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Thursday, January 17, 2013

House GOP Woes

Politico reports on the House Republicans' Williamsburg retreat:
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.
... At the tail end of a panel, Winston and fellow Republican pollsters Kellyanne Conway and Dave Sackett urged the GOP to work hard to relate better to voters. That’s why, the pollsters said in a question-and-answer session, Romney lost his bid for the White House — because no one identified with the aloof-seeming wealthy former venture capitalist whom Democrats painted as way out of touch with the average voter.
The Hill reports:
“Majorities are elected to do things, and if they become dysfunctional, the American people will change what the majority is,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a House deputy majority whip and a former National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, told The Hill.
Former House member and National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Tom Davis (Va.) noted that if the GOP enters the upcoming negotiations divided on the issues, Republicans in deep-red districts will inevitably receive primary challenges
While there’s little chance of those deep-red districts switching hands in the coming election, Davis noted that the challenges would draw much-needed funds away from those swing districts.
“What happens is the party then spends all of its money running against Republicans. Members don’t give to the NRCC because they’ve got to defend themselves, and then in swing districts, Democrats could pick off Republicans,” he said.
Cole said that individual members should put aside worries about primary challenges and consider the bigger picture — and the harm their refusal to compromise in future budget negotiations could have on the GOP as a whole.
Both Davis and Cole said that if the House Republican caucus could stand together on a deal, current members, even those in deep-red districts, would likely be fine going into 2014.
Cole cautioned that a refusal to compromise would ultimately land the GOP a bad deal.