Of all people, Buchanan gets it. He's figured out the secret to being a good minority Party. Well, not exactly "secret." It's the standard operating procedure for many successful minority parties. Buchanan uses Robert Menzies' quote:
(T)he duty of an opposition ... is to oppose selectively. No government is always wrong on everything. … The opposition must choose the ground on which it is to attack. To attack indiscriminately is to risk public opinion, which has a reserve of fairness not always understood.
I personally always think of Benjamin Disraeli. He had a bit easier time in a multi-party system but had an excellent strategy of not only selectively opposing items, but having the party actively support legislation from the opposition that they were in agreement with.
I don't know if I buy Buchanan's list of what to stand up for. I personally think he's spot on with stimulus. Like we've mentioned earlier, Republicans are lumping it in with bailouts quite successfully. I don't think Democrats can really separate the two at this point, especially since tax revenues are waaay down. It doesn't matter how much of the stimulus and subsequent Obama budget is infrastructure spending is if we're borrowing $.50 for every dollar of spending. There's some nice narrative buried in the issue along the lines of Obama trying to do too much too quickly. This whole issue is a homerun if played right.
Republicans should also work harder to paint the automotive bailout for what it is: the Democrats putting the needs of a labor union above the needs of the nation as a whole. Republicans are often accused of being in the pocket of big business. Republicans have the same opportunity to accuse the Democrats of being in the pocket of big labor. They could even throw card check here. There's a nice chance to paint card check as the labor unions burying Detroit and the Democrats trying to let them do the same for the rest of the nation. Maybe not a homerun, but at least a solid double.
And healthcare? I don't know. I'd stay away from an offensive effort there. Republicans would be better served to hammer on the tough issues inherent in an actual plan than to go about opposing the idea of universal coverage.
I feel almost the same about cap and trade. While I think most people don't buy into the environmental alarmists, they want a cleaner environment. They just don't want to give up much to get it. This would be a good opportunity for Republicans to introduce alternative legislation aimed at cleaning up the environment is less economically invasive ways.