Gwinnett's senior congressman will have a hand in deciding the Republican agenda when the U.S. House of Representatives go back into session next month.
U.S. Rep. John Linder said he wants to help set a new agenda for the GOP, something that hasn't happened since 1994's Contract with America.
The new contract, he said, would include his FairTax proposal, which would abolish the Internal Revenue Service and replace the income tax code with a national sales tax.
After this year's sweep of Congress by Democrats, Linder said he doesn't want to wait for the 2008 presidential candidate to be chosen before the party's new direction is formed.
"I'm anxious to do that," he said. "I'm not going to trust the future to the Republican candidate running for president.
"We're going to have to believe things again," he said, referring to running for office without a major platform linking the party hopefuls.
Linder pointed out that Democrats also don't have a new platform or agenda to guide the coming session.
"The Democrats won without really telling the American people what they believe," he said.
This legislative session, he said, could be interesting with the "Blue Dog Coalition," a group of Democrats who ran on platforms that were pro-guns and pro-life, as well as fiscally conservative - issues generally thought of as Republican.
"We've got 15 freshmen who can't vote against what they campaigned on," he said. "We'll see how they vote."
In the past, "Democrats purified themselves into a minority," Linder said, but this election season, the party was opened up to people with differing opinions. Linder said he hoped the GOP didn't fall into the same trap.
During the upcoming session, Linder said he expects Congress to work on a guest worker program to deal with illegal immigration and make changes to the strategy in Iraq.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post. Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.