Skip to comments.What's Happening in Williamsburg: The GOP "Retreats"
Posted on 01/17/2013 9:16:38 AM PST by Bratch
The welcoming remarks of an unidentified member of the senior GOP House leadership to the assembled Republican conference gathering for a "retreat" in Williamsburg have leaked:
Welcome to Williamsburg, Members of the House Republican Conference. We hope you enjoy your retreat.
Perhaps we should begin with that age old tradition: Look to your left. Now look to your right. Either you or one of those two people wont be here in two years. Perhaps two of the three will be gone. If you are sitting in the wrong row, all three of you could be looking for work with the Potato Chip and Snack Food Association.
Just kidding. Sort of. Actually, we dont have a clue. Nobody does. The base may be stunned into despair or it may be ready to go Vesuvius, we cant be sure. Feels like Vesuvius most days.
It really could be that dire, and we tell you this simply because if you have only two years as a congressman, you might as well enjoy them. Play some golf while you are here. Catch the glass blowing exhibit. Your kids will love the guys in the funny hats with the muskets.
Had we been on top of things big if, that onewed have gotten you all copies of Jon Meachams new bestseller Jefferson: The Art of Power. So much of it is set in Williamsburg, and so much of it describes genuine political leadership that it would really have been a good thing to suggest you read it before arriving here. But which Congressmen read anything these days. We are passing out a transcript of a long interview Meacham gave. Perhaps your staff could summarize it for you, and you can pretend you have read the whole book when you get back home
As I was saying, welcome. We have a pretty full agenda, and you have no idea how difficult it is to fill up this much time and avoid talking about the real issues. Our reputation for folding like old beach chairs and the disarray in the leadership are painful to discuss much less fix, however, so we wont be doing much of that. We do have some fine talks coming up, but we can usually count on our speakers to do their best to ingratiate themselves to you and avoid uncomfortable subjects like the promises you made in getting here. We do note Dr. Larry Arnn from Hillsdale College is on the agenda, and we arent quite sure how that slipped by the program committee of the Speakers Office, but that could be interesting and memorable.
Some of you would like to have a long conversation about the next month which, after all, will do much to define the 113th Congress and almost certainly determine if you are drawing a primary challenger funded by The Campaign for Primary Accountability. (Our apologies to Spencer Bacchus. Didnt mean to make him twitch that way. )
If you havent yet had a chance, do read the Jim VandeHei's and Mike Allen's piece from Politico earlier in the week if youd really like to know what the Speakers team thinks about most of you. Wed like to apologize for some of the blunter, loose talk in the piece, the stuff about how you need to be pacified, how you need to stage a show for your constituents, and how there will be a lame deal at the end of the shouting that basically agrees to enormous amounts of new unfunded spending and zero meaningful entitlement reform.
That was a little blunt, and the Speaker has talked to his team about rounding the edges of their contempt for you and the conservative base. On the plus side, it was candid, right? That is what will happen, and then youll roll over on what the appropriators want, and then come May you have to go home and start raising money to fend off the primary challenges because nothing changed except the size of our astronomical debt.
Just bottom-lining it for you. We may get something rolling on immigration to try and draw off some of the heat from our impotence on spending. Paul Ryan, who we all know rose in the nations esteem because he made tough choices and defended them in public, is willing to do so again on immigration, working with Senator Rubio, so you may or may not be able to talk about something other than our serial collapses when you get home for the summer, but lets face it, the president has stolen another march on us there as well. Still, thank you Paul for trying. Having a member who is known to be thinking about big issues is a great boon to all of us.
Now, we know there is grumbling. We fully expect some Oliver Twist among you to approach the Speaker and say Please sir may I have some more, or the 2013 equivalent of an abject plea for basic necessities. But we aren't in the business of fulfilling your needs this cycle.
Some of you would like to know where we have been since November 6 or even since January 2? Why dont we have a draft bill to actually discuss that ups the debt ceiling in exchange for a raise in the age of Medicare eligibility, block granting Medicaid, even a raise in the age of Social Security eligibility another year or so, and of course which tinkers with the CPI? Why dont we have actual draft legislation on immigration to discuss? Why cant we pass out the secret deal Hal Rogers has cooked up on appropriations? We know. We hear some of you when you make the mistake of appearing on talk radio. (Wed like to talk to you about that, offline by the way. Those people are not your friends. You really shouldnt go on those shows. Try developing a relationship with someone from Politico or MSNBC.)
Look, actual draft legislation, thats not how this works. We have hunkered down. Every time we appear anywhere we get blistered by the MSM and by our so-called friends in talk radio. If we stay on the golf course and away from governing or even trying to govern, no one gets hurt. Well, we dont get hurt.
Now, some of you might get hurt, but you are all from new districts. If you can get past the primary, you are for the most part golden. Unless we get another 2006 or 2008, which isnt likely because, after all, November of 2014 will be the presidents 6 year itch election, and we should do ok just by breathing. Unless we really and truly do have a debt crisis where the bond vigilantes start forcing up the cost of our debt and the red ink explodes.
Heh. As though any amount of red ink more than a trillion matters. Cant even believe I said that. Sheesh. Sorry. We are supposed to pretend like a trillion here and a trillion there adds up to real money.
Bottom line: The senior members of the caucus have got theirs. They can retire out on comfortable pensions to good company town jobs regardless of what happens. Sure, wed like to keep the majority. The offices are bigger and the staffs are larger. But we arent going to do anything to sacrifice our positions in D.C., no matter who holds the gavel in a few years.
Most of you have the same sweet deal ahead of you. Those of you who last ten years at least. Try thinking of it that way: Your goal is to make it ten years. No one gets there by bucking leadership. Thats the bottom line.
Some of you have some qualms about this sort of realism, and I dont mean the show-boaters who actually voted against Paul Ryans budget because it didnt balance and who are just adopting a different career path. No, I mean the genuinely conscientious among you who believe the country is in an honest-to-God crisis.
Let me get a little existential on you for a moment. A country isnt in a crisis until a country believes it is in a crisis. Some of you want us to try and persuade the country it is in a crisis, but we just dont think that can be done. That is why we dont argue our case in public, why we think Meet the Press is the sum total of our out-reach duties. We arent cynical, just experienced. We cant message. We dont know how to use Twitter or social media. We are old white guys. If you cut us, we do bleed, but nobody cares and nobody thinks we care, so we are resigned to this.
Some of you, and God love ya, you think you have a duty to do something. Well, we all used to. It is the common denominator, at least for most of us: Why we got into this business.
But now is not the time to encourage you in the rekindling of that passion. Go pick an issue and work it. Do a little good, dont rage against the dying of the light. Raise some money. Well arrange some votes you can take to hold off the primary challengers. We care, we really do.
But please, for all of our sakes, stop pretending we can beat the president and his pals in the press. Maybe if we get the Senate in 2014 we can do something. In the meantime, we will stop any new nightmares from arriving at his desk, and we will spend $4 trillion we dont have and pray the world believes we will fix it in 2017.
Enjoy the weekend.
I assume this is satire, but it’s really tough to tell!
All kidding aside, I don’t understand what the conservatives are waiting for? Band together and start disrupting. You don’t need a leader to do that, just balls and a bit of a plan. It’s very sad to see ‘leaders’ act like headless chickens.
I agree. If only this really did happen! Boner is probably nursing a giant hangover and is just barely starting to stir before the afternoon entertainment agenda.
I think it can be safely stipulated that the GOP will retreat no matter where they are.
Moderate Washington Insider Republicans secretly (and not so secretly love and admire Obama)- they’d love nothing better than to lick the sweat off his ‘taint.
Facts are that for the most part, economic data is being massaged to support the establishment message that we are in an economic recovery and all that must be done is to maintain an upward path to a growth level that will solve all of the country's problems.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The data generally available is being manufactured by government stooges. Although a cottage industry in data analysis is developing, it is expensive and their output is available only to subscribers who are buying it because they are making bets in the financial markets.
Facts further are that unemployment is increasing; true Gross Domestic Product has been decreasing. Capital and income are fleeing the country as rapidly as tax lawyers and accountants are able to find exits.
And by the way, even if we were in an economic expansion; and even if the forecast economic expansion numbers came in in line with incredibly unrealistic favorable estimates, the national government is still bankrupt--nothing that is presently on the table works no matter how favorable your numbers, even if it happens which it won't.
Current tax receipt numbers are distorted by the fact that most sophisticated owners of capital engaged in a significant effort to recognize as much income in 2012 as possible; to anticipate and realize 2013 income in 2012 to avoid the higher tax rates in place this year.
And tax rates are in fact much higher in very significant places--the 3.8% Zerocare bill Medicare tax on investment income; the unlimited Medicare tax rates; the additional 5% on Capital Gain income in excess of the limit (total 8.8% combined with the Zerocare tax) to name a few.
The US has become one of the least favorable economic jurisdictions in the world. Much better to own your capital in a Bain Capital fund in the Caribbean where it is invested in 12%+ cash on cash deals in telephone companies; utilities; internet; and other developing activities in parts of the world that are productive and can afford to buy the services, than in the US; take the money out at Capital Gain rates only when you really need it to spend.
As long as economic activity and Capital in the US are exposed to the demands of the non-productive freeloaders, there is a severe disincentive to invest money and effort in creating economic enterprise here. That will continue until America wakes up.
Republican's? What it takes is political leaders who are willing to step up in public and tell the American people exactly how bad the situation really is. Personally, I don't think that involves much political risk--the people generally prefer candor.
i would love to have the job as congressional chiropractor. i could have a second career with all the free time.
How in the world can you say they are dumb?
Dumb? Absolutely not. Craven, cowardly, gutless, poltroonish, yellow-bellied, wussy, unprincipled, yes. Dumb, no way.
Also they have base envy. They wish their base was a cool as the democrat base. They wish they had a base they weren’t ashamed of.
Satire is only funny if it’s based in truth, but becomes tragedy if too close to the truth.
This has become tragedy.