Politico’s Jonathan Allen is a hard-left activist with a press pass, but the House GOP caucus hasn’t figured that out yet, so Allen and his colleague Jake Sherman are invited into the inner circle to gather quotes and then go forth to embarrass the House Republicans. Thus does the GOP message machine wobble along.
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York tries to find some hope for the conservative message, and predicts a pivot back to “where are the jobs?” Perhaps. Messages need messengers, and thus far the House GOP is trying to channel its arguments through press conferences that the cable channels don’t carry, Sunday shows that vast majority of Americans don’t watch, and through Politico reporters who are veterans of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s political operation.
The Kabuki dance underway now in the House may have some small political advantage to it, but not if it leads to another surrender in two weeks. Democrats always believe voters are stupid, but the Republicans should try and avoid that mind set.
Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan is chairman of the Republican Study Group and probably the representative most likely to move into senior House GOP leadership following the 2012 elections if the House GOP continues to struggle. He was my guest yesterday (transcript here) and was unequivocal about House GOP resolve:
HH: Everyone thinks the Republicans are going to fold. Do you have the votes to stop anything other than cut, cap and balance?
JJ: Yeah. And look, I will tell you, I’m willing to stand strong for, the only plan that I’m going to support is the cut, cap and balance plan. And that, and I think there are lots of members in the House of Representatives who have that same position. I mean, many of these guys were elected this last fall to do, for this very moment, for a time such as this.
HH: There are 218 of you?
HH: That is impressive.
JJ: I hope. Well look, I don’t know. Well, what I’m saying is there are lots of conservatives in the 240 member Republican conference who aren’t going to support a plan like McConnell, who aren’t going to cave for something like that, who are going to stand strong and say we need the cut, cap and balance plan. That’s the common sense plan. Let’s do it before August 2nd, and avoid any problem then, and fix the country long term.
Jordan is a straight shooter, so a major collision with the president seems inevitable. The key will be to avoid declaring up is down and white is black at the end of the confrontation.
There is still time to push the president onto the defensive if the Congressional GOP would simply and uniformly adopt the demand that the president publicly specify his cuts and his tax hikes. Declare White House talks over until the president puts out his lists, and then stick to that position. Every day that the GOP leaders trot over to 1600 is another day they end up getting hammered by Politico and the other engines of the president’s media team.
How the GOP got here is almost unfathomable. How they get out of the box canyon is pretty obvious: Complete candor and repetition, repetition, repetition.