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News Analysis: U.S. voters want solutions from Republicans, not jargon

By Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Polls show U.S. Republicans have climbed out of the hole, but experts said the party must turn words into action if it does not want to fall back in.

A Gallup poll released Wednesday found that Republican House Speaker John Boehner's numbers are back where they were before his party took a hit for engineering last fall's partial government shutdown.

But to keep the momentum going, Republicans must shake the image of a party with many criticisms but few solutions, and must make solid proposals, analysts and observers said.

That is particularly the case with President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, commonly known as Obamacare, which the Republican Party (GOP) has slammed, blasted and castigated for failing to provide a viable alternative to what they say are major gaps left by the reforms.

Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell said that while "low information" voters turn out for presidential elections, midterm voters are more aware of the issues, and want to see a realistic healthcare plan.

The GOP is expected to have an advantage in the Congressional elections due in November, as blacks, Hispanics and youth and single women -- Democrats' base -- tend to be absent from such elections.

"What the American public wants to hear from Republicans heading into the 2014 election cycle is ... 'if we put you back into a position to govern, do you have ideas and plans that you can put forward from day one to show us that you're ready to govern,'" O'Connell told Xinhua.

That's why the work done by Republican Senators Tom Coburn, Richard Burr and Orrin Hatch on a comprehensive health-care reform that relies on competition and choice is important, wrote Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, in the Wall Street Journal.

A pledge by Republican candidates to replace Obamacare with sensible reforms would go a long way toward answering Democratic charges that Republicans want to go back to the days before Obamacare, Rove added. Such reforms include promoting competition through interstate insurance sales, permitting small businesses to pool their risk to get cheaper premiums and making insurance portable so people can take it from job to job.

"Republicans need a positive agenda for change other than fighting everything President Obama proposes," Brookings Institution's senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua. "Voters need a reason to support the party beyond the fact that they don't like Democratic proposals."

On health care, the GOP needs to explain how it will cover the 18 percent of Americans without health insurance and what they propose to do to reduce health care costs, West said.

On immigration reform, the party needs to explain how it will handle the 12 million people who are in the United States illegally, he said.

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