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Hullabaloo


Thursday, January 17, 2013

 
It's all Mitt's fault

by digby

To the extent they have them, they're searching their souls

House Republicans heard it loud and clear Wednesday: They are unpopular and need to change their ways.

Speaker John Boehner’s House Republican Conference is more disliked now than when it took the majority two years ago, lawmakers and aides here found out. After taking a bruising in the 2012 elections, the Republican Party needs an image makeover and the GOP must learn to relate better to voters.

That was the message delivered by the party’s most trusted pollsters during the first day of the House GOP’s retreat at the posh Kingsmill Resort on the edge of this colonial town, where the lobbyist-funded Congressional Institute is putting on the annual confab.
[...]
David Winston, a top GOP pollster and close adviser to Boehner, unveiled the House Republicans’ most recent favorable rating based on his own analysis: It came in at a barrel-scraping 37 percent.

House Democrats’ numbers are a full 9 points higher at 46 percent. Winston’s analysis: Neither party is popular, but the GOP is less so. The lawmakers heard that the way to turn things around is for the party to pivot squarely to the economy and jobs — the chief concerns of most voters.

After an election dominated by a steady stream of gaffes by the GOP’s presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, and some of its highest-profile candidates, some of the speakers at Wednesday’s retreat counseled the GOP on how to turn things around. Doing so will be paramount as the party enters a period of tense conflict with President Barack Obama over fiscal matters like the nation’s debt ceiling and the sequester.

It's actually quite funny. Apparently, they dragged in the CEO of Dominos to tell them how he "remade his brand." And then their pollsters told them to try harder to relate to voters and not act like Mitt Romney because people didn't like him. From the sound of it they think he is the root of their troubles. Oh, what a mistake that is.

Thursday will be the busiest day at the confab. Larry Arnn, the president of conservative Hillsdale College, will speak about Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and the Constitution at breakfast. Political analyst Charlie Cook will talk about how America is changing. Govs. Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico will speak at lunch.

National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru, journalist Kate O’Beirne and James Capretta of the American Enterprise Institute will explore “Who speaks for middle America?” Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) will host two sessions: one that will serve as a strategy session for the first legislative quarter, which will be dominated by the debates over the debt ceiling, government funding and automatic cuts to federal spending. The other will be a broader discussion about the “113th Congress and beyond.”

I'm sure they'll all come away from that with new insights and will work hard to correct the errors of their ways. They're going to "relate" better to middle America. I'd expect that to translate to a surge in cornpone and yee haw. That's how they roll.

And apropos of nothing, do you see anything unusual about that line-up of conservative luminaries? I knew that you would. What in the hell is the vaunted non-partisan Charlie Cook doing there? It's not as if the rest of the speakers are anything but hardcore Republicans, even the pollsters. Indeed, Republicans tend not to trust anyone who is a "vaunted non-partisan" on anything. And yet they trust Cook. Interesting.

Update: Meanwhile, here's Tom Cole begging the Republicans to take yes for an answer this time.

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