Enough with the ‘insurgent’ talk

ENOUGH WITH THE ‘INSURGENT’ TALK…. Every member of the House Republican leadership signed on to work with Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the National Council for a New America “rebranding” initiative. That is, except for House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), who likes the current brand just fine, thank you.

Instead of potentially diluting their message by outsourcing its development to outside players, McCotter said, House Members should focus on engaging the Democratic majority as an “entrepreneurial insurgency” and continue to build their strength from within the Conference.

“We should be focusing on doing the little things right and building on them,” McCotter told Roll Call. “We have to do it every single day in the House.”

GOP lawmakers really ought to reconsider all of this “insurgency” talk. I realize it’s a word with a generic meaning, but given the two wars the U.S. is currently engaged in, “insurgencies” generally apply to “terrorist uprisings.” It’s why National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) raised so many eyebrows in February when he argued his party should emulate the insurgency tactics of the Taliban.

Indeed, try to imagine the response we would see if leading Democratic lawmakers, during Bush’s presidency, casually referred to the party’s efforts as an “insurgency,” at the same time as the U.S. military was implementing counter-insurgency tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan. We would — thanks to Drudge, Fox News, et al — never hear the end of it.

I’m not in the habit of offering strategic advice to the House Republican caucus, but it seems there has to be a better, non-terrorist-related word for their efforts.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.