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White House Cheat Sheet: Republicans' Vacuum Problem


Former vice president Dick Cheney's reemergence could hurt his party. Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Former vice president Dick Cheney's controversial comments regarding President Obama's policies -- and the harsh response they drew from the White House -- highlight a distinct problem for Republicans: without an obvious leader to counter Obama, the void is being filled by figures that do little to improve the party's damaged image.

Cheney's hour-long sitdown with CNN's John King on Sunday produced a number of notable quotables not least of which was when the the former vice president said he believed Obama's policies had made the country less safe.

Cheney's comments come on the heels of a huge to-do centered on conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh's assertion that he wanted Obama to fail, a remark he made in a keynote speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference late last month.

Neither Cheney nor Limbaugh is the preferred messenger for a Republican Party trying to move away from the stereotype that it is dominated by older white men. Both are deeply unpopular with the American public -- just one in three people approved of Cheney in a Washington Post/ABC News poll in January -- and the more they come to represent the Republican Party in voters' mind, the more difficult the reinvention of the letter "R" will be.

The Democratic response to attacks from figures like Cheney and Limbaugh then almost writes itself. Asked at the White House daily press briefing about Cheney's comments, press secretary Robert Gibbs responded (too?) wryly: "I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy, so they trotted out the next-most popular member of the Republican cabal."

A new nationwide Pew poll highlights the leadership vacuum in the Republican Party. Asked to name the leader of the GOP, a whopping 58 percent said they didn't have an answer -- a number that included 50 percent of self-identifying Republicans in the sample.

Among those who did find a name, Arizona Sen. John McCain led the way with 11 percent followed by Limbaugh at five percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele each received two percent.

Carl Forti, a Republican consultant, acknowledged the leadership void but argued it is inevitable after eight years of former president George W. Bush. Forti predicted that "someone or some combo of people will emerge in the next few months to fill the void" but added: "In the meantime, for better or worse, people will step into the void, be it Cheney, Limbaugh, [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell [Ky.] or [House Minority Whip Eric] Cantor [Va.]."

The other point Forti doesn't make is that several of the potential leaders who could be filling the leadership void currently are still trying to heal from self-inflicted public relations wounds -- a list topped by Steele and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

What can -- or should -- Republicans do to solve their vacuum problem?

Ed Brookover, a longtime Republican media consultant, suggested that in the absence of a clear leader, the party should focus on pushing a group of innovative ideas that can help shape how people perceive the GOP.

"What is important for Republicans right now is to develop sensible policy solutions to the problems our country is facing," said Brookover. "These solutions will be what sells our party -- and then the 'faces' of our party can develop around those solutions."

If Brookover is right (and we think he is), here are a few "ideas" guys to keep an eye on: Gingrich, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Sked Stuff: President Obama huddles with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (N.D.) and House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (S.C.) this morning to discuss, well, the budget. This comes just one day after Organizing for America began its campaign to rally support for the passage of the $3.35 trillion budget Obama has proposed. Smart insiders note that the OFA campaign and Obama's meeting with Conrad and Spratt today are aimed at keeping wavering Democrats on the side of the White House.

Tuesday To-Reads: It's not that you "must" read these stories but you really should.

1. The Obama administration searches for some way to keep $165 million in bonuses away from AIG executives.
2. During a West Coast swing later this week, President Obama will make an appearance on the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno on Thursday. Interesting choice -- can a chief executive be funny as the economy continues to shudder? Another question: can the Fix stay up late enough to watch the interview?
3. Reuters does a good job of laying out the stakes in the special election for New York's 20th district.
4. Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker profiles appointed Sen. Roland Burris of Illinois. Our favorite nugget? After being ignored by several Democratic senators, Burris runs into Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn (R) who puts his arm around his colleague from Illinois and urges: "Hang in there, my buddy!" Awesome.
5. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is no more after today. Need a new Washington State news site? Try grist.org -- home of former Fix editor Russ Walker.

No Norm at RNC (Yet): After Politico's Mike Allen floated the idea that former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman (R) might be in line to replace Michael Steele as Republican National Committee Chairman sooner rather than later, we got lots of calls and questions about the possibility. (Never question the power of Mike!) Looking for a straight answer, we reached out to Cullen Sheehan, who managed Coleman's campaign. "Senator Coleman believes that Chairman Steele is doing an exceptional job, is a strong voice and leader for the party," Sheehan told the Fix. "And, he looks forward to working with him to build the party when he returns to the United States Senate." It remains to be seen whether Coleman's answer will change if he comes up short in his election contest against entertainer Al Franken. But, remember that removing a chairman is not exactly an easy process and there are any number (or at least five) reasons to think Steele hangs on.

Click It!: "There's No One As Irish As Barack Obama." Indeed. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

2012 Like It's Tomorrow: The feud between national Democrats and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford over his plan to use a portion of the economic stimulus money headed to his state to pay down the debt continues. Following the decision by the Democratic National Committee to run an ad attacking Sanford late last week, the governor himself responded Monday morning asking Obama to order the commercial off the air. The White House instead sent Sanford a letter from Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag making clear that the money allocated to the Palmetto State should be spent on education, public safety and other "government services," and that any attempt to use it elsewhere would violate the statute. Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for Sanford, called the Orzag letter "constructive" and added that the governor was in the process of drafting a response. As we have written before, the more Sanford use this spat to elevate himself as the leading voice of fiscal conservatives, the better for his 2012 presidential chances.

New Partners Go West: Taylor West, the pride of Duke University, has landed a job at New Partners -- a Democratic consulting firm. West will join the communications shop of the firm, which is anchored by Paul Tewes, who served as state director in Iowa for Obama, and Tom McMahon, former executive director of the Democratic National Committee and now the interim president of Americans United for Change. West is settling down after nearly a decade of itinerant campaign travel; she served as communications director for Colorado Sen. Mark Udall during the 2008 campaign and also did work for Sen. Chris Dodd's presidential campaign in Iowa, as well as Govs. Chet Culver (Iowa) and Tim Kaine (Va.).

Say What?: "Do I think there's a definitional difference between 'sound' and 'strong'? Absolutely." -- White House press secretary Robert Gibbs trying to explain why, after attacking Sen. John McCain on the campaign trail for saying the fundamental of the economy were "strong," it was OK for the Obama administration to call the fundamentals "sound." Um, OK.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 17, 2009; 6:05 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Next: The Protecters of the Palin Brand

Comments

Liberals always fail enemy identification. Every generation of left-thinking people needs a new person to point to as the reason that their coffee isn't hot enough, or why their toast is a little too dark. Cheney replaces Nixon replaces McCarthy...

"DICK CHENEY AND THE AMERICAN GESTAPO: PERFECT TOGETHER?" OMG! WTF? ROTFLMAO! LOL!

Cheney sure knows how to make 'em get shrill, you've gotta give him that.

Posted by: GoFigger | March 18, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Cheney is proud of his achievement while in office - September 11 - it set the stage for his master plan.
We will be paying for his corporate wars for decades.

Posted by: seemstome | March 18, 2009 5:59 AM | Report abuse

leapin, I've got no interest in listening to a racist, drug addict but if you feel you can learn something from him....go for it. It will obviously improve your existence.

Posted by: jasperanselm | March 17, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

jasperanselm -

I see that you are both below the average IQ and income of RL's audience. But those government bene's will tide you over.

Posted by: leapin | March 17, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"You are right about that, armpeg. And what a group of addled drug addicts, alcoholics, sexaholics, media wh*res and morons they are."

Yes I agree. Teddy, Slick, Uncle Joe, Pelotox are quite a group!

Posted by: leapin | March 17, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

king_of_puke is kind of quiet today. Mom must be limiting his time on her computer. See what happens zookie when you don't keep your room clean.

Posted by: jasperanselm | March 17, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are going to pitch Michael Steele, who couldn't even win his state, for Norm Coleman, who couldn't win his state either? You go, Republicans! Soon there will be nothing left.

Posted by: fmjk | March 17, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

And isn't that just the creepiest smile you've ever seen in the Cheney photo? I couldn't even read the first few paragraphs since I had to scroll down so quickly.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 17, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"On the few conservative blogs (not this one, that's for sure) on the other hand, it's adults dealing with adults. "

Perhaps you can link to some conservative comment threads? I want to see how mature they can get. You know, something to aspire to.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 17, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The vile hate spewing drivl shows up to ply its trade.

Hey drivl, are you a member of the new Lib dirty tricks squad? It was supposed to be a secret but it got mixed up with some military manuveurs and released.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 17, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"And the only contrary GOP voice of reason (relatively speaking) is...Meghan McCain."

And what's said is that her own father won't defend her against the attacks of the skanky h* Ingraham.

Posted by: drindl | March 17, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Gibbs is a deluxe dork and fits right in with the Obama Staff. AIG's main downfall was due to Clintons Sub-Prime Lending and Barney Franks. I bet Barneys boyfriend encouraged him to grow that mustache.

-------------------------------------------
No, I think it was Larry of the Wide Stance. Or maybe Mark of the Page Boys Foley.

Whatever. You might want to find out about Chuck Hegel's attempt in 2005 to put some controls on Fannie and Freddie. His bill never made it out of committee because 17 REPUBLICAN Senators killed it there after being lobbied by Fannie & Freddie's K Street firms.

It just proves more and more what utter thieves and hipocrites Republicans are. Hell, they eat their own and blame everything on Bill Clinton.

BTW, Asshat, this problem didn't start with Clinton.

Posted by: dennissuper | March 17, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Has there been any MSM followup at all on prize-winning journalist Sy Hersh's allegations that an A squad was run out of Cheney's office beyond any Congressional oversight? We'd like to know whether scrivener50 deserbes an apology.

BTW, I was never more convinced of the need for a Fairness Doctrine than when I was driving through Ohio and came across Ingraham's show on multiple AM stations. Ingraham spent the first half-hour I heard on irrational snarky rants against Obama. She then spent about 15 minutes, IMO, making fun of ailing undocumented workers without health insurance. How is that funny? What's sad is these daily three-hour bigoted rants go completely unchallenged.

How did the GOP get the point where she, Rush, and the many supremacist Rush wannabes are now the spokespeople for the party? And the only contrary GOP voice of reason (relatively speaking) is...Meghan McCain.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 17, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Here's a post worth repeating:

"What can they do about their vaccum problem? Suck it up."

Posted by: drindl | March 17, 2009 1:41 PM


You go, drindl!

Posted by: Observer44 | March 17, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

" When all the facts are against their guy or viewpoint, they'll either make things up out of thin air, or they'll attack the messenger by name calling and personal attacks. It's like dealing and talking to 10 year olds. "

This describes you with uncanny acuracy, armpeg. Ask anyone on this blog.

Posted by: drindl | March 17, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"On the few conservative blogs (not this one, that's for sure) on the other hand, it's adults dealing with adults."

this is the single most hilarious thing I have read in days. I mean, my god, ROFLOL.

Look up the word 'projection,' guy. you people are masters of it, and i doubt you even realize.

Posted by: drindl | March 17, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

It's laughable how childish the usual liberal Democrat Socialist response is to any conservative pro-Republican point of view on blogs like this is. It never fails. When all the facts are against their guy or viewpoint, they'll either make things up out of thin air, or they'll attack the messenger by name calling and personal attacks. It's like dealing and talking to 10 year olds. On the few conservative blogs (not this one, that's for sure) on the other hand, it's adults dealing with adults.

Posted by: armpeg | March 17, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

How hilarious is this? The cons who were the biggest deregulars, boosters and enablers of big business excess, now they're singing a different tune...of course, Krauthammer is admitting that it's all a show, just another sleazy pose to 'maintain popular support.' But no matter the problem, to them, the answer is always torture.

"While conservatives have joined in the mass discontent with AIG, some are taking their anger a bit too far. Yesterday on a local Iowa radio show, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) suggested that AIG executives consider committing suicide. And last night on Fox News, far right pundit Charles Krauthammer and his milder counterpart Mort Kondracke argued that some should be put to death:

KRAUTHAMMER: I’m all in favor of keeping this heaping opprobrium. I would deny them the bonuses if possible. I would be for an exemplary hanging or two. Have it in Times Square, invite Madame DuFarge. You borrow a guillotine from the French and we could have a party. If that’s what it takes to maintain popular support, let’s do it. But it’s not going to change anything economically. […]

KONDRACKE: I was going to recommend boiling in oil in Times Square, but look, because these are the people who invented these crazy credit default swaps that are leading to the whole disaster."

Posted by: drindl | March 17, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin asks
"Armpeg, what would have been your R response?"

You won't get a response, which is exactly the problem. The GOP has no idea what to do, so they just say 'no' to anything that Obama or the D's oppose. Today's talking point is to rip Geithner for the AIG bonuses - nevermind that Paulson was running Treasury when the deal was made. The fools are still more interested in playing politics than solving problems.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 17, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"Guys like Steele, Limbaugh, Gingrich, Cheney, Hannity, Beck, Huckabee, and others like them are the leaders and voice of the real conservative wing of the Republican Party"

You are right about that, armpeg. And what a group of addled drug addicts, alcoholics, sexaholics, media wh*res and morons they are.

Yeah, I'm terrified of them, buddy. You bet. Yes, please do encourage them to run for office. I'll go make some popcorn.

Posted by: drindl | March 17, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Re: "Neither Cheney nor Limbaugh is the preferred messenger for a Republican Party trying to move away from the stereotype that it is dominated by older white men."

That should read: "dominated by inflexible, arrogant, hypocritical, fat-headed, lying, bigoted older white men"

But, you know, that's just the facts, not necessarily my opinion.

Posted by: egc52556 | March 17, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

People who listen to and parrot Limbaugh and call themselves 'dittoheads' should be laughed out of the room when they talk about 'groupthink.' I mean, is this a joke?

Posted by: drindl | March 17, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"the notion that a moderate D.C. insider, in this groupthink Age of Obama, should be deemed courageous for taking on Rush Limbaugh is, with all due respect, completely laughable."

What does this say about the people who aren't even able to muster this laughable level of courage?

Posted by: DDAWD | March 17, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

What can they do about their vaccum problem?

Suck it up.

Posted by: drindl | March 17, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

A Gingrich comeback as leader of the Republican party would be bigger than Nixon's comeback. Of course Nixon needed an assassination and the Democratic party to tear itself apart to achieve the feat, but you never know.

Jeb Bush as the new leader? I would like to think that the last name Bush is an anchor only second to Cheney as a hinderance to political success in the next several decades.

Huntsman? As leader of the party whose largest primary voting contingent is made up of evangelicals? First Huntsman seems to be (from the perspective of today's GOP) a dyed in the wool hippie. Second only to the Governator among GOP state executives. Second, apologizing articles to the contrary, those same evangelicals see him standing next to Satan as a heretic/apostate.

Until Ms. Palin recovers Louisiana Jr. High student council president Jindal is the GOP's best hope.

Posted by: caribis | March 17, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

""I can only guess how to spell "Krysczewski""

Krzyewski. You were close.

And no, I didn't have to look it up. I'm sad."

Well, since you didn't look it up, I'm pleased to report that you were merely close too, so you aren't as sad as you think.

It's Krzyzewski. I looked it up just to be sure.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | March 17, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Leapin, limberger can hold an audience of 20 million for 15 hours a week because his particular audience isn't too smart. You and zookie being prime examples.

Posted by: jasperanselm | March 17, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

the lesson from Seattle - even Libs don't believe their own lies any longer and would certainly not part with their own money to be subjected to them. the NYSlimes is only steps behind.

Every Lib attempt at profit and success only ends in government bailouts and bankruptcy. Now Obamanomics is attempting to do to the entire economy what Libonomics has done to the airlines, the autos, housing, the newspapers, government services, etc. Of course no one with a brain is suprised, this clearly excludes the Lib base. they are becoming surprised as the evidence of utter ineptitude mounts. Meanwhile, cue another stump speech with some clever chanting lines inserted.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 17, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"I can only guess how to spell "Krysczewski""

Krzyewski. You were close.

And no, I didn't have to look it up. I'm sad.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 17, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Monday night floated the idea of taxing American International Group (AIG) bonus recipients so the government could recoup the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit. (Snip)That amendment provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009,” which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are seeking to tax.

It seems the obama folks are now busying themselves with undoing on Monday what they accomplished last Friday. What would you expect from a man who can promise frugality the day after spending more than anyone in history. who promises to end earmarks and go line by line the day before signing 8500 of them into law. the guy who proclaimed an emergency that must be passed with in the hour, then goes on vacation for a long weekend.

the amatuer aspects of the admin are becoming glaring.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 17, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

The libs unwisely chose to continue to confuse the role of a political analyst and strategist with that of the nation’s premier talk-show host. The genre of talk radio hinges on entertainment — satire, invective, bombast, humor. A Limbaugh succeeds or fails not just by his ability to analyze politics (millions can do that), but by his acting ability, impersonations, ad hoc quips, and comedy, which hold an audience of 20 million for 15 hours a week (only a handful of people in the country can do that).

As a result of that confusion of genres, we get something incoherent like the analyst Frum, in ad hominem invective, decrying Limbaugh’s past problems with prescription drugs, three marriages, weight problems, cigar smoking, wealth, etc., as he weirdly accuses Limbaugh, the talk-show host par excellence, of resorting to ad hominem crudity in saying that Obama is using his biracial heritage to his advantage, and that it improperly shields him from normal scrutiny.

The other issues likewise weaken Frum’s case. Plenty of candidates, left and right, who are purported role models (in a way talk-show hosts need not be) have had divorces and admitted illicit drug use, smoke, and are not in top shape; the Democratic advocacy groups have had plenty of spokespeople, from the Daily Kos and Michael Moore to the Durbin/Kennedy/Murtha outbursts on Iraq, that make Limbaugh seem moderate in comparison; so far the venom that was expressed against Bush dwarfs any legitimate criticism of Obama (we haven’t yet, thank God, had novels like Checkpoint about Obama); the notion that a businessperson like Limbaugh is wrongly profiting from his criticism of Obama is far less persuasive than the suspicion that political operatives are wrongly scrambling to reinvent their message, either to regain power or to become acceptable to those now in power; and finally, the notion that a moderate D.C. insider, in this groupthink Age of Obama, should be deemed courageous for taking on Rush Limbaugh is, with all due respect, completely laughable.

Posted by: leapin | March 17, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is no more after today. Need a new Washington State news site? Try grist.org -- home of former Fix editor Russ Walker."

Chris, I LOVE Grist.org-- it's one of my favorite websites. However, it is not a general news site, nor is it a Washington State news site; it's devoted strictly to environmental news and information. Their slogan is "Gloom and doom with a sense of humor." The site is an absolute must for those who are concerned about environmental issues.

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | March 17, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Armpeg -

If I had been asked to invent the R response to this economic crisis, I would probably have offered the following:

1] Get a G20 agreement on guaranteeing a future price on the beanie babies that clog the major world banks, so that the banks could start laying them off to investors, now [last September].

2] Target certain high foreclosure areas for new FHA lending.

3] Target local banks that are healthy to offer more SBA loans by buying in their held SBA performing paper.

4] Offer longer tax carryforforwards and carrybacks on business losses, and allow averaging again on business incomes.

5] Targeted tax credits for people to buy high mpg cars and weatherize their houses.

6] Extend UI payments and food stamps.

7] Recognize the volatility of unemployed young folks and pay more to military volunteers; extend civil volunteer programs, and offer Community College scholarships.

These would have been cheaper than the Ds alternatives but would have addressed the worst of the immediate problems.


Armpeg, what would have been your R response?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 17, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Hemisphere: El Salvador elected a leftist president in a peaceful vote Sunday that by all accounts was fair. But the odds are now against this U.S. ally remaining democratic. That could cost the U.S. in more ways than one. The narrow election of Mauricio Funes, a representative of the Marxist guerrilla FMLN party, as president of El Salvador Sunday, is a body blow to U.S. influence and the free market model in the region.

busy, busy, giving speeches and not solving problems.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 17, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The obama of S america:

Hemisphere: El Salvador elected a leftist president in a peaceful vote Sunday that by all accounts was fair. But the odds are now against this U.S. ally remaining democratic. That could cost the U.S. in more ways than one. The narrow election of Mauricio Funes, a representative of the Marxist guerrilla FMLN party, as president of El Salvador Sunday, is a body blow to U.S. influence and the free market model in the region.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 17, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

The Obama administration is considering making veterans use private insurance to pay for treatment of combat and service-related injuries. The plan would be an about-face on what veterans believe is a long-standing pledge to pay for health care costs that result from their military service.

Obama to military - go F yourself. I need that money for my homies.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 17, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"Guys like Steele, Limbaugh, Gingrich, Cheney, Hannity, Beck, Huckabee, and others like them are the leaders and voice of the real conservative wing of the Republican Party, and the party that wins when it stays on message."

We fully support the idea of the GOP running any two of those gentlemen, in any combination, in 2012.

Sincerely,

The Dems

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | March 17, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

armpeg writes
"If however they have to run against a Reagan-like Republican, they know that they'll get their clocks cleaned."

So, who's the 'Reagan-like' Republican waiting in the wings to lead the party back to its rightful permanent majority status? A whole slew of candidates tried to pick up the Reagan mantle last year and the party chose so-called RINO John McCain as its candidate. What, were they trying to lose deliberately? Perhaps not such a bad strategy, for anyone that could see this financial disaster coming. That would explain the GOP's ongoing obstinance to solving the problem, come to think of it.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 17, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Any real Republican taking advise from the Democrat Socialists and their in-the-tank MSM types like Chris Cillizza on how to improve their party's image and who to choose as their leader, needs his head examined. It's like taking advice from Osama bin Laden on how to solve the Islamofacist terrorist war they've launched against us. The very people that these shysters are telling us to avoid and to not listen to (supposedly for our own good), are the people that they're most afraid of in the political arena. Guys like Steele, Limbaugh, Gingrich, Cheney, Hannity, Beck, Huckabee, and others like them are the leaders and voice of the real conservative wing of the Republican Party, and the party that wins when it stays on message. We lose when we try to be Democrat Socialists-lite and run liberal me-too Republicans like RINO John McCain, who always wanted to get along with everybody with his bi-partisanship ways and voting record. While this made him popular with the in-the-tank for the Democrat Socialist MSM, who used him as a foil (i e "the good Republican") to bash any real Republican or any of their initiatives, once he became the GOP nominee against their guy Obama, he became like do-do on their shoes. Small wonder that the Democrat Socialists now all love guys like McCain, Spector, Collins, and Olympia-Snow, et al, these are the Republicans that they want to run against their nominees because they know that they can kick their butts in an election. If however they have to run against a Reagan-like Republican, they know that they'll get their clocks cleaned.

Posted by: armpeg | March 17, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Rick J writes
"This infighting will continue for some time until someone elbows their way to the front with a positive message that resonates with the public. Hoping that Obama will fail is not a strategy....."

That is correct. Their problem isn't so much a leadership problem as an idea problem. If you go back to the Gingrich era, they had an idea guy who was able to lead the party in a consistent direction with a consistent message. They don't have that now.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 17, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Let's see. They've tried Bush, Romney didn't work too well, McCain didn't pan out, so they tried Palin, Joe the Plumber, then Limbaugh, then Steele, then Jindal, Sanford's shot isn't working out too well, now they're down to recycling the much-despised Cheney . . . I guess the next one to get a shot at GOP "leader or the week" is Glenn Beck. Then, I don't know, maybe it's time to bring Alan Keyes back again? I don't know, but maybe king_of_zouk should buy a suit so he can be ready when he gets the call.

Posted by: nodebris | March 17, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Vacuum Problem? Well, I guess they are having a problem vacuuming up all the bonuses they grant each other. .............


http://thefiresidepost.com/2009/03/17/bonuses-for-republican-big-bosses/

Posted by: glclark4750 | March 17, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Let's demand that the White House release the records on DICK Chaney's meeting with the energy companies prior to invading Iraq and just before Enron collapsed.

DEMAND RECORDS BE RELEASED: Chaney and the energy companies meeting that he said was classified do to national security.

Also, let's demand the IRS look into the 20 offshore accounts he opened as CEO of Halliburton to dodge taxes before becoming (vice) President of the USA.

While we are at it, Pres. Obama should demand the Switzerland, Luxembury et al should turn over all bank account records of accounts held by US citizens. It's a matter of national security. These countries are protecting terrorists by continuing to hide the records of account open by people living in the US. The IRS sould carefully go through these to see who they belong to and who has avoided taxes, including CEOs and others in the likes of AIG, Merrill Lynch, the US senate and house, etc. Then, if tax avoidance has been detected, go collect with interest and penalties.

Posted by: morenews1 | March 17, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

In order for the Republicans to develop new policy solutions, they have to move away from Limbaugh, Hannity and Levin. Their latest attempts to do so resulted in catastrophe when they ended up groeveling in apolegetic goo at the feet of Rush. Take Steele's case: he went out on his own to criticize Rush without a united base of support behind him; he knows what needs to be done, but he was too early, not realizing that his newly granted title means nothing without some party muscle backing him up. And criticizing Rush is not the answer; rather, he needs to create separation without offending the far right; he needs, in fact, to find a way to include them.

The Republicans' problem is that Pres. Bush's last eight years as the face of the Republican party destroyed their credibility; he made a mockery of the party's policy of fiscal restraint. So the the three radio talk show leaders of the Republicans argue for a return to "Reagan conservatism", and slam any Republican who disagrees. Will the Republicans follow their radio talk show leaders, or develop a new platform that perhaps includes some of Reagan's principles (with some modern nuance) and adds some new ones to show they want to move the country forward, not backward? The only way they can develop new policies is to unite behind a group of organized strong leaders -- it will be much more difficult for Rush to criticize a group who have thoughtfully put together a new platform, even if it does not follow his principles to the letter.

Pres. Obama's political team is not making it any easier on the Republicans by brilliantly stoking the division in the Republican party between the far right led by Limbaugh (and apparently Cheney) and the many moderates who are lurking out there just waiting for a leader(s) to stand up and move the party forward.

Posted by: jrosco3 | March 17, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

DICK CHENEY AND THE AMERICAN GESTAPO: PERFECT TOGETHER?

Why didn't CNN's John King ask Cheney about the Sy Hersh allegation that he ran an "executive assassination ring" out of the White House?

Why hasn't the mainstream media followed up on the story?

Why has Rep. Dennis Kucinich's call for a full Congressional investigation into the issues raised by Sy Hersh received scant media coverage -- not even a mention here?

Why hasn't the mainstream media covered the proliferation of silent, inury- and illness-inducing microwave radiation weaponry (a/k/a "directed energy weapons") among law enforcement agencies coast to coast...

...weapons being deceptively sold as "non-lethals" or "less lethals," weapons that merely "heat" the "outer layer" of human skin -- when, in fact, such weaponry has the capability of "cooking" human tissue from the inside out.

I would argue that the issues enumerated above are political issues -- issues that a complacent, submissive mainstream media has been conditioned to avoid.

Colleagues, the revelations from Seymour Hersh represent but one strand of a complex and insidious web of policies and covert, coordinated "multi-agency actions" that, taken together, constitute an ongoing extrajudicial targeting and punishment network...

...an authoritarian apparatus that in communities nationwide destroys lives and makes a mockery of the rule of law.

This is a scandal far worse than Watergate -- a cancer on the nation that has gone undiagnosed due largely to media malpractice.


***


TEAM OBAMA: WHAT DO YOUR BUSH HOLDOVERS KNOW ABOUT THESE SECURITY-INTEL-REVENUE 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATED ACTIONS'...

* Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons (D.E.W.) assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

* Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

* Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" that have used the IRS as an ideological tool of "social cleansing."


http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-targets-terrorizes-u-s-citizens
http://www.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

http://www.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 17, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

just as " not bush" won the last election ( I know libs aren't too bright), the next election will be decided by voting for NOT that big spending socialist amatuer who can't get anything right and just keeps giving the same stump speech over and over. Not them.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 17, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I like Grist a lot, but it isn't really a news site about Washington state. They cover environmental stories of all kinds and from many places.

Posted by: jnfr | March 17, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Cheney showed that he is a classless, unpatriotic moron.

Posted by: jillcohen | March 17, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I never thought I would say this but if I had a say in the Confederate republican party I would have to say they should have Mitt Romney as their leader. Yes he buys companies, fires employee's, watches stock go up, sells stock & moves on to other companies to do the same thing BUT at least he has a brain unlike Palin or Bobby Jingle Bells. At least if he went over sea's he would not be laughed at as the other two would. BUT, keep it up Confederate, right wing, religious Zealots, in 2010 we will have maybe 65 Senate Seats & a few dozen more in the House. keep Jingle Bells, Rush Mouth, Sarah Moscow Mouth & role model for young girls going, keep it up, "PLEASE"!!!!!!

Posted by: MrReal | March 17, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Also, Clemens is no longer the pride of Texas, but Cronkite is still alive, so I still have a long road to reach "Taylor West" status in Austin.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 17, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I thought the Medical School, or perhaps Grant Hill, was the "pride of Duke University".

I can only guess how to spell "Krysczewski", which is as good an excuse as any to use the name "Taylor West" in connection with the Blue Devils.

Is Cillizza the pride of G'town? I know it probably is not Iverson or WJC.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 17, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"If Brookover is right (and we think he is), here are a few "ideas" guys to keep an eye on: Gingrich, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal."

This highlights the Republican's problems:

1) Gingrich is perceived as the bloated face of the Republican Agenda that got us into this mess; he may be popular with some Republicans, but his ideas have been proven bankrupt.

2) Huntsman is Mormon; he will NEVER be accepted by the conservative Christian base enough to rise to the level of being a serious candidate for the presidential nomination

3) Bush; what? you think American is ready to risk a third Bush family failure? lmao

4) Jindel's acknowledged 'exorcism' of that woman will be put increasingly under the magnifying glass, and in that process, assuming the Main Street Media doesn't fail us again, Jindel will wither under the heat and America will be turned off by this religious nut

Let me add another: Palin .... ?

'nuff said.

Posted by: HillRat | March 17, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Since there is no apparent leader of the Republican party, goons such as Cheney and Limbaugh will step in and beat away anyone that tries to tamper with their view of the world. Limbaugh, especially, has acted this way. Steele has shown he's incapable of standing up to Limbaugh (and others in the GOP may feel the same.)

The vacuum of leadership has occured before in both parties (but generally the Dems have been in control of one or both houses of Congress when this has happened to them in the past.) For the GOP, they are not presently in charge and their titular leader, McCain, is not a party leader.

This infighting will continue for some time until someone elbows their way to the front with a positive message that resonates with the public. Hoping that Obama will fail is not a strategy.....

Posted by: RickJ | March 17, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The Dems are hoping that Cheney remains the public leader of the GOP for years to come...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 17, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Wait, Sanford spent all that time wailing about the stimulus bill. Then he started shouting to the hills that he wasn't going to accept the stimulus money. Now, he *is* accepting the stimulus money, but wants to use it for something it's not allowed to be used for?

Which part of that will he be able to use to "elevate himself as the leading voice of fiscal conservatives," exactly?

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 17, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Gibbs is a deluxe dork and fits right in with the Obama Staff. AIG's main downfall was due to Clintons Sub-Prime Lending and Barney Franks. I bet Barneys boyfriend encouraged him to grow that mustache.

Posted by: JWx2 | March 17, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

It's nice to have an Irish American President on St. Patty's.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 17, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

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