out will be necessary, but not sure exactly how that would work.
I'll add on top of that:
5: TaxesA massively simplified tax code. Flat tax, fair tax, even a progressive/graduated tax which is simple to understand would be far better than what we have today. I don't think, realistically, we'll ever get a true "flat tax," and the "fair tax" scares me unless we can repeal the 16th Amendment. Repeal the estate tax, drop corporate taxes to around 15%, stop taxing capital gains (and maybe dividends).
A balanced budget amendment is way over-due in this country. Texas has one in our State Constitution, and it has contributed to tax surpluses (since people and especially businesses know that there aren't huge deficits, Texas is seen as very tax-payer friendly).
What are your thoughts? Jwest is right- the sooner the *base* figures out our starting point, the easier it will be to judge when someone has deviated from it, and to what degree- thus (hopefully) preventing some of the circular firing squads which have led to the last two disastrous Republican presidential candidates.