Seeming to lack any vision for the country, Republicans in Congress are launching a “new” push to solicit ideas for the Party’s agenda. The campaign started earlier this month with the gimmicky “YouCut” website, asking visitors to vote on which federal program they think should be cut from the budget.
Now, House Republicans are launching America Speaking Out, a project to solicit ideas from Americans to craft a new Party agenda. Project chairman Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) lays out the details in a new promotional video:
McCARTHY: Today, Americans are seeing an arrogant Congress that refuses to listen to the people. … [W]e’re introducing America Speaking Out and asking you to join us in building a new policy agenda for our country. On this site, we hope you’ll share your ideas. Let us know what your priorities are for a new governing agenda.
Over the past couple of years, Republicans have repeatedly rolled out new plans, projects, ideas, and websites to claim that they’re going to “listen” to the American people:
– National Council for a New America: GOP leaders launched this initiative last year to revive the Party’s image and “listen” to the American people. But the group is now defunct, after holding only one town hall meeting at a pizza parlor in Alexandria, VA and coming up with no policy positions.
— GOP Platform 2008: During the 2008 campaign, the GOP launched a website to solicit ideas for the Party’s platform.
— Rebuild The Party: Republican activists led by RedState.com founder Erick Erickson started “Rebuild the Party,” a web movement meant 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 group has only 8,846 members.
The Republican National Committee was widely mocked when it launched its new website that touted “a whole new experience” that would reflect “what is going on in the streets.” It featured a blog authored by Chairman Michael Steele called “What Up?” (which was later changed to “Change the Game.”) The site even featured “Faces of the GOP” seemingly meant to show regular GOPers from around the country, but it actually includes a collection of RNC interns.
Matt Yglesias guest blogger (and former ThinkProgress writer) Ryan Powers notes the flaw in the GOP’s new attempt to listen to the American people. American Speaking Out “is all kind of a farce and House Republicans won’t incorporate anything they don’t already agree with.” Indeed, as McCarthy’s spokesperson said, “It’s not ‘American Idol’, where whatever gets the most votes automatically wins.”
Ben Smith notes that the top vote-getter so far is to “DEFUND, REPEAL, & REPLACE GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE.” Another policy proposal offered on the site: “Repeal Section II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.”