Some scientists postulate there are an infinite number of universes, and in some other reality, any possible event could have happened.

That they inhabit another such dimension is the only explanation for the utter cluelessness of Republican leaders.

I mean, Michael Steele?

But it’s not just the party’s foot-in-mouth chairman. Its congressional leaders appear to be extras in “Death Wish IX,” apparently striving to lose the war of ideas with liberals even if they win control of both houses of Congress in the fall, as now appears possible.

That conclusion is forced upon us because, with a multiplicity of vote-winning issues staring them in the face, they continue to avoid them and pretend that they can win an election without ever having to tell voters what they intend to do once they are returned to majority status. They seem to forget that, as public esteem for Congress as a whole dips to a sorry 11 percent, they are included in that total.

If Republicans return to power with the same attitudes they held when they lost control in 2006, their reign will cement the people’s rightful judgment of the GOP as hopeless losers.

So, what can they do differently? I have some modest suggestions for the GOP based on recorded public sentiment and policies that would be good for the nation, not just the interests of those holding office.

First, pledge to repeal Obamacare in its totality.

Yes, I know that the GOP, even if it wins control of both chambers, will likely not have enough votes to override a presidential veto. Thus, repeal will have to wait until after the presidential election of 2012.

Nevertheless, the party can pledge to block all funding for its implementation, and meanwhile submit (and if in the majority, pass and make the president veto) an alternate vision relying on private choice and the empowerment of people, not distant and dictatorial bureaucrats, to control their own health care decisions.

Many such ideas exist. The party should pick the best of them to support not only for this fall’s campaign, but for the two years after that, while preventing the tax hikes, benefit cuts and one-size-fits-all aspects of this year’s “reforms” from taking effect.

President Obama has clearly broken his promise that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” His plan has more than 20 new or higher taxes, and he just named a rationing advocate, Donald Berwick, as Medicare and Medicaid overseer. What Americans will lose in coverage and pay in higher costs for poorer care needs to be made plain to every voter.

Second, renew the Bush tax cuts expiring at the end of 2010. Granted, it now seems unlikely that majority Democrats will let the whole package expire. If they did, the tea party movement might swell to 80 percent of the populace.

That’s because it would expose the party’s lie that the tax cuts only benefited “the rich.”

If the cuts aren’t renewed, the current 10 percent bracket, the lowest in the income tax system, will rise to 15 percent.

Likewise, the 25 percent bracket will rise to 28 percent; 28 percent rises to 31 percent; 33 percent increases to 36 percent; and those paying 35 percent will pay 39.6 percent, according to Americans for Tax Reform (www.atr.org).

In addition, ATR notes, the “marriage penalty” (narrower brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income; the child tax credit will fall from $1,000 to $500 per child; the standard deduction for couples will no longer be twice the single amount; and dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

This year, the heirs of people who owned small businesses can inherit the family firm without crippling “death taxes” requiring them to sell the business instead of keeping it.

But next year, there will be a 55 percent tax imposed on inheritances over $1 million, which covers a multitude of family-owned firms. Or, if you have two homes and a retirement account, your family could get a huge tax bill along with the one for your funeral.

The capital gains tax rate rises from 15 percent to 20 percent, discouraging investment, and the dividends tax rises from 15 percent all the way to 39.6 percent, a huge increase.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates all that will suck $115 billion out of Americans’ pockets in 2011, and $2.6 trillion from then until 2020.

The GOP shouldn’t let Democrats pick and choose among these tax cuts, but call for their full and permanent restoration.

Third, repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax. Passed in 1969 to ensure a handful of multimillionaires didn’t evade taxes entirely, the AMT (which disallows many otherwise legal deductions and never has been adjusted for inflation) hit 4 million people last year and is set to wrap its tentacles around a whopping 28.5 million of us. This monster has been controlled by special appropriations in previous years, but there is no guarantee a revenue-greedy Democratic leadership will continue them.

Fourth, draft and sign a rock-hard pledge never, ever to support a European-style Value Added Tax, a hidden sales tax applied to goods at every stage of their production that liberals love because they can blame its higher costs on businesses.

And finally, make it plain that the “big-versus-small-government” debate is really an argument about liberty.

Repeal Obamacare and freeze federal spending, and then limit government growth to the amount revenue increases under current tax laws.

That will restore to the people the resources they require to enhance their own lives, not bureaucrats’ power.

Here’s the bumper sticker: “Small government = more freedom.” Get yours now.

M.D. Harmon is an editorial writer. He can be contacted at 791-6482 or at:

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