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RSC To Pitch Plan

Concerned with the lack of positive message their party is offering, the conservative Republican Study Committee will offer a new platform today they hope will bolster their image with voters, and that may boost the RSC's profile in the House Republican conference. After three straight special election losses, some Republicans are worried that calling Democrats liberal tax-and-spenders simply won't work.

Last night, RSC chairman Jeb Hensarling sent a memo to committee members urging them to attend today's conference meeting in order to make their voices heard. "Collectively, the Republican Conference needs to unify behind a handful of policy proposals that are bold, simple, and are truly part of our core identity," Hensarling wrote. Hensarling and the RSC will urge fellow Republicans to adopt an "action plan" around easy-to-swallow bullet points that can serve as the framework for the party's larger message heading into November.

The plan calls for Republicans to accept an immediate, unilateral earmark moratorium; holding the line on spending and cutting taxes; reforming health care; dropping gas prices by increasing domestic production; prohibiting interstate abortion; and reforming certain welfare work requirements.

Fiscal policy comes first on the list, Hensarling told the New York Times, because that's where the party is hurt the most. After bridges to nowhere and record numbers of earmarks when they ruled Congress, the GOP image has suffered significantly. Fortunately, the Times writes, that dovetails nicely with John McCain's hardline stand on spending policy.

Hensarling's proposals come as House Republican leaders have started crafting their own message for November, under the slogan "The Change You Deserve." Other groups, too, plan to offer their own slogans and themes, but Republicans in Congress have figured one thing out: Running against the incumbent party rarely works, as it requires the incumbents to make a big mistake. The last time that happened, it hurt Republicans, leading into one of those rare occurrences, in 2006.