After getting the wind knocked out of them in 2006 and 2008, Republicans are a party in disarray...
From putting a woman on the presidential ticket who reportedly can't name the members of the North American Free Trade Agreement and thinks Africa is a country rather than a continent, to a presidential candidate who declared: "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" at the same moment the worst financial crisis in almost a century was descending on the U.S. economy, they appear to have lost their touch. And if they're pinning their presidential hopes on Sarah Palin for 2012, well, good luck with that.
Bush damaged the brand but John McCain and Sarah Palin didn't do much to restore it.
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(CNN) –- Rather than pointing fingers and assigning blame for Sen. John McCain’s recent defeat at the hands of Sen. Barack Obama, a group of young conservative activists have issued a manifesto of sorts that challenges the next head of the Republican National Committee to embrace the Internet as a method of political organizing in the same way that the Obama campaign effectively did for the last 20 months.
The coalition of eight conservatives, many of whom are known for their activity in the online space, launched the Web site http://www.rebuildtheparty.com on Thursday. The site lays out a set of principles the group believes the RNC must adopt in order to bring the GOP into the future and succeed in upcoming state and federal races.
“The time is now to set in motion the changes needed to rebuild our party from the grassroots up, modernize the way we run campaigns, and attract different, energetic, and younger candidates at all levels,” the site says. “We must be conservative in philosophy - but bold in our approach. We don't need a slight tweak here or there. We need transformation. We can't keep fighting a 21st century war with 20th century weapons.”
The group calls using and mastering the Internet the “#1 priority in the next four years.” The power of traditional connections is being replaced by the power of mass connectedness,” the site says. “Politics is taking place on a grander stage than ever before, with millions, and not just tens of thousands - participating directly in the process.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Friday that Democratic congressional leaders continue to talk to the Bush administration about a stimulus package, but if there's no deal, there would be no reason for a lame-duck session of Congress.
"Clearly there is no point in us doing something if the administration is going to take the position that they're not going to sign something," Hoyer told reporters Friday morning.
House Democratic leaders have been discussing a $60 billion to $100 billion stimulus package. The bill now being negotiated with the White House and Senate Republicans would include an extension of unemployment benefits, an expansion of the food stamp program, assistance to the states, and money for infrastructure projects.
(CNN) - Barack Obama held his first press conference as president-elect Friday, during which he said the economy would be his No. 1 issue.
"The United States has only one government and one President, and until January 20th of next year, that government is the current Administration. I have spoken to President Bush, and I appreciate his commitment to ensuring that his economic policy team keeps us fully informed as developments unfold," he said. "Immediately after I become President, I will confront this economic crisis head-on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity."
Watch the event on CNN.com/live
Read his full remarks and the question and answer sessions after the jump
Sen. Robert Byrd, 91, is stepping down as chairman of the Appropriations Committee. (Getty Images/File)
(CNN) - West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd is relinquishing his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he announced Friday.
Byrd, 91, has served in the Senate since 1959 and is the longest serving senator in the chamber's history. He has chaired the Appropriations Committee for the last 10 years.
"A new day has dawned in Washington, and that is a good thing. For my part, I believe that it is time for a new day at the top of the Senate Appropriations Committee," Byrd said in a statement. "I will step away from the Chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee effective January 6, 2009."
"I want to stress that this is a decision I made only after much personal soul searching, and after being sure of the substantial Democratic pickup of seats in the Senate," he also said. "I am now confident that stepping aside as Chairman will not adversely impact my home state of West Virginia."
Full statement after the jump
UPDATE: Democratic source says Reid offered Veterans Affairs chairmanship
(CNN) - An aide to Sen. Joe Lieberman tells CNN that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Lieberman he wanted him to give up his position as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and instead take the helm of a lower profile full committee.
A Senate Democratic source familiar with the meeting confirms that account and tells CNN that one of options Reid gave Lieberman in a private meeting Thursday is Chairman of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee.
But the aide to Lieberman says the Connecticut senator made clear that was “not acceptable” to him, and reminded Reid that he was one of the Senators who wrote the legislation creating the Homeland Security Department, and that’s where he wants to stay.
Nothing was resolved in the meeting, and the Lieberman aide tells CNN that although he still wants to caucus with the Democrats, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell has contacted Lieberman about formally aligning with Republicans, and that Lieberman is “keeping all of his options open.”
An aide to McConnell confirms to CNN that the two men “have been talking.”
This Lieberman aide, who insisted the meeting was very cordial, also says that he reminded Reid that he may have been elected an Independent, but that he has voted overwhelmingly with the Democrats.
The Senate Democratic source says this issue will now likely be dealt with by the full Senate Democratic caucus, when it meets on November 18th.
Lieberman was a fixture on the campaign trail with Republican presidential candidate John McCain, and Reid is under pressure from many Democrats to punish him for harsh criticism of Barack Obama in a speech at the Republican convention.
A spokesman for Reid had no immediate comment on the specifics of the meeting, except to say that it was “frank,” and that the two agreed to talk more about Lieberman’s future role in the Senate.
The two met on Thursday.
(CNN) - Barack Obama is considering a mix of Washington insiders and high-profile business executives to head various cabinet positions, one source involved in the cabinet gathering process told CNN.
For Secretary of State, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is high on the list. Also on the list is Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, a former presidential candidate who endorsed Barack Obama early in the Democratic primary season. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke are also interested in the job.
For Secretary of Defense, there are indications current Defense Secretary Robert Gates will stay at the post "for a certain period." Gates, the former CIA Director under the first President Bush, has been praised by members of both parties for his leadership at the Pentagon over the last two years. Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, a former United States Army Captain and a member of the Armed Services Committee, is acting as the go-between with Gates.
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, who also served as that state's attorney general, is said to be a "very real possibility" for U.S. attorney general. Napolitano, who also endorsed Obama early in the primary process, was named earlier this week to the Obama transition team. She's also served as a U.S. attorney from Arizona.
For Secretary of Commerce, former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, Time Warner Chairman Dick Parsons, prominent Chicago Businesswoman Penny Pritzker, and University of California economist Laura Tyson are all under consideration.
One problem: the Obama administration wants a diverse cabinet, and that means everything is still up for grabs.
(CNN) - To the victor belong the spoils, and after eight years out of the White House, Democrats want to be spoiled with high-profile jobs.
"For every senior job, there is probably 10 qualified people, and it's hard to be the person to tell the nine that they are not the number one pick," said former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart.
Senior Democrats say Sen. John Kerry is jockeying to be secretary of state - and has a good case after endorsing President-elect Barack Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries.
But some Democrats worry he can veer off message, just like Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
(CNN) - He meets with his team of economic advisers and then holds his first news conference as President-elect, but for Barack Obama, the day started with a more personal duty, that of father.
The Obama Transition Office announced this morning that the President-elect would start his day, along with his wife Michelle, by attending a parent teacher conference at his daughters' school in Chicago. Sure enough, the soon-to-be first couple were seen exiting his daughters' school with papers in tow.
Daughters Malia and Sasha are students at the University of Chicago's Lab School.
NEW YORK (Fortune) - Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and co-founder of private equity firm Bain Capital, is often mentioned as a GOP contender for 2012. He spoke with Fortune's Jia Lynn Yang.
Any management advice for the next president? How does he rally a depressed nation to meet the challenges we face?
He should forget entirely about reelection and focus solely on helping the nation at a critical time. He should dismiss the people who helped him win the election and bring in people who are above politics and above party. He should surround himself with statesmen and economists, businesspeople and leaders. In some ways it would be beneficial if our presidency consisted of only one term. That way the President would think about his legacy and the future of the country rather than reelection and partisanship.
How likely do you think that's going to happen?
In his second term, President Clinton made an effort to govern more from the center than from the extreme wing of his party, and by doing so, found greater support and greater political success. Perhaps it's a paradox, the less political the agenda, the more political success one enjoys. But now is not the time for partisanship opportunism.
The unions have helped Barack Obama. They will hope to be paid back. I'm particularly concerned that organized labor would call on Barack Obama to pass the card check program. This removes from American workers the right to the secret ballot in deciding whether or not to accept a union. This legislation would do more to harm America's long-term competitiveness than almost anything I can imagine. It would be a partisan payback for organized labor but it would come with devastating consequences for the nation.