Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 4, 2009

'OUTSIDE' THE BELTWAY.... As part of the Republican Party's rebranding effort, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hosted a National Council for a New America event at a pizza shop over the weekend. Roll Call reported, "Cantor said the idea of the road show is to gather ideas from outside the Beltway to shape the Republican agenda."

CQ had a similar item: "After consecutive catastrophic electoral losses ... Republican leaders are turning their attention outside the Capital Beltway -- and outside their severely diminished party ranks -- to gather ideas from the public that they hope will help them rebound."

At the risk of sounding picky, it's probably worth noting that Republicans started gathering ideas "from outside the Beltway" at an event inside the Beltway.

A place called Pie-tanza, in an Arlington strip mall, hosted the event. Pie-tanza is just a few minutes from the Washington Golf and Country Club. Indeed, it's only about six miles from Capitol Hill.

Far be it for me to offer the National Council for a New America suggestions, but it seems to me that GOP leaders are far more likely to get "ideas from outside the Beltway" if they actually go outside the Beltway.

Steve Benen 3:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Can anyone be genuinely surprised by this? This is the same party, after all, which runs out Jeb Bush, Romney, McCain, + Mr. Rogers as part of its attempt to retool itself w/a new image.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on May 4, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Good pie though. And kid friendly. They opened a second joint down the road in Falls Church, also inside the Beltway.

Posted by: Something Polish on May 4, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Too far to drive, only 'Out of the Beltway' in name.

Posted by: ScottW on May 4, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

I honestly can't think of a pizza parlor outside the Beltway that would have hosted these cockroaches---because knowingly allowing cockroaches to infest a pizza parlor is usually a good way to have the health inspectors close the pizza parlor down.

Posted by: S. Waybright on May 4, 2009 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Will you quit it with the logic? That's not what the GOP is all about.

Posted by: Personal Failure on May 4, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

The same thing bugs me about that "Outside the Beltway" blog but James Joyner (that's his name, right? I don't read it regularly.) He's in Alexandria. He might be outside the beltway, strictly speaking, but he's probably within walking distance of it.

Posted by: Cyrus on May 4, 2009 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans think that any place outside of Eric Cantor's bathroom is "outside the beltway".

Posted by: Curmudgeon on May 4, 2009 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

If they're looking for popular ideas, why not just read barackobama.com? There's tons of popular ideas on that site.

Of course, they're not looking for popular ideas. They're looking to appear to be looking for ideas. It's all a big fucking waste of their time. The republican party hinges on whether Obama succeeds. Period. If Obama succeeds, it's Party Over.

Posted by: glutz78 on May 4, 2009 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone else keep having visions of Eric Cantor constantly stepping on rakes and hitting himself in the face? Now that Michael Steel hasn't been doing it for about a week, I mean.

Posted by: DH Walker on May 4, 2009 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Point of Information: The "ideas" are supposed to be from outside the Beltway. The meetings can be held inside the Beltway, or in outer space.

Posted by: CT on May 4, 2009 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

glutz78 I say old boy I do believe you have hit the nail on the head." It's all a big fucking waste of their time. The republican party hinges on whether Obama succeeds. Period. If Obama succeeds, it's Party Over. "
And you know they will do everything and I mean everything to try and ensure that he does not succeed. New ideas? New Ideas to derail Obamas successes. Obama is outsmarting them on every turn and they know it.

Posted by: John R on May 4, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

How many tour guides does a Republican have to torture to find out where the beltway boundries are?

Posted by: Danp on May 4, 2009 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Well, yes, you are being picky, however . . .

I suspect the venue -- hardly convenient for Mitt or Jeb, who live far from DC -- was picked with an eye to maximimun media exposure. Which didn't quite work. Lots of press were there -- almost a third of the overall crowd -- and lots of stories got written, to which little attention was paid unless you read Politico, The Hill, and other journals unknown to 95% of voters.

My guess: not much will be heard of NCNA after, oh, let's say July. At the latest.

Posted by: penalcolony on May 4, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, talking to Republicans in the most Democratic county in Virginia is a good way to actually hear ideas that might get them out of the shrinking-base death spiral. And since Republicans have never been overly concerned with being truthful, "outside the Beltway" as knowingly false PR cover is pretty typical.

Posted by: Redshift on May 4, 2009 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, there are plenty of "outside the Beltway" events where the GOP receives its ideas and support from: gun shows, Klan rallies...

Posted by: dr sardonicus on May 4, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

What, they didn't go to Peking Gourmet, H.W.'s favorite spot? Well, Bailey's can be a little confusing...

Posted by: ajw_93 on May 4, 2009 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

It looked like the same place where the tea baggers were meeting and airing their greviences when the woman started yelling "burn the books, burn the books". Was it?

Posted by: sceptic on May 4, 2009 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Pie-tanza... I don't get the name. Bonanza? Tarzan? Please explain.

Posted by: Hoyt Pollard on May 4, 2009 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, that's creepy! That's *my* strip mall; the one I used to walk the dog to when I was a kid.

Posted by: tavella on May 4, 2009 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

1 "Obama is outsmarting them on every turn" and
2 "they know it". Posted by: John R

with respect, I think you are right about 1; wrong about 2. That is why watching them is so much fun (and occasionally scary). It was just the same during the campaign.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on May 4, 2009 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

penalcolony wrote: I suspect the venue -- hardly convenient for Mitt or Jeb, who live far from DC -- was picked with an eye to maximimun media exposure. Which didn't quite work.

Maybe, maybe not. King John had a segment on the event during his "State of the Union" show Sunday morning. I turned off the teevee to go sort my sock drawer, so I don't know how good or bad the segment was.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on May 4, 2009 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

They should have gone to the Lost Dog Cafe on Washington Blvd. The Spinach Feta Pie is quite possibly the best food product in existence

Posted by: PeakVT on May 4, 2009 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, that's my neighborhood!

Curious pick, liberal North Arlington. He & his sort usually refer to us The People's Republic of Arlington, so it would appear that he's shopping for ideas he could reject out of hand. And it's hard to imagine that most ideas there wouldn't be handed to him in the form of a brick hurled from ten feet away.

Posted by: Jon on May 4, 2009 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Point of Information: The "ideas" are supposed to be from outside the Beltway. The meetings can be held inside the Beltway, or in outer space.


Posted by: CT on May 4, 2009 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK
_____________________________

Further point of clarification, regardless of where the ideas are supposed to be coming, they're coming from inside the Beltway, and then being taken "on the road" to try them out in front of (Hopefully) responsive audience. How responsive they'll be depends on how much they prefer the same-old same-old from the GOP in the first place. It's the Edsel with racing stripes. It's Circuit City's divx/dvd player with 10 free divx discs. It's the Magnavox Odyssey going toe-to-toe with the Atari 2600. It's Buy One Yugo Get One Free. There's only so many ways you can re-introduce a rejected message before people start openly mocking you, and the GOP passed that point years ago.

Posted by: slappy magoo on May 4, 2009 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Rebranding at an inside-the-beltway establishment in heavily Democratic Arlington, Virginia. Brilliant--not!!

Posted by: tec619 on May 4, 2009 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

They should be talking to people that did not vote for them that used to vote for them.

Posted by: Silver Owl on May 4, 2009 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Well there's always Twitter. Goopers love it so much because it limits all ideas to 140 characters of less....ideal for simplifying things so their followers can understand it.

Posted by: dweb on May 4, 2009 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Pie-tanza... I don't get the name. Bonanza? Tarzan? Please explain.

The word pietanza is Italian for dish or course as in the first course for dinner.

Posted by: Danp on May 4, 2009 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

"How many tour guides does a Republican have to torture to find out where the beltway boundries are?"

...just one - 183 times.

Posted by: Always Hopeful on May 4, 2009 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Steve, I saw you on Rachel Maddow tonight. Great interview!

Posted by: Kathy Kattenburg on May 4, 2009 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Pie-tanza is a fake Italian restaurant (they put fontina on most of their pizzas an their 'italian cheese steak' is made from prime rib, cheddar cheese, and herbed mayonaise.)

Fake men of the people meeting at a fake Italian restaurant.

Posted by: M on May 4, 2009 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

Aside from their geographic confusion, you would be hard pressed to find a more "inside the beltway" place outside of RHOB. A huge percentage of the resident, particularly in that neighborhood, are involved in politics and policy development. It would be fairly easy to convene a meeting of the Saturday morning bagel and coffee crowd in the same strip mall and come up with decent health care reform or cap and trade. The perfect symbol of their strange brew of cluelessness and hypocrisy.

Posted by: dmh on May 5, 2009 at 6:13 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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