Inside the Beltway: The evolving GOP

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What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

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Republicans are getting a clear warning from long-range strategists: Expand and diversify your ranks, or else. And do your homework. The party is now about “rising stars,” and providing voters with authentic answers and thoughtful policy as midterm and presidential elections glow with promise on the distant horizon.

This is what leaders hope, anyway.

The Republican National Committee will launch its official “Rising Stars” program Thursday, which is Day 2 of the organization’s annual three-day summer retreat, held this year in Boston. And the stars? They debut with much ado in a fancy hotel ballroom: Karin Agness, founder of the Network of Enlightened Women; Scott G. Erickson, a Heritage Foundation contributor and California police officer; Marilinda Garcia, a New Hampshire state representative; and T.W. Shannon, speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Newt Gingrich and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus already have conducted a workshop called “Becoming the Party of Breakout.” Part of that, Mr. Gingrich told the crowd of 200, is to seek substance, not argument.

“Go home in the next two weeks when your members of Congress are home, and you look them in the eye and you say, ‘What is your positive replacement for Obamacare?’ They will have zero answers,” Mr. Gingrich advised.

“We are caught up right now in a culture, and you see it every single day, where as long as we are negative and as long as we are vicious and as long as we can tear down our opponent, we don’t have to learn anything,” he warned, adding, “We have to do the homework. This is a very deep problem.”

Organizers, meanwhile, seem intent on highlighting disarray in the Democratic Party. Advance materials read: “Have you seen the DNC? With Obama’s agenda stalled and Democrats already looking to 2016, the Democratic National Committee has gone missing.” The organization has a “staggering level of debt,” and they accuse DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of “building political muscle for herself and angering fellow Dems.”

Among the attendees: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Sen. Scott P. Brown ofMassachusetts, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and former Puerto Rico Gov. Luis G. Fortuno. Not in the throng: Mitt Romney, who surfaced last week for a local fundraiser near his summer home in New Hampshire.

A MATTER OF ASSOCIATION

“Expensive, unfunded, universal, various negative terms, confusing, complex, bad, dislike, cost hikes, disaster.”

— The top 10 words or phrases associated with the Affordable Care Act, volunteered by respondents to a Heritage Action for America poll of 1,000 likely U.S. voters released Wednesday.

AND FROM VACATIONLAND

“At 4:08, President Obama’s motorcade left the Vineyard Golf Club after a nearly five-hour round of golf. The motorcade drove back to the president’s rented house in Chilmark on empty, gloriously sun-dappled roads.”

— From the glorious White House pool report, filed by New York Times reporter Mark Landler.

THE EVOLVING GOP, PART 2

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