Building Ideas to Move America Forward

You hear it every day — the GOP is either dying or dead.

These are not good days for the GOP. No one with a straight face can argue the point. This means Republicans throughout the country — the entire country — need to do some soul-searching and figure out what the party is and how it comes back.

It's not enough to be against President Obama — and, frankly, if that's all the GOP has to offer, the party might as well pack up and go back to its shrinking home.

The American people have not only spoken, they continue to speak. It's not so much that they like Obama, though they do. It's that the want to like Obama and want to be invested in his policies. This is why we see a split between Obama's personal popularity and support for his actual proposals.

But without ideas, without alternative proposals, Republicans have nothing to offer.

That's why it's heartening for Republicans — and should be for all Americans invested in recovering from our current economic uncertainty — that the National Council for a New America has been formed, spearheaded by leaders like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and, especially, Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.).

The purpose of the coalition is clear: to begin a conversation with Americans to create policy-based positions that have real applications for everyday Americans. In this, the council will host events throughout the country on important issues — including job creation, healthcare, energy, education and national security — and begin to hold a dialogue with voters.

By "taking the show on the road" and listening to people from all walks of life, such as business leaders, educators and doctors and nurses, we can hold a true dialogue, demonstrating the important lesson that listening is every bit as important, if not more so, as speaking. It also ensures that we have input from a diverse group of community leaders, whether it be members of Congress, such as Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), or chairmen of minority chambers of commerce and administrators of healthcare facilities.

It's no secret the GOP is trying to regain its footing. After two straight electoral defeats, speaking with nothing but political posturing and talking points just won't cut it. That's why an organization like the National Council for a New America should be merely the beginning.

Republicans have dug themselves a deep ditch. We can't get out of it by continuing to dig. It will only be by engaging people in every corner of the nation, by listening, that the GOP can present real alternatives to move America forward.