None of the candidates who seek this weekend to replace Michael Steele as chairman of the Republican National Committee are household names. Reince Priebus is the chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, Saul Anuzis is the forrmer chair of the Michigan GOP, Ann Wagner is a former ambassador of Luxembourg, and Maria Cino is a former senior official in the George W. Bush administration.
Whichever one emerges as chair will almost certainly define their first tasks as the repair devastated morale at the RNC and the rehabilitation of the donor rolls and the party's operations.
The most important job of the new chair will not be those mundane but crucial tasks, however, but rather to stay away from the spotlight and leave the news cycle over the next nine months to Speaker Boehner and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell. This is especially important over the next two months. The new GOP chair will have the right to remain silent on the budget debate that is about to begin. We have to hope he or she will use it.
This is also the task before every would-be GOP presidential candidate and nearly every GOP senator and representative as well. The crucial agenda for the next nine months is the Congressional agenda, and since the House goes first on matters of budget and since the Republicans have a huge majority there, the necessary discipline that is required from all conservatives in and outside of the Congress is to support the Speaker's effort to frame the unfolding debate over the size and direction of government.
The House GOP gathers in Baltimore this weekend, and it it will return from there to D.C. next week to vote the repeal of Obamacare and to begin the oversight of the Obama Adminsitration that has been completely lacking for two years. At the top of the latter agenda is the overdue effort to cabin the Environmental Protection Agency before its diktats on cap-and-tax begin to power down the struggling recovery. As the House GOP awaits the president's budget its most pressing tasks will be these oversight hearings and those hearings will help set the stage for the budget and the big argument over job growth. Each of these hearings will be heavily covered, and responsibility in the execution of the oversight will be a key ingrediant to the success of the effort. Wild charges or fabricated evidence will boomerang, and there is no need for any histrionics as the record of Team Obama is so dismal to begin with. As oversight begins, the task of every Committee and subcommittee chair will be to let the Obama Adminsitration officials talk. And talk. And talk. Pose the right questions --"Exactly where was the stimulus spent?"-- and the debate will unfold exactly as it needs to.
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