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Here are a few helpful tips for Republicans

This week is the kickoff for the new TV season for our large networks.

They all roll out new programs, some they believe will be great, and others they have already planned to fail. It is an interesting industry and, at least in the projection part of the industry, not so very different from the political industry.

It is no secret that Republicans fear significant losses in 2008 both in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Their chances at retaining the presidency for a third consecutive term are also slim. But they don’t have to lose these elections. They could, well, you know, change.

Republicans could advance new ideas that people, real voters not so much special interests, would see as relevant and helpful.

So allow me to give the Republicans the ideas they need if they want to win in ’08 and turn around their current dismal prospects:

4First, all Democrats, most Independents, some Republicans and all Iraqis disagree with continuing the war. So why not announce that our goals, freeing the nation to set its own course, have been met and, based upon that success, we can bring our troops home. We will leave behind 30,000 long-term troops to secure our continuing interests, but everybody else gets to come home. You know this is right and the guy who did all of this is not running for re-election. Move and move fast.

4Second, since you have not noticed allow me to point out that our health care program is in shambles and needs repair. Republican solutions should have some aspect of free enterprise, so here we go.

Do not keep flailing at torts, since sometimes they are necessary. Simply turn around the issue.

Require each hospital and every doctor to make public their records of practice. Then permit patients to select their physicians and hospitals informed of their histories. Finally, let the insurance industry sell insurance for surgeries, rated and priced by these same statistics. Tort action falls, insurance sales rise, and good practioners get more patients.

But this won’t be enough, so swallow your pride and admit that Medicare, with its 2 percent administrative cost, is far more efficient than HMOs in administration. Place a ceiling on administrative costs allowed to any group doing business with the government of 7 percent administrative costs. Currently, HMOs bill as much as 20 percent for overhead. This will reduce needless expenses and save everyone money.

In the process, standardize medical forms and convert the industry to digital documents within a decade. This creates more jobs, makes patients safer, and reduces costs — a very Republican approach.

One other idea you may find difficult, but need to consider. Historically they have opposed a lot of social safety net programs, programs people like and programs that help.

They need to move away from that position. A party that can justify spending $10 billion a month in Iraq and millions on a bridge to no-where does not look too smart opposing health insurance for uninsured children. I know some Republicans have supported this bill, but the president is making all of them look bad here. They need to muster enough votes to override a promised veto.

OK, that is a good starting point. They don’t have to lose elections if they are just willing to stop serving special interests and start serving the American people. Don’t thank me, personally I will still be voting Democratic in 2008.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Ironton Tribune.