I'm not a Republican, but playing off a post I wrote yesterday (by the way, I was a day off on the post titles I dated yesterday and didn't notice it until today, so you might want to take what I write with a grain of salt -- I could be losing my mind) I believe Republicans have a great opportunity to be honest with the American people and follow up on what they promised to do -- limit government and return to free market principles. Both Republicans and Democrats are playing a political game of chicken regarding spending cuts and debt reduction.
The only solution to our debt problem, however, is to limit government. The Republicans could propose a budget that addresses current spending and entitlements, but what they should do is start a national conversation that addresses our fundamental problem which is that government is no longer limited, then begin exploring possible amendments to clarify the interstate commerce clause and the general welfare clause. This will not happen, no doubt, but if it did, it could be transformative. There would be great resistance to clarify these clauses because they are the gateways to industry regulation and the welfare state.
Clarifying the clauses wouldn't be enough, though, without something to replace regulation and welfare, so the American people would have to be challenged to work within their states to find commitments in the private sector to deal with the perceived problems that would be caused if government didn't regulate industry and didn't offer entitlements. This would be a philosophical conservation, but the replacement solutions would be practical -- such as private insurance plans to address unemployment, health and retirement, and industry responsibility and self-imposed guidelines to not destroy the environment. The conversation needs to at least start so that innvoative ideas can surface and people begin thinking about possibilities. This would place Republicans in the role of thinking creatively and including the private sector in the solution finding process. It might turn out that the country wants to be dependent on the government, but at least the alternative ought to be explored.
It would also help clarify the difference between statism and a free market, so that people no longer mistakenly think that what we have now is a free market.