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Today was the second day of the House Republicans' three day retreat, a.k.a. Atlas Chugged, a.k.a. The Thickening. It's a time for strategery, and attending panel discussions on how best to keep your mouth shut, and whatever else they do there. Very little news has been forthcoming (reporters have been sequestered in a nearby clubhouse, lest they report), but we still have some highlights:
  • Paul Ryan gives advice on battling Obama, because the guy the GOP looks to for advice on beating Obama is, of course, one of the two guys who just had their clocks cleaned by him. But neither House leadership nor Ryan himself are sounding very combative:
    “We have to also recognize the realities of divided government that we have,” Ryan told reporters gathered here in a golf course clubhouse. “And so while we aspire to give the country a very specific and clear vision about what we think is the right way to go on the major big issues of the time, we have to at the same time recognize the divided government moment that we have and the fiscal deadlines that are approaching, what those involve and then how we’re going to proceed forward.”

    Ryan’s comments reflect the quiet chatter in leadership that Republicans need to better instill in their members the idea that besting Obama is a tall task.

  • And because of that, Republicans at the retreat have also been contemplating a partial surrender on the debt ceiling, or at least putting off the fight once again. They're in a tight spot and they know it:
    “We’re discussing the possible virtue of a short-term debt limit extension so that we have a better chance of getting the Senate and the White House involved in discussions in March,” Ryan told reporters gathered at the pricey Kingsmill resort in Williamsburg, where the House GOP is holding its annual retreat.
    The problem is that all indications suggest leading the nation into an actual default, or even partial government shutdown, would be politically devastating to Republicans. But it's not clear the leadership can convince the more tea-inclined members of their caucus of that.
  • For unintended hilarity, you can't beat the planned panel discussion on how to talk to women and minorities without pissing them off. The panel, entitled Discussion on Successful Communication with Minorities and Women, suffered an image problem from the get-go:
    Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who heads Republicans' campaign efforts, deflected a question regarding the irony of a panel trying to help the GOP woo minorities happening in a room named after a slave-owning family’s plantation.

    "I don't pick the rooms we meet in," Walden said. "I know the Democrats have held their retreats here too and I assume you'll go and figure out if they ever held meetings in that same room."

    Fair enough, but having a panel on minorities and women that seemed to be well-stocked with white guys proved perhaps even more awkward:
    But then why, a final reporter prodded, did this panel on communicating with women and minorities include three white men: Representatives Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Scott Rigell and Frank R. Wolf, both of Virginia?

    Mr. Walden, who was not responsible for putting together the event, pointed out that the panel also included several women: “a woman from CNN” (Ana Navarro) and “Sean Duffy’s wife” (Rachel Campos-Duffy). Mr. Duffy is a congressman from Wisconsin; his wife is a television personality.

    Also on the list was Ms. Herrera Beutler. But, unfortunately, her name was misspelled.

  • Republicans heard from a variety of inspirational figures, such as the CEO of Domino's Pizza. (Hey, it's inspirational to Republicans.) He told them that he turned around Domino's by changing the recipes of what they sold; no word on how that applies to the Republican Party, which steadfastly insists that they don't need to change a darn thing.
  • The one thing they did hear they had to change? They had a pollster there to tell them to please, please stop even mentioning the word "rape," you dopes:
    “Rape is a four letter word — don’t say it,” the group was advised by a Republican pollster in one session, said a person familiar with the discussion. That was a reference to controversies about rape and abortion that helped lose the party two Senate seats in November.
    The pollsters also broke a bit of not entirely unrelated news:
    David Winston, a top GOP pollster and close adviser to Boehner, unveiled the House Republicans’ most recent favorable rating based on his own analysis: It came in at a barrel-scraping 27 percent.
    Ouch. Forget not talking about rape, the better approach would be to just stop talking entirely.
  • One thing they're not talking about at the retreat:
    Rep. John Fleming at House GOP retreat: "There's been zero discussion" of guns legislation
    @mikememoli via Twitter for iPad
    Yes, go figure.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They will be bypassed once again (12+ / 0-)
    The problem is that all indications suggest leading the nation into an actual default, or even partial government shutdown, would be politically devastating to Republicans. But it's not clear the leadership can convince the more tea-inclined members of their caucus of that.
    The Koch brothers have already signalled that they don't want a default, it would be bad for their money.  So Boehner, once again, will assemble a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats to get a clean debt limit extension passed, and the Hastert rule will look deader and deader.  It will soon be obvious that there's a governing coalition, and the tea party is not part of it.  If we can also limit the filibuster, Obama has a real chance of getting a few things done, at least if a few moderate Republicans can be found to go along with them.
  •  I'm VERY curious as to how they will rename rape. (7+ / 0-)

    I wonder what kind of Orwellian spin they will put on it.

    Or will they just flee when rape is mentioned.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 04:56:44 PM PST

  •  Here's why they're not talking about guns. (9+ / 0-)

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    The massacre of children at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., appears to be profoundly swaying Americans’ views on guns, galvanizing the broadest support for stricter gun laws in about a decade, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.
    *   *   *
    [A] majority of Americans — 54 percent — think gun control laws should be tightened, up markedly from a CBS News poll in April that found that only 39 percent backed stricter laws.

    The rise in support for stricter gun laws stretched across political lines, including an 18-point increase among Republicans. A majority of independents now back stricter gun laws.

    What's a poor Teabagger to do?
  •  GOP ratings were just as low last inaugaration (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock

    A Dino picture was even created.

    The result was a life jacket being thrown to Republicans, begging a least one for support, backroom deals, and a lurch to the middle by Dems (partially due to heavy blue dog presence).  

    That didn't seem to work out well.

    How about throwing them an anchor this time?

    Just saying...

    Do what is being done on gun control, on other key issues.  Too bad biggies like Health Care and Climate Change are off the table, but I will take real immigration action and stimulus/investment.  I suspect I am a going to go 1 for 2.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:08:49 PM PST

  •  GOP missed key retreat panel: Should have had Mel (9+ / 0-)

    Gibson lecture them on What Women Want.

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:08:55 PM PST

  •  Any choke-chains (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maggiejean, Aunt Pat, lippythelion69

    ..and Billionaires with leashes involved?

    Baby-faced, Blue-eyed, Golden-boy, Young-gun, Ex Veep-nominee Paul Ryan attached to "The Vulture" Paul Singer?

    The "reporters" were at "a club" because they might have "reported" on the S & M session.

    The Aggressively Ignorant Caucus is getting aggressively ignorant again.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:09:24 PM PST

  •  The CEO of Domino's is Tom Monaghan (6+ / 0-)

    who is a far-right Catholic funder of Republican causes. He also founded the right-wing Ave Maria Law School outside of Naples, Florida, and is likely the major funder of the Foundation for Government Accountability, based in Naples. Foundation for Government Accountability is headed by Tarren Bragdon, who had previously been the exec director of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a right-wing propaganda tank.

    Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

    by Spud1 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:12:14 PM PST

    •  Monaghan was the founder. He's no longer involved (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, Spud1

      with day-to-day operations.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:17:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of Dominoes I assume you mean - thanks. Been a (0+ / 0-)

        long time since I followed Michigan business news, but I have been in his (old) office in the Dominoes HQ in Ypsilanti (?). Building has the longest copper roof in the world.

        Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

        by Spud1 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:34:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dartagnan, renzo capetti, Aunt Pat, Matt Z

    Republican party, had this to say:

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:12:46 PM PST

  •  since when did ideas matter in winning elections? (0+ / 0-)

    Obama won on "hope" and "change." You can get away with saying almost nothing. In fact, it's better if you say almost nothing.

    There are plenty of PR flacks out there who can give them advice on how to become more presentable. They'll go scraping the bottom of the barrel for any Republican who doesn't look like a complete neanderthal, clean up, put 'em in a suit, and give them a script to read.  

    Fuck, if you can make Justin Bieber the idol of millions through the magic of special effects, it can't be that hard to do the same for political candidates.

    They could even do American Idol-style auditions for prospective candidates. America's Next Congressman! or America's Next Senator! Or even America's Next President!

    Problem with guys like Akin and Mourdock were that they became favorites of the GOP base by being bomb-throwers who weren't ashamed to say what they thought. When they had to perform before a larger audience not entirely composed of teabaggers, they went down in flames.

    So don't go with them. Just pick candidates on the basis of mediagenicity and malleability--then sell them to the base via marketing techniques. Manufacture them, like you do cars or big-screen TVs. There's a long tradition of this, from Harding to Reagan to Bush II.

    All this is expensive, but if there's one thing the Republicans don't lack, it's money.

    And once the Democrats run aground on the Grand Bargain, the GOP will have its chance to capture both houses of Congress in 2014 and make all sorts of mischief for the last two years of Obama's presidency. Then come 2016, the Dems will be divided and the GOP will have a shot at cheating their way back into the WH.

    The Republicans have a very strong motivation to rebrand: they're desperate to regain power. It's foolish to underestimate their will to power, or what they'll do when they get it.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:16:01 PM PST

    •  They've already tried this... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, irishwitch, Matt Z
      They could even do American Idol-style auditions for prospective candidates. America's Next Congressman! or America's Next Senator! Or even America's Next President!
      It was the run-up to and the Republican Primary.

      "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

      by gritsngumbo on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:14:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Romney fit that description (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, slapshoe, Matt Z

      He looked like Central Casting's idea of a president and had no discernible positions.

      Hundreds of millions of dollars later, he lost.

      On the other hand he came way too close to winning ...

  •  The GOP Is A Great Party If You Liked The 1950's (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, irishwitch, Matt Z

    or maybe the 1850's.  We will soon talk about them in the past tense and that will sould corpse-like.

  •  Is it wrong of me to enjoy this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, Aunt Pat, Matt Z

    Ultra slow train wreck as much as I am?

    I'd love to drink a 12 pack, then piss on the grave of TeaBuggerers. But, I suspect that waiting 6-9 more months, and employing scotch instead would be far more satisfying.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:20:00 PM PST

  •  So that's why Domino's stopped tasting good (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, Aunt Pat, Matt Z

    at least to me,I haven't eaten Domino's for a few years till a few months ago an got one and it was like "what happened it's not as good as it used to be" an this was before I knew about Domino's CEO.

  •  Ana Navarro is really awful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    One of the worst talking heads on CNN - and that's saying something.

    "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

    by Shane Hensinger on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:22:01 PM PST

    •  she's not just a talking head (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dartagnan, mike101, Aunt Pat, tb mare

      she's a Republican strategist who was "national Hispanic campaign chairwoman for John McCain in 2008 and national Hispanic co-chair for Jon Huntsman's 2012 campaign," according to the CNN disclaimer.

      The Hispanic vote went 61-37 for Obama over McCain, BTW.

      With a track record like that, I'm sure she has plenty of great insights regarding how the Republican party can broaden its base and reach out to minorities.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:31:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And I assume Duffy was included because his wife (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    is Hispanic. So... errr.... take of that what you will.

    "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

    by Shane Hensinger on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:23:37 PM PST

  •  27 % (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    There's that number again.  Hmm... Now where did I hear that before.

    http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/...

    Amazing how prescient that blog post was.

    "Lock, step, and barrel"

    by demkat620 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:27:22 PM PST

  •  Why should they? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat
    "There's been zero discussion" of guns legislation
    Their big funders don't want to change anything.
     

    -- We are just regular people informed on issues

    by mike101 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:52:32 PM PST

  •  How many red states (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    pull 47/48% votes for Obama, and the DNC never spends a dime in those states

  •  Sean Duffy's wife??!! (0+ / 0-)

    Some of you will remember her as the stunted, insufferable, homophobic Rachel from the San Francisco season of "Real World" in 1994.  Rachel didn't live in the 1950s -- she was born in 1971 -- but they're still her favorite decade.

    The mere fact that she was invited to participate in this "retreat" is evidence that the GOP will not be changing anytime soon.

    Republicans are so full of manufactured outrage that one day soon, all of them will spontaneously combust.

    by J Fred Smug on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:18:58 PM PST

  •  Rachel Is The Best They've Got? (0+ / 0-)

    She has sushi flown in by plane for her holiday parties.  Then her husband has the nerve to complain about his $174,000.00 yearly salary.  He grumped at one of his rallies that it just wasn't enough money to cover all his expenses.

    Hey.....no one forced the guy to have so many kids.  Maybe the lovely Rachel could stag a reunion w/ some of her former classmates on "Real World".  That guy who used to eat peanut butter out of the jar w/ his finger could probably use a new gig.  

  •  What better digs?? (0+ / 0-)

    How could you ask for a better location??? Slavery supporters and enthusiasts gathered at a Southern Slave Plantation in the South… Just think of the optics.. Couldn’t get any better hey??

    I say, I say Boreguard, crack open another jug of those Juleps and bring that new batch of dancing slaves around to the Veranda and we’ll have us a cotillion !!!

  •  Its like trying to teach a pig... (0+ / 0-)

    Its like trying to teach a pig how to act like a kitten... It is still a pig.

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