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
"We must encourage principled, conservative men and women from every ZIP code and every background to join in the national debate because only our principles and policies will make our Republican Party, and more importantly our nation, stronger," GOP strategist Mary Matalin advised the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee's annual state leadership luncheon Wednesday in Atlanta.
"Republicans will not win future national elections unless more women and minorities run as Republicans at the state level and enter the pipeline of leadership," she continued, noting that the committee itself has earmarked $6 million to recruit "200 new diverse candidates and 300 new women candidates" as the midterm and presidential elections approach.
She also reminded her audience that in the 2012 election, women favored President Obama by 10 percentage points over Mitt Romney, with a similar "gender gap" occurring in every presidential election since 1980.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
"Are we in a candidate debate, or are we in the 'Twilight Zone'?"
— New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, to his four rival Democratic candidates for mayor; they were assembled for a live, one-hour debate on local cable channel NY1.
AL JAZEERA AMERICA, FIVE DAYS OUT
The new network goes live Tuesday, in a mere 120 hours, give or take a few minutes — before a potential audience of 71 million households worldwide. The network assumes the coveted broadcast landscape now occupied by Current TV, the progressive news network founded by Al Gore in 2005. Al Jazeera America has revealed the titles of its extensive daily prime-time lineup, beginning at 5 p.m.:
"Inside Story," "Early Evening News," "Real Money With Ali Velshi," "The Stream," "Nightly News With John Seigenthaler," "America Tonight With Joie Chen," "Consider This" and "Late Night News."
The network initially will air 14 hours of daily live news and discussion gleaned from 12 U.S. bureaus and 70 international bureaus — deemed "extraordinary reporting resources" by network President Kate O'Brian.
"Protecting civil liberties and privacy in the conduct of our intelligence activities is not my job alone; it is the job of every intelligence professional. No one is perfect, of course, and it is important to examine carefully different alternatives that enable the intelligence community to fulfill its core mission of serving the American people, under the law, in a manner that protects both their security and their freedom. While there are undoubtedly ways to do this job differently, I hope no one doubts our commitment to get it right."
— From an op-ed by Alexander W. Joel, the civil liberties protection officer for the office of the director of national intelligence, as written for the McClatchy-Tribune News Service. The White House and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, incidentally, announced Monday that an independent panel would review National Security Agency surveillance protocols.
POLL DU JOUR
• 68 percent of Americans would continue to work if they won $10 million in a lottery.
• 44 percent of that group would remain in their current job; 46 percent of those younger than 34 and 40 percent of those older than 55 agree.
• 31 percent would stop working altogether; 18 percent of those younger than 34 and 49 percent of those older than 55 agree.
• 23 percent would continue working, but in a different job; 36 percent of those younger than 34 and 10 percent of those older than 55 agree.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,039 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 7 to 11.
• Daydreams, curt replies to email@example.com.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.