Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Disarray at the NRCC

If Republicans want to truly, seriously have a shot at regaining Congress they will need more than just lip service. According to The Politico Minority Leader Boehner's frustration came through loud and clear yesterday:

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) challenged Republicans on Tuesday to get off their “dead asses” and start raising money for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

And the Republican leader wasn’t the only lawmaker berating his GOP colleagues to raise more money for the committee’s March 12 fundraising dinner: According to sources in the room, NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) also used a closed-door session at the Capitol Hill Club on Tuesday to challenge Republicans to raise more campaign cash.

The normally upbeat Cole told Republicans that if they don’t start raising more money for the committee, they should get used to life in the minority. Blunt told his colleagues that Sen. John McCain’s spot atop the ballot should give Republicans the opening they need to regain their majority.

California Rep. Darrell Issa, who has been tapped as chairman of the annual fundraising dinner, set a goal of raising $7.5 million for the event. He even pledged some of his own campaign cash if members failed to clear a recent hurdle. But House Republicans are falling well short in that goal.
According to numbers read during the Tuesday morning meeting, only 15 Republicans have met their pledged fundraising goal for the dinner. Among them are Texas Reps. Mike Conaway and Pete Sessions and South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson, a source familiar with the fundraising totals said. Another 42 have set a pledged target but failed to contribute the bulk of that money. And an astonishing 142 members — almost three-fourths of the Republicans in the House — have failed even to set a fundraising target.

Boehner kept his remarks brief Tuesday — back trouble has limited his activity recently — but members and aides present said the Republican leader was clearly frustrated.

The party has struggled to emerge from its devastating losses in 2006 as senior members head for the exits and traditional donors buck the GOP in favor of the new Democratic majority. Some of those defections have sapped Republicans of their most powerful fundraisers, and remaining members have failed to fill that void as GOP lawmakers still grapple with life in the minority.

Life in the minority isn't fun. We know because we've been there before, and we piddled that majority away last year. Though I disagree with the assertion that these losses were "devastating." If they were that, then the Democrats wouldn't be as frustrated as they are now. After all, they were thwarted at nearly every turn last year -- from energy issues, to war funding, and earmarks in between.

Boehner's right. It's time the GOP stop moping and start working towards trying to close the gap with the Democrats. Regaining the majority will take some time. It's certainly not happening this year, but inroads can be made. We could very easily close the gap in the House with the failure of Pelosi's majority to accomplish anything of substance last year. Passing a half-dozen measures -- most of them feckless to begin with -- doesn't translate into leadership. She has been a paltry leader in the House, and when this election is done, we can only hope that Democrats will recognize this, and give the House a better, more qualified, and able leader.

But as for the GOP, it's time to start working towards narrowing the majority of the Democrats, and that means fundraising. So yes it is time for them to "get off their dead asses."

Publius II


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