Box 22, Folder 17, Document 13

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Box 22, Folder 17, Document 13

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GOP on the Offense
Revived Party Seeking.
More Positive Image
With ‘New Federalism’
More Local, State Activity

With Federal Help Is Goal;
Beating LBJ to the Punch?

But Unity May Shatter by ‘68



WASHINGTON -— Congressional Republi-
cans are beginning to flex their new post-
election muscles. And like the ex-weakling in
the traditional beach scene, they're getting an
exhilarating feeling that they can outfight the
“big bully’’—in this case Lyndon Johnson.

This new optimism is not based on prospects
for ramming through specific GOP-sponsored
legislation in a Congress still dominated by
the Democrats. Rather, the Republicans plan
to seize the initiative in political thinking from
their foes and build a positive image for them-

At bottom, there's a sense that momentum:

from last weck's big election gains may en-
able the GOP to break loose from its long
defensive stance in Congress. By quickly ad-
vancing a new political motif of their own, Re-
publican leaders, especially in the House, hope
to shift the public focus away from the standard
measure of the past generation: Namely, how
liberal or conservative is the GOP's stand on
Democratic welfare programs.

With the 1968 Presidential election in mind,
moreover, these Republican strategists think
they've hit on a theme that can unite party
liberals such as New York's Sen. Jacob Javits,
middle-roaders such as Gov. George Romney
of Michigan and conservatives such as
eoevernor-elect Ronald Reagan of California,
Goldwater Goals, Reversa Reasons

In capsule form, the emerging strategy con-
sists of pursuing many of the goals Barry
Goldwater advocated in his 1964 Presidential
bid but reversing the reasons for doing sn.

The object will still be a much bigger role
for state and local government and private
enterprise in combating the country's, ills, But
instead of invoking the need “to preserve the
tried and true solutions of the past,'’ the
etress will be on ‘‘modernizing’ and ‘'energiz-
ing’’ gavernmental structures ta cope with the

roblems of the future. And instead of leaving
an impression that they would dismantle parts
of the Federal Government, the GOP strate-
gists in Congress intend to project a vital role
for Washington-in pumping hack its revenues
to the states, in promoting interstate compacts
to deal with regional problems and in foster-
ing ‘\Comsat-style"’ corporations to enlist pri-
yate- enterprise in the war on poverty.


““"We aim to turn, the political frame of
reference in this country upside down," de-
clares one ofthe most active of the youthful
House GOP “activists’’ who helped install Rep.
Gerald Ford of Michigan as House Minority
Leader two years ago, ‘Creating new tech-
niques and providing new resources for locali-
ties to take the governmental lead is going
to be the progressive course, and reliance on
an ever-growing Federal bureaucracy will be
the hidebound, reactionary approach.”
Several Possible Moves

To exploit the election's stimiulus, House
GOP leaders hope to move rapidly on sev-
eral fronts:

As the cornerstone of their domestic pro-
gram, thev're toiling to prenare a blueprint
for a lump-sum, no-strings-attached_distribu-
tion of Federal revenue ion the states, After
years of talking wistfully about such a scheme
(along with former Johnson economic adviser
WaltaCHeles) they finally have in hand a

detailed draft that was prepared on commis-

. &ion by a Brookings Institution scholar, Rich-

ard Nathan, ;

This plan would pump out to the states a
specified percentage of Federal income tax
collections—perhaps 2% or 3% initially. The
distribution formula would be weighted to

, favor poorer’ states, provide bonus money for

states making the greatest revenue-raising ef-
fort of their own, and earmark 5%. of the
funds for administrative uses to “improve the
leadership and overall policy formulation role
of state government.”

-—As a way to get an opinion-holding jump
on the Democrats, there's talk of presentinz
se Republican ‘State of the Union" message
in advance of Mr. Johnson's. Last January
Mr. Ford and Senate Minority Leader Everett
Dirksen of Illinois managed to get a halt-
hour of national television time to respond to
the President's annual discourse. But several
top strategists now believe the party’s new,
offensive posture would best be dramatized by
going first. There's also strong, surprisingly
widespread sentiment in these Congressional
circles for sharing the talking-time with one
of the GOP's progressive governors, perhaps
John Love of Colorado or Daniel Evans of
Washington, as a symbol of a party commit-
ment to greater state-level vitality.

As a device to make their new theme stick
in the public mind, party hands are groping
for a catchy slogan. In a talk yesterday to the
National Conference of State Legislative Lead-
ers here, the House GOP's No. 2 man, Melvin
Laird of Wisconsin, made a tentative move to
preempt one of Mr. Johnson's own concoctions:
“Creative federalism." In urging the state leg-
fslators to promote ‘a climate in America
that enhances and encourages creativity and
solution-finding at the state and local level,”
he proclaimed that “history can yet record
that the decade of the 19605 was the period
in which Americans rededicated themselves to
the attainment of new heights ...-through a
creative federalism that kept in step with mod-
ern times.”

Mr. Johnson's Weapons

‘ How much headway the GOP can make
under any slogan remains to be determined,
Despite Democratic Congressional losses, pos-
session of the White House still gives Presi-
dent Johnson abundant resources for blunting
the GOP thrust.

He could set a somber, wartime tone for
the coming Congressional session and ridicule
any GOP revenue-shaping plan as the heizht
of fiscal folly at a time of overriding need

. to finance Vietnam fighting and to fight infla-

A op ee ey



GOP on the Offense: Party Hopes
‘New Federalism’ Will Help Image

’ Continued From Page One

tion. at home. Or he might strive. to persuade
the electorate that he’s better at ‘creative fed-
eralism" than the GOP, by pointing to such
steps as a grant of broad latitude to the states
in use of Federal public health funds and et-
forts to tailor the new “model cities” slum-
rebuilding program to each locality's special
needs. Or Mr. Johnson could deride the Re-
publican offensive as warmed-over Goldwater-
ism, impractical for dealing with today’s com-
plex urban problems. /

’ Within Congress, moreover, Democrats still
hold the seats of power; by pushing bills to
provide funds for Great Soclety programs
which the GOP opposes, Democratle leaders
could make the Republicans once again look
like ‘‘aginners.”’

Nor is there any certainty that GOP forces
will get or stick together on the course now
projected. While Michigan's Gov. Romney is
currently just as bent as Congressional party
leaders on enlarging the sphere of state and
local government, he could well decide next
spring that immediate needs, say, for Federal
school construction funds outweigh any distant
commitment to an alternate, tax-rebate plan
that can't be implemented until tha GOP re-
gains control of Congress.

Jockeying for the GOP Presidential -noml-
nation’ also could precipitate a party split.
Romney men already suspect Messrs. Ford and

Laird of private collaboration with former Vice
President Richard Nixon, and at some point
this could provoke a Romney denunciation of
their legislative course. Within Congress, ‘too,
the GOP's old. liberal vs. conservative ant-
| mosities could boil up at any point,

For now, though, the Congressional GOP
appears more nearly united on a course of
action than at any point in recent years.
)“‘When I came back to Washington efter the
election, I was fully resigned to hear the con-
servatives talking up the returns as a mandate
for putting a legislative blockade on every-
thing,” relates one self-styled House GOP
moderate. “To my delight, though, many of
them were just as revved-up as I am to launch
a program of our own.”

Committees and Cohesion

- Organizational and staff build-ups launched
two years ago have played a big part in fos-
tering this cohesion. In the House, a GOP
planning and research committee has reached
consensus on numerous position papers, many
of them developed with academic help. In ad-
dition, the new Republican Co-ordinating Com-
mittee has brought together Congressional
leaders, five GOP governors, the party's for-
mer Presidential nominees and National Chair-
man Ray Bliss for numeroug skull sessions
and position-charting,

“After two years of sitting next to George

Romney at the Co-ordinating Committee meet-
ings, we find ourselves agreeing on practically
everything that comes up,” remarks Rep.
John Rhodes of Arizona, chairman of the
House Republican Policy Committee, who's
generally considered an ardent Goldwater con-

Moreover,. the party’s capture of 47 more
|House seats solidifies tha position of House
‘GOP Leader Ford and gives him more free-
dom for taking the initiatlve; Incoming fresh-
men lawmakers, by all initial soundings of
‘Ford men, are mostly quite ready to follow
the leader who has helped to npighten the
party's face.

“If we'd only picked | Up 20 seats or 80,
Jerry Ford would be looking over his shoulder
every time he made a move, but now he’s in
position to get together with Ev Dirksen on a
State-of-the-Union plan, say, and then sail
right ahead with it,” calculates ons senior
House Republican who opposed Mr, Ford's
leadership bid two years ago.

Tho “Generational Gap”

In the Senate, the arrival of such engaging
faces and articulate volces as those of Mlli-
nois’ Charles Perey, Oregon's Mark Hatfield
and Massachusetts’ Edward Brooke may he
worth more than all the organizaticnal and
tactical innovations combined, ‘‘Most of the
things. we're talking about are aimed in es-

sence at meeting the so-called generational
gap. And I, for one, think the big bloc of
younger, unaligned voters is going to identify
just as much with a Percy or a Hatfield as
a Bobby Kennedy," asserts one seasoned
House hand.

When it comes to legislation immediately
at hand, the GOP probably will go strong for,
curtailing Federal spending to deter inflation.
Many party liberals, as well as conservatives,
hit hard on this theme during their cam-
paigns. There should be general agreement on
curbing such “iower-priority’’ programs as
rent subsidies, the national teacher corps and
highway beautification as well as resisting any
major expansion of school or antipoverty aid.

“I'm cenfident I can Identify $5 billion or
so to cut by breakfast-time the morning after
Johnson's budget comes up," Says a senior
member of the House Appropriations Commit-
tee. " i

Aside from such bipartisan undertakings as.
raising Social Security benefits or overhauling
the draft, GOP lawmakers don't see much im-
mediate chance of actually framing major leg-
isiation. As various Great Society programs
come up for extension, though, there’s hope
for using the party's added voting power to
give states and localities a bigger role. In —
the case of Federal school aid, which comes
up for renewal In 1968, current thinking al
to press for giving communities much more
leeway to set their own priorities.

As for revenue-sharing with the states, tos
Republicans entertain any serious hope of get-
ting such a program off the ground in the|
next two years. ‘We'll hold out revenue-shar- |
ing as the first order of business after we)
regain control of Congress in 1968,"" says a|
top party planner.. ac


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