Rough Start to 2012 for GOP Do-Nothing Congress

These can’t be the articles House Republicans wanted to come back to Washington to...

The Hill: GOP Returns with a New Year’s Hangover

“Consequently, the prevailing mood among some rank-and-file House Republicans heading into the second year of their majority is pessimism.”

“…Lawmakers, particularly members of the vaunted class of freshmen, voiced disappointment that the GOP’s modest achievements in spending cuts in 2011 did not meet their lofty expectations for taking a sledgehammer to the national debt.”

A few of the most conservative members of the party have characterized the past year as an outright failure, pointing to the minimal dent that the spending deals have made in the immediate deficit and to the exceptions that party leaders made to procedural reforms at the end of the year.”

National Journal: House GOP Returns, Bowed Not Broken

“…12 months of showdowns and super failures have left them grappling with how to recalibrate their policies and redefine their message. Meanwhile, President Obama and congressional Democrats are seizing on the public’s low opinion of Congress to depict Republicans as protecting the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.”

“‘It’s amazing that so soon after the 2010 elections, the Republican House of Representatives is now faced with having to rebuild trust with the voters,’ freshman Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas complained recently in a blunt op-ed piece.”

“In interviews with a dozen other House Republicans, a similar theme emerged: Momentum was lost; they need a big, bold, unified legislative and messaging strategy; Boehner’s team must get everyone, as Rep. Allen West of Florida put it, ‘on the same sheet of music.’”

“Even if a new messaging campaign results from this weekend’s retreat, there are few moments on the legislative calendar where Republicans can make a stand.”

NY Times: Boehner Faces a Restive G.O.P. and New White House Attacks

For Speaker John A. Boehner and House Republicans, returning to the Capitol this week could have the awkward feeling of a couple waking up after a night of fighting.”

“Mr. Boehner began 2011 with the heady wave of victory and ended the year in disarray... Now, he begins the second session of the 112th Congress on defense, his leadership under scrutiny and his party facing an election-year attack from the White House.”

The tensions among Republican lawmakers reflect the central problem that Mr. Boehner faced through several rounds of negotiations over federal spending last year. In his attempts to strike the kinds of bipartisan deals that voters say they crave, the speaker often gets ahead of his conservative membership and is then forced to retreat when he finds support lacking.”

Mr. Boehner’s problems on the Hill reflect the divisions within the Republican Party, with the most right-leaning faction’s quest for ideological purity chafing against a desire among some members, including Mr. Boehner, to compromise in the name of legislative accomplishment.”