By NBC’s Patty Culhane
The first conversation I had this morning with a prominent Republican summed up the attitude at the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee. His quote, “It is hard to be a Republican these days.” The state leaders seemed disheartened, to say the least, with the past and future prospects for their party.
House Minority Leader John Boehner told the crowd of party faithful in a candid speech, they have a lot of work to do, saying, “Well - we lost. And the first step in finding our way back is to know what went wrong. Democrats didn’t win this election. Republicans lost. Public perceptions of Iraq and the President, corruption in Congress, and government incompetence drove the election results. But above all, we didn’t really offer the American public anything new. There was a perception among voters that we’d lost our way. The Republican brand became diluted and voters went the other way.”
Boehner and outgoing RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman told the crowd of a couple hundred that Republicans can only win in 2008 by remembering what they stand for—going back to the old faithful pledges, smaller government… less spending to try and win their faithful back.