We are totally screwing up the messaging. My proposal herein may not have all the numbers add up exactly on each of the two parts of it, and frankly, I don't care. That wasn't the point -- and it is silly to get hung up on exact numbers anyway. The important thing is to make our side look and sound like something the public should like.
Here's a key idea in the first:
[F]iscal conservatives should highlight specific cuts not begrudgingly, but as if the cuts themselves are gifts to their constituents.
Tactically, here's an example of the sort of thing I describe:
The House, for instance, could pass two bills to ward off the (poorly named) fiscal cliff. The first would extend the Bush-era upper-income tax cuts along with perhaps the expanded per-child tax credit also at risk of expiring – but coupled with the closing of a some upper-income loopholes and deductions and with the easiest, most popular of spending cuts to make it revenue-neutral.
This is important. We always lose when we try to do too much at once.
Meanwhile, I agree with Ali and Patrick Ruffini, etcetera, about the long-term needs for tech geeks and all sorts of other improvements. But in the short run, we need to learn how to tie better legislative packaging with better PR packaging -- so that BOTH sorts of packaging work together and give us strategic and tactical negotiating edges.