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Team of Losers

House Republicans are holding leadership elections at this hour in a grand Ways and Means Committee room in the Longworth House Office Building. But at the rate they've been going, the GOP will be able to hold their caucus meetings in a phone booth.

Barack Obama's courtship of Hillary Clinton and John McCain in recent days has brought attention to Doris Kearns Goodwin's book on Lincoln, "Team of Rivals." But as the Post's Paul Kane watched Republicans file into the Senate Republicans' lunch meeting yesterday afternoon, it looked like a Team of Losers: George Allen. Elizabeth Dole. Larry Craig. Ted Stevens. John McCain. Dick Cheney. Even Bob Dole.

The Post's Lori Montgomery bumped into Bob Dole in an elevator as he headed to the lunch. "I'm going to tell 'em how to win," said the '96 Republican presidential nominee. And his advice? "Everybody says they need some candidates," Dole said. "I'm here to throw my hat in the ring."

That was a joke. We think.

Actually, congressional Republicans seem inclined to reward the leaders who led them to this month's electoral debacles. Yesterday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, whip Jon Kyl and caucus chairman Lamar Alexander were reelected to their leadership positions by acclamation. It's much the same on the House side today, where minority leader John Boehner is expected to defeat with ease a challenge by California's Dan Lundgren. Virginia's Eric Cantor, who had been chief deputy whip, will be promoted to
minority whip because Roy Blunt vacated that position.

Cantor this week delivered a strong rebuke of his own party. "Where we have really fallen down is we have lacked the ability to be relevant to people's lives," he told the Washington Times.

How to increase House Republicans' relevancy after their 20-seat loss?

Simple: Reelect and promote their leaders.

By Dana Milbank  | November 19, 2008; 11:04 AM ET
 
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Comments

Have to admit, I'm a little surprised by this outcome. Given how they have failed to stem the loss of seats in two back to back elections, I wouldn't have thought they would have earned another shot at leading the party.

Posted by: dbitt | November 19, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

PARTY of Losers. Let's see if they can straighten themselves out. They better listen to Hagel, Cantor, etc. or risk irrelevance.

Posted by: danw1 | November 19, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

If they would listen (which they probably will not) they should listen to Chuck Hagel who is probably the most admirable person that they have.

Posted by: gilbertpb40 | November 19, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

ha ha ha! VERY FUNNY, MILBANK-TEAM OF LOSERS INDEED-LIZZIE DOLE-THE WORN RETREAD FROM THE SEC. OF TRANS? BOB DOLE? DOUBLE WHAT? IS HE STILL ALIVE AND KICKING? JESUS! TALK ABOUT DINOSAURS ROAMING THE EARTH!

AND MILBANK, WHAT ABOUT BIDEN? WHAT'S THE VILLAGE IDIOT UP TO LATELY, HUH? IS HE STILL TALKING ADULT ADOPTIONS? HA HAHAHA! BLOVIATOR BIDEN FROM HAIRPLUG HEAVEN IS THE ONE TO WATCH!

Posted by: schmetterlingtoo | November 19, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"Given how they have failed to stem the loss of seats in two back to back elections, I wouldn't have thought they would have earned another shot at leading the party."

Posted by: dbitt

When your party is reduced to nothing but "leaders," there's no one else to vote for. Long may they reign.

Posted by: edwcorey | November 19, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

It's Congressman Lungren, not Lundgren.

Posted by: jtait | November 19, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Great news! Keep the losers in charge.

Posted by: phylis001 | November 19, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Bob Dole has taken to wearing hats? Could this be the clue, posed as wry humor? Yes, hats could improve everything! Not only could they be thrown in to rings, but couldn't they also be passed? Watching a hatless McCain campaigning in bright sunlight after surviving skin cancer kept me wondering, "Why no hat?" His cavalier cap-lessness left me wondering, "If he's this careless about his own UV exposure, can I trust him to attend to less subtle threats?" Broad-brimmed fedoras will help create a 30s atmosphere, too. Brilliant!

Posted by: david23 | November 19, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are acting like any great American corporation. Your product deteriorates. Your customers leave. Your stock prices plummet. Your credit dries up. Bankruptcy lawyers circle the skies.

How to react?

Give all the executives a big bonus.

http://www.jprof.com/writingwright

Posted by: jgstovall1 | November 19, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Cantor this week delivered a strong rebuke of his own party. "Where we have really fallen down is we have lacked the ability to be relevant to people's lives,"
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I sure hope that message gets lost in all of the Right Wing rhetoric. It is the most truthful statement I have ever heard from a Republican.

Posted by: AverageJane | November 19, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Not a thing will change for that party until all those old bosses are gone.

Let's hope they all remain in office and live to be as old as Strom Thurman!

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | November 19, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

So much for the "Permanent Republican Majority!"

Posted by: NormBlon | November 19, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

"Cantor this week delivered a strong rebuke of his own party. 'Where we have really fallen down is we have lacked the ability to be relevant to people's lives,' "

What a crock!! Cantor has done nothing for his district, doesn't contact constituents (of which I'm one), doesn't propose legislation. He would be more relevant to this constituent's life if he mowed my lawn and walked my dog.

Posted by: lpryluck1 | November 19, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

...tune in next week, when John Boehner will sing, "Tears of a Clown" on the Capitol steps!! Bring the kids!!

How can the tattered, singed remnants of this non-party still inspire the lunatic fringe to loyalty? Rewarding idiots for their idiocy is nothing new for the Republicans. What is new is people thinking it sufficiently noteworthy for comment.

Posted by: marknesop | November 19, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Continued references to the flawed "Team of Rivals" meme will earn utterers eternal damnation.

Posted by: Bartolo | November 20, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

It's the Lemmings Syndrome, sports fans. When no one has a direction, they'll follow anyone who does. Even if it leads over a cliff. Again.

Posted by: slothropgr | November 20, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Are they the true leaders of the Republican Party? Will the real leaders stand up! Puppets will dance until their masters throw them aside. The puppeteers haven't bought new puppets yet or may be their act will change. Let's see.

Posted by: attl | November 26, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

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