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Cantor's policy group 'in a suspended state'

Ben Pershing

One year ago this week, a group of Republican luminaries led by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) gathered at Pie-Tanza pizzeria in Arlington for a town-hall style launch of a new group designed to help the GOP forge a policy agenda -- the National Council for a New America.

Now, the group isn't meeting anymore -- at a pizzeria or anywhere else -- and on Thursday, Democratic operatives were gleefully sending around a story in CQ and Roll Call noting the organization's demise.

Cantor spokesman John Murray confirmed to The Washington Post that NCNA was no longer operational. "It's in a suspended state," he said.

With the help of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (R), who attended that first event, Cantor started NCNA to "engage with and empower the American people to develop innovative solutions that meet the serious challenges confronting our country." The group promised "a series of forums, town halls, and an online effort" to connect average Americans with experts and policymakers. Sarah Palin and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) were also enlisted to help the effort.

But the group quickly drew flak from Democrats, who questioned whether it was appropriate for Cantor to operate it from the taxpayer-funded minority whip's office. Last July, the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics asking for a probe into whether Cantor was violating House rules by using official resources -- including his office staff and Web site -- to maintain an organization that seemed political in nature.

Murray said OCE -- which is tasked with vetting allegations against lawmakers and deciding whether they should be referred to the House ethics committee -- had informed Cantor's office that it had dismissed the complaint against him. Following official policy, an OCE spokesman declined to comment on that assertion.

Murray contends that the NCNA was a success, pointing to the heavy media coverage the group's kickoff received. But it appears never to have held another public meeting after the first event in Arlington, and did not follow through on its pledge to conduct town halls around the country.

The national council's Web site is down, and Murray said the entire Minority Whip site was in the midst of a redesign. He noted that Cantor remains active in helping Republicans develop their policy platform. Cantor chairs the House GOP's Economic Recovery Working Group, which has helped spread the party message on issues ranging from economic stimulus package to the financial regulatory reform bill.

Cantor is also helping Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) formulate the "Commitment to America," a blueprint for how a Republican majority would govern modeled partly on the "Contract With America" that helped the GOP capture the House in 1994.

Off the Hill, a host of new outside groups have been formed with an eye toward helping Republicans compete intellectually and financially this November. One group, American Action Network, is run by Rob Collins, a former senior aide to Cantor.

It's unclear whether any of those groups plan to visit Pie-Tanza soon.

By Ben Pershing  |  May 6, 2010; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  Ben Pershing , Election 2010 , Eric Cantor  
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Next: Tom Perriello and the politics of principle


Cantor is a joke...and always will be one.

Uh-oh, duck Eric! Someone just fired a gun somewhere in Virginia.

Posted by: checkered1 | May 6, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

What policy? All the GOP has--and continues to give us--is smoke and mirrors. They have perverted the meaning of "reform." With them, the future appears to be the very worst of the past.

Good riddance!

Posted by: carlianschwartz | May 6, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

You can't sustain a stunt. They had no policy, just hot air. Jeb is out of office, as is Mitt, and Cantor is a rabid blowhard.

Posted by: jckdoors | May 6, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Policy Group? What policy group? The only "policy" the republicans have is to say "NO" to anything that even remotely benefits "THE PEOPLE" while supporting programs for the wealthy and the corporations. They egg on the hate mongers like limbaugh and beck to keep their two digit IQ "base" energized and voting against their own best interests. Meanwhile, their politicians promote "confederate history month" and racist tea parties. Let's hope they keep it up as the face of American continues to change. Maybe they can totally finish themselves off as a political party in our lifetimes.

Posted by: Pearl77 | May 6, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Minor typographical note... you switch between NCNA and NCNE in this article. I believe it should be NCNA.

Posted by: dorian78 | May 6, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

You must be kidding! And running from the WhiteHouse, which is the same thing, is OK? Y'all live in a fantasy land!
One set of rules for the socialist/Marxists and one set for the opposition.

Posted by: MonicaS1 | May 6, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Israel has a Congressman, but who's representing the Virginia 7th?

Posted by: st50taw | May 6, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey, look at us, we got media coverage. That makes us a success, so says the Party of No.

Posted by: fatman985 | May 6, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

MonicaS Wrote: You must be kidding! And running from the WhiteHouse, which is the same thing, is OK? Y'all live in a fantasy land!
One set of rules for the socialist/Marxists and one set for the opposition.


MonicaS, when you rant about "socialist/Marxists" you take away from any argument you may have because folks will discount you as an idiot.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | May 6, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

He's too busy with his speech classes to rid himself of his southern accent.

Lord, I wish Lindsey Graham would take lessons. Lose that lint head accent and a lot of the gay jokes, too.

Posted by: edismae | May 6, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Remember that '90's book "Getting to Yes?"

Eric's group just found out that their sequel "Getting to No" didn't have to be a very long book.

Posted by: jeffersonian1 | May 6, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

ERIC CANTOR is a joke, no other discription for him. With all his speech classes and everything else he has done to make himself appealing has not work and it won't.When you don't have personality and the truth behind yyou, you are doom to become a failure. Cantor has just reached that stage of the game.

Posted by: carolynlebeaufyahoocom | May 6, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

It did not surprised me about this group making all the promises to hold nationwide town hall meetings only to fold up.

That is typical of Cantor, full of hot air and nothing else.

Posted by: beeker25 | May 6, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

And what do repubicans like? Well, if you rread past this article, there is another one talking about Sarah Palin endorsing Carly Fiorina, the former HP CEO who basically ran HP into the ground. Sarah Palin is quoted as saying "Fiorina's experience running a major corporation was sorely lacking in Washington."

"[Fiorina's] fiscal conservatism is rooted in real life experience." She knows that when government grows, the private sector shrinks under the burden of debt and deficits."

Once again, the party of "utter stupidity" has cast its vote for an incompetent corporate CEO as an example of a "Real" American.


Posted by: swatkins1 | May 6, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Mmmmmmmmm Pie-tanza......wood fired pizza, buffalo moz, a leaf of basil and a slosh of red sauce....fried olives....cold beer...what 1000 point drop in the Dow?

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | May 6, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are too busy trying to convince their voters that the Bush Administration never happened, that they were not responsible for anything they did while Bush was in office, and that they didn't play any part in bringing down the American financial system.

In other words, all the GOP about is lies, big lies.

Posted by: lindalovejones | May 6, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

The American public is Very Familiar with GOP POLICY... It's Called, Corporate Welfare, Lie, Cheat, and Screw the Middle Class while placating Corporations and destroying our environment. It was the Bush Administration who 'looked the other way' on everything from the environment, to Consumer protections, with the idiotic ideology that 'the market will fix itself'. That ideology only works sometimes.. not all the time.
Cantor is a perfect example of Unscrupulous, deceptive, unethical, Out of Touch Republican. He makes me ill.

The GOP Wouldn't know what Ethics looked like if it was staring them in the face.

Posted by: HopeForAmerica | May 6, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I thought the right-wing crime syndicate already had some time-honored policies already in place.

Just say "NO!"

Obstruct, then deny.

Tax cuts for the rich!

Self-regulation by the banking industry is the only intelligent way. {Something like foxes guarding the hen house.}

Drill baby drill!

A handgun in every pot.

The only good science is junk science.

Anyone care to ask sixteen hundred and forty-two guitar pickers in Nashville about climate change? Or explain to 15 million unemployed Americans how tax cuts for Bill Gates and Bill Clinton will create jobs? And there was that idea in 1981 to stop enforcing immigration laws to maintain a cheap labor force.

Maybe its a good thing for the United States that Cantor and Cabal won't be designing any more right-wing policies. None of the others in the last 40 years have worked out very well for real Americans.

Posted by: BigTrees | May 6, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

The NCNA was a success due to high media coverage. It didn't acomplish anything but alot of people talked about it, like the Kardashians, John and Kate, the ballon boy and his parents.....

Now they will formulate a "Comitment to America" modeled in the contract with america. Great, does that mean it will be hopefully effective for the campaign season and then quickly forgotten to die a lonely, ignominous death? Yes.

Maybe the problem was the republicans just couldn't come up with any ideas that they could promote using facts, reason and valid argument.

Posted by: jmdziuban1 | May 6, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

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