Photo credit: Kyle Smith

Photo: Kyle Smith

Conservative members of Congress yesterday highlighted the impact that public perception and popular myths about conservative ideals have on the outcome of elections.

“The biggest lie in American politics is that the Republican Party is the party of the rich or the wealthy,” Rep. John Duncan (R–Tenn.) said at “Conversations with Conservatives,”  hosted by The Foundry on Capitol Hill. “The Democrats hit us harder on that as we get closer to an election than anything else.” Duncan added:

“I think we need to do a better job of showing that liberalism is a philosophy of . . . elitism, and that conservatives believe in a government of, by, and for the people and the Democrats believe in one that’s of, by, and for the bureaucrats.”

Rep. Cynthia Lummis  (R–Wyo.) argued that bureaucratic corruption has led the public to adopt a jaded view of the government. “I hear over and over again, ‘I don’t trust the government anymore,’ ” Lummis noted, “and the loss of trust by the American people in this government I believe will be and should be a pivotal issue in the coming election.”

Drawing from lessons learned in the last election, the panel of House members discussed the impact of messaging, and the need to set an agenda, in the upcoming midterm elections.

“In 2012 . . . we were told much of that year that if we were really quiet and didn’t say too much, somehow we’d do well in the fall. That did not work out,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R–Kan.) said.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R–Idaho) noted the importance of addressing “issues that we stand for” rather than focusing on the administration’s failures.

Labrador was among lawmakers who spoke last month at the Conservative Policy Summit, held at The Heritage Foundation and sponsored by the think tank’s political action arm, Heritage Action for America. The summit featured some of the ideas described in Heritage’s “Solutions 2014” policy recommendations.

“We need to have a positive agenda for America,” Labrador said yesterday. “If we only talk about Obamacare, we’re going to have the same result that we had in 2012.” He added:

“We already know what the recipe for losing is, and the recipe for losing is actually doing nothing and thinking that the American people are going to turn on Obama and the presidency.”

This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.