The GOP’s new message: to keep the Titanic sailing, we just need to arrange the deck chairs!

Charles Johnson reflects on the apparent, unfortunate takeaway from the three-day Republican retreat:

Yes, the bigwigs of the GOP got together in Charlotte last week and decided that nothing’s wrong, they just need to stop saying dumb things. Victory is within their grasp, if they can just find the right shoe polish.

[...] But the party’s main problem, dozens of Republican National Committee members argued in interviews over three days this week, is who delivers its message and how, not the message itself. Overwhelmingly they insisted that substantive policy changes aren’t the answer to last year’s losses.

“It’s not the platform of the party that’s the issue,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said Friday after being easily reelected to a second, two-year term. “In many cases, it’s how we communicate about it. It is a couple dumb things that people have said.”

A slide presented during a closed-press strategy session said that Mitt Romney might be president if he had won fewer than 400,000 more votes in key swing states.

“We don’t need a new pair of shoes; we just need to shine our shoes,” said West Virginia national committeewoman Melody Potter.

Right, Melody. Polish that turd. Steve Benen catches the first shiny GOP talking point:

Last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) complained that the Obama administration intends to “annihilate the Republican Party. And let me tell you, I do believe that is their goal — to just shove us in the dustbin of history.” [...] On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Ryan told David Gregory that he believes President Obama is “thinking more of a political conquest than political compromise.”

Benen calls bullshit:

Whether you love Barack Obama, hate him, or occasionally change your mind about him, the guy is an even-keeled, technocratic Democrat, who’s spent four years pursuing a fairly moderate agenda, endorsing and utilizing Republican ideas, appointing Republicans to his cabinet, and expressing a willingness to compromise on practically everything.

If “conquest” is on the president’s to-do list, he’s hidden it extremely well.

Indeed, the inescapable reaction to the Boehner/Ryan pity party is that they’re engaging in projection — it’s Republicans who’ve tried to delegitimize Obama. It’s the right that wants to annihilate its rivals. It’s the GOP that’s rejected compromise at every turn, launching a scorched-earth campaign to destroy Obama’s presidency as best they can.

John Boehner and Paul Ryan aren’t describing the folks they see in the White House, they’re describing the folks they see at their own caucus meetings.

[...] As I argued the other day, in most respects, the Boehner/Ryan line has it backwards — the president would be quite pleased, actually, if the radicalized Republican Party was brought back to the American mainstream, and stood ready to work constructively with other policymakers (i.e., Democrats) on finding solutions to public policy challenges.

That’s not an agenda based on conquest; it’s the opposite.

It certainly wasn’t the Democratic leadership who decided their top priority (for four long years, during one of the worst economic periods in U.S. history, which THEY created during the prior eight years) would be to make a Republican POTUS a one-term president.

If I were a Republican base voter, I think I’d demand that my elected representatives stopped treating me like I was a complete idiot. Of course, I’d have to stop acting like one first.

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