Do you remember when George W Bush was re-elected in 2004 how the Democrats said, "Oh, the American People have spoken, we have to work with this man?" Yeah, me neither.
Nevertheless, that seems to be what John Boenher and several other Republicans in leadership positions (I won't call them leaders) seem to be doing with Barack Obama, who remains a stuttering clusterf*ck of a miserable tyrant, and a traitor. The two major issues on the plate right now are immigration (read: Amnesty) and The Fiscal Cliff (read: Tax cuts for the Rich!).
Obama wants, as he has maintained for the last several months, to keep the Bush Tax Rates, with the exception that he wants the top marginal rate to return to Clinton-era levels. On immigration, of course, a full amnesty (excuse me, a "path to citizenship") is the goal.
I believe these require two different strategies. Hopefully we won't just get sold out (note: I'm not holding my breath, though).
On taxation, I think Republicans need to say, "No, no, if the Clinton era tax rates are good enough for small business owners, they're good enough for everyone. We'll act to stop sequestration, but tax rates all go back to Clinton era levels." The American people have spoken, after all, and if Clinton rates are good for one group, they should be good enough for every group.
On immigration, I think we need to stick to our guns. No compromise, no surrender. We've granted amnesty-for-enforcement in the past, and we never got the enforcement part. Require enforcement first. Gain real control of the border, start checking immigration status. Deport illegal aliens. Only once that is done and is showing results do we talk about some kind of amnesty or path to citizenship.
Then, in negotiations, we can moderate that stance a little. Offer this (again- start with the other, work toward this, anything past this is no deal): If an illegal alien can prove they've been here since X Date (call it Jan 1 of the year the law is passed. So if they pass it in the next month, Jan 1, 2012), they will be temporarily exempt from deportation. All other laws still apply (especially against employers who hire them), but they won't be subject to deportation. In return, we get 4 years of full enforcement (including deportation on first pick-up) of illegals who cannot prove they were here prior to that date. We get 4 years of full enforcement on the border, including more border patrol agents, better ROE for the border patrol, etc. If, after those 4 years, we see that enforcement really has become a priority, then we will discuss some form of a "path to citizenship" for illegals already in the country.
Any attempt to force a national DREAM act, or path to citizenship (that is: amnesty) before enforcement has been proven should end negotiations immediately- we won't even discuss those issues until enforcement has been agreed upon and implemented.
I have three reasons for the positions. First, I believe they are fairly practical and still conservative. Neither is perfect, but we have a Democrat President and Senate, we're not going to get "perfect." The best we can hope for is "not disastrous." Second, I believe they should actually be obtainable. These are opinions showing we're willing to "meet the President half-way." Finally, I believe they'll show the grassroots- those of us who are licking our wounds from Tuesday and have (either permanently or temporarily) joined the side of "just let it burn"- that the GOP is serious about Conservative ideas, and that we won't be sold out "in the spirit of bipartisanship."
That last one is probably the most important. If Boehner and the House sell out conservatives, the Republicans are done, and a new party will arise- probably giving Democrats the Presidency and Senate (at least) for the next 12 - 20 years.