THE BOEHNER BAILOUT…. The House Republicans’ “America Speaking Out” project was, as promised unveiled this morning at a glitzy event in D.C. Because Republicans are asking American taxpayers to finance the initiative, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) maintained the facade — the project intended to help the GOP create its campaign agenda has nothing to do with the campaign.

House Minority Leader Boehner told reporters that the site was paid for out of members’ personal budgets, and that it was not intended as a campaign program. The GOP has faced criticism from Democrats who say the House GOP is using public funds for campaign activity.

Boehner assured skeptical reporters that the GOP will likely roll out an agenda for the next Congress a la the 1994 Contract With America, but is not it.

“Apart from this, Republicans are in discussions to present our plans for the future,” he said. Boehner said that the new project and those discussions are “very separate.”

Yes, of course. Why would anyone think otherwise? All we have here is a Republican election-year initiative, billed as a way to shape the Republican agenda, and used to produce a platform that will be released in September — too late to be considered this year, and just in time for the midterm elections.

But this has nothing to do with the campaign cycle. Heaven forbid.

Unfortunately for the party, the memo to GOP leaders apparently wasn’t explicit enough. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who’s spearheaded the “America Speaking Out” project, told ABC News, “There are a number of seats that you get just by being ‘no.’ But you don’t get a majority by just being ‘no.’ You’ve got to say what you’re for.”

I see. So, simultaneously, Republican leaders want us to know that the initiative is not about the elections and that the initiative is about helping Republicans win elections. Got it.

If taxpayers weren’t paying for this, it might even be amusing. If Boehner & Co. think a gimmick like this will serve their party well, they really ought to have their party finance it.

Nevertheless, now that the project is underway, and the public is free to get engaged, how’s the process going? The early favorite among the proposed idea is “DEFUND, REPEAL, & REPLACE GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE.” I guess that means “America Speaking Out” intends to get rid of Medicare and the V.A. hospitals?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.