Thursday, April 30, 2009


(Updated [which is more than we can say for the GOP] below.)

The whole 100-Day meme is kind of silly; it's a completely arbitrary number based on the evolutionary happenstance that we have ten fingers and toes rather than, say, eight. In a parallel universe the media might as easily have spent a week in late March scrutinizing the president's First 64 Days.

President Obama's 100-day mark arrived during the week when opposition among The Civil War Re-enactment Society Senate Repubicans to HHS Secretary nominee Kathleen Sebelius collapsed, Obama passed his budget, and Sen. Arlen "Don Altobello" Specter executed a high-profile defection to the Democrats.

Whether you trust Specter or not, the optics of his jump, combined with everything else happening this week, have been simply dreadful for the GOP.

This was a week when it sucked to be RNC chair Michael Steele, even more so than in most recent weeks, That could be why, even as the Republicans (reminiscent of Democrats of yore) are fighting over whether their only shot at relevance is to step back from the ledge or jump, Steele was conspicuously not invited to be part of the newest GOP gambit.

The Republican leadership, stewing and fretting, realizes that its dream of a permanent majority, so real they could taste it only four years ago, has about as much of a chance of happening as another George Clooney "Batman" sequel.

The fact that Rove and Cheney are still making public appearances and Gingrich is seriously considered as a 2012 candidate should tell you the discussion is not going to go well:

Coming soon to a battleground state near you: a new effort to revive the image of the Republican Party and to counter President Obama's characterization of Republicans as "the party of 'no.'"

CNN has learned that the new initiative, called the National Council for a New America, will be announced Thursday.

It will involve an outreach by an interesting mix of GOP officials, ranging from 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain to Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and the younger brother of the man many Republicans blame for the party's battered brand: former President George W. Bush.

In addition to Sen. McCain and Gov. Bush, GOP sources familiar with the plans tell CNN others involved in the new group's "National Panel Of Experts" will include:

*Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former national GOP chairman
*Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
*Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

It will report to GOP congressional leaders, and among those signing the announcement that will be made public Thursday are:

*House GOP Leader John Boehner
*House GOP Whip Eric Cantor
*House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence
*Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell
*The No. 2 Senate Republican, Jon Kyl
*And the Senate GOP Conference Chairman, Lamar Alexander

"However, this is not a Republican-only forum," reads the letter announcing the new effort, a copy of which was obtained by CNN from Republican sources involved in the effort. "While we will be guided by our principles of freedom and security, we will seek to include more than just our ideas.

"This forum will include a wide open policy debate that every American can feel free to participate in," the announcement letter reads. "We do this not just to offer an alternative point of view or to be disagreeable. Instead, we want to ask the American people what their hopes and dreams are."

(Emphasis added.) "An interesting mix of GOP officials?" Really?

Imagine a T-Rex, a triceratops, a brontosaurus, a pterodactyl, and a velociraptor fronting an initiative called "How Reptiles Can Remain the Dominant Species After the Meteor," and you'll see the problem here.

(Oddly enough, although it's full of other legacy names, I don't see Meghan McCain's name anywhere in the announcement.)

Amazing as it seems, compared to the state of things not very long ago, the Republican Party has been out-evolved.

(Image via DKos.)

(Update: John Perr reminds us that this is the second Republican re-branding in a year.)

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