House Republicans have a lot to discuss when they head to Williamsburg, Virginia, on Wednesday for a three-day retreat. With President Obama beginning his second term in just a few days, there is no shortage of major debates in the coming months: the debt ceiling, gun-control, and immigration policy.
House Republicans have a post-mortem agenda to grapple with as well. The 113th Congress did not get off to a smooth start. Turmoil was underway even as members put forth their votes for Speaker of the House. Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp attempted to rally his colleagues against Boehner. Two members even cast their votes for Allen West, who lost his bid for reelection.
Immediately after being re-elected as speaker, John Boehner was blasted by Northeast Republicans like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Congressman Peter King for failing to put the Hurricane Sandy relief package up for a vote before the House was adjourned. The backlash was renewed when the vote finally did happen, and 67 House Republicans voted against it.
Then there are the party weaknesses that the 2012 election exposed. As Alec Baldwin said, “You know your party’s in trouble when people ask, ‘Did the rape guy win’ and you have to ask, ‘Which one?’” At the close of 2012, it was just Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock on the list of choices, but as of last week, Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey entered himself into the mix.
Along with their poor performance with women voters, Republicans did badly with minority voters.
Enter the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with a list of “suggested agenda items” for the upcoming retreat.
The classics include trust falls and big-picture thinking. But how about “coup d’etat prevention and planning,” or “Science 101”? Those options also made the list, along with several other reminders of the afflictions of the House GOP.
Take a look at the Hardball Sideshow for some more unsolicited advice from the DCCC.