- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Governing effectively as a conservative majority has not been without challenges — more hard slog than easy success. Senate Democrats routinely frustrate reform by exploiting their procedural minority rights, but so do reticent moderate Republicans, and intra-GOP confusion about how the party of limited government manages that which it is supposed to constrain. After harvesting the low hanging fruits of reform, many now ask: Where do we go from here?

The themes of freedom, personal responsibility and limited government — principles that under gird the conservative movement — are needed more than ever and require fresh application in the 21st century. The fall of communism represented a major victory, but new threats and opportunities, internationally and domestically, require creative answers utilizing conservative principles. Health care, telecommunications, economic policy, immigration, education, poverty and the war on terrorism are just a few issues that demand new applications of conservative thought.

The reservoir of conservative ideas runs deep. But its waters are often obscured by the daily conflicts reported in the media and the “crisis of the moment,” instincts to which most of our political institutions react. What’s needed now is a forum to express, highlight and promote creative, conservative proposals that deserve policy-makers’ consideration.

That’s the purpose of Idea Lab. Views on opinion pages typically comment on politics, culture or foreign policies. But this column forges a different path, providing a forum for policy entrepreneurs in Congress, the administration, think tanks and the academic world to promote conservative ideas that deserve attention and action from lawmakers in Washington.

Idea Lab begins today on the opposite page, and will run periodically while Congress is in session. Gary Andres, who writes a weekly column for The Washington Times, titled “Politics in the city,” and a bimonthly analysis of polling data called The American Survey, will serve as senior public policy coordinator for the Idea Lab project. Authors should submit articles between 650-750 words in length (to [email protected]) that represent creative conservative ideas that Congress should address.

This space will also periodically provide opportunity for comment, elaboration or alternative points of view regarding a specific idea. Our hope is to promote a vigorous forum for debate and a repository for new intellectual and policy capital for members of Congress.


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