In April 2009, Republican leaders, led by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), launched an initiative called the National Council for a New America as a “new effort to revive the image of the Republican Party.” Though Cantor and other Republican leaders promised that the organization would “listen” to the American people, they held only one townhall meeting in a pizza parlor in Arlington, VA before largely going silent. Today, Roll Call reports that the group has officially been put on ice:
Cantor aides explained that the group has been “suspended” one year after its splashy launch in part because of the intense negative attention it received from the Democratic campaign committees and other groups after its introduction.
The NCNA was intended to be a traveling forum of Republican leaders who could engage the public in a broad-ranging discussion of hot-button issues.
Cantor spokesman John Murray said despite 5,000 positive news hits, the “relentless attacks from the left” became overwhelming to the whip office soon after its launch.
“I think now, we are in a suspended state,” Murray said.
Former Cantor deputy chief of staff Rob Collins, who is now president of the American Action Network, claimed to Roll Call that Cantor’s group was ultimately thwarted because it “dominated the national media so effectively that liberals in and out of Congress — including [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] — attacked it.” In July 2009, CREW filed an ethics complaint against NCNA for allegedly using official House resources for political purposes. “What we wanted was for them to stop because we thought it violated the rules,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan told Roll Call. “I’m glad they agreed.”
The National Council for a New America’s website has not been “suspended” yet and their “national panel of experts,” which features Sarah Palin,” is still prominent.