The welcoming remarks of an unidentified member of the senior GOP House leadership to the assembled Republican conference gathering for a "retreat" in Williamsburg have leaked:
Welcome to Williamsburg, Members of the House Republican Conference. We hope you enjoy your retreat.
Perhaps we should begin with that age old tradition: Look to your left. Now look to your right. Either you or one of those two people won’t be here in two years. Perhaps two of the three will be gone. If you are sitting in the wrong row, all three of you could be looking for work with the Potato Chip and Snack Food Association.
Just kidding. Sort of. Actually, we don’t have a clue. Nobody does. The base may be stunned into despair or it may be ready to go Vesuvius, we can’t be sure. Feels like Vesuvius most days.
It really could be that dire, and we tell you this simply because if you have only two years as a congressman, you might as well enjoy them. Play some golf while you are here. Catch the glass blowing exhibit. Your kids will love the guys in the funny hats with the muskets.
Had we been on top of things –big “if,” that one—we’d have gotten you all copies of Jon Meacham’s new bestseller Jefferson: The Art of Power. So much of it is set in Williamsburg, and so much of it describes genuine political leadership that it would really have been a good thing to suggest you read it before arriving here. But which Congressmen read anything these days. We are passing out a transcript of a long interview Meacham gave. Perhaps your staff could summarize it for you, and you can pretend you have read the whole book when you get back home
As I was saying, welcome. We have a pretty full agenda, and you have no idea how difficult it is to fill up this much time and avoid talking about the real issues. Our reputation for folding like old beach chairs and the disarray in the leadership are painful to discuss much less fix, however, so we won’t be doing much of that. We do have some fine talks coming up, but we can usually count on our speakers to do their best to ingratiate themselves to you and avoid uncomfortable subjects like the promises you made in getting here. We do note Dr. Larry Arnn from Hillsdale College is on the agenda, and we aren’t quite sure how that slipped by the program committee of the Speaker’s Office, but that could be interesting and memorable.
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