Week in Review: "GOP Hangover" Edition

The first week of the second session of the 112th Congress was anything but kind to House Republicans. Looks like their lack of a comprehensive jobs plan and string of political games on the Floor are finally catching up to them.

So here is a look back at the week that was:


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.’”


The Hill: GOP returns with 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.”


Politico: GOP airs grievances in family feud

“House Republicans hunkered down in a Capitol basement Wednesday for a members-only meeting aimed at reconciling what some described as a family feud within a GOP majority that’s trying to get its act together for the 2012 session… House Republicans are incredibly concerned about the emerging narrative that their party is in tatters.”

“Much of the consternation is centered around the party’s posture payroll tax debate in December. House Republicans wanted a year-long extension of the tax holiday after Senate Republicans had already agreed to a two-month deal. Rank-and-file members ended the year peeved at their leadership for caving on the deal.”

New York Times: G.O.P. in Congress Gets Blame for Gridlock

“The public is not assigning blame equally between President Obama and Republicans in Congress for the partisan gridlock over key legislation.”

“In the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, 60 percent say Mr. Obama is attempting to work with Congressional Republicans to try to accomplish something; 27 percent say Republicans in Congress are making the same effort to work things out with the president.”


Washington Post: For House Republicans, a game of debt charades

“…in their first major act of 2012, House Republicans picked up exactly where they left off: They staged a duplicitous debate in which they pretended that they were going to deny President Obama permission to increase the government’s borrowing limit.”

“…But that didn’t stop many of those same 174 Republicans from marching to the floor Wednesday afternoon to vote for a resolution “disapproving” of the very same debt-limit increase they had already blessed. It was a model of deception: claiming to oppose something they had guaranteed would take effect.”

“…The role of calling out Republicans for their two-faced behavior fell on Wednesday to one of their own, conservative Rep. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), who, unlike most of his colleagues, was perfectly consistent: He opposed increasing the limit last year, and he continued to oppose it on Wednesday.

“This vote has been called a charade,” Flake said on the floor. “That is true. It is. Let’s face it.”

“…The House’s first legislative act of 2012 had been utterly pointless — which was just the point.”


Politico: GOP message: It's all about Obama

“House Republican lawmakers gathered near the Baltimore harbor for their annual retreat, squarely focused on the presidential election, even as their own reelections hang in the balance.”

“…The divide in leadership strategy that so often plagues the party was  immediately clear, though, on a chilly Maryland evening. While Boehner focused on Obama, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) put 2012 in starkly different terms.”

“…But while Boehner talked mostly about Obama and how Republicans should define him, Cantor seems to want to better define his own party.”