Sounding the Retreat

Watching all the intra-Republican turmoil going on this week over immigration policy, Obamacare alternatives and the debt limit got me to wondering: isn’t this the sort of disarray that party retreats are supposed to avoid? So my weekly TPMCare column talks about last week’s House GOP retreat in Cambridge, Maryland, and how Republicans came out of it divided and incoherent.

I mentioned Eric Cantor’s Face the Nation appearance in the column, because it showed the House Majority bobbing and weaving on the most obvious questions imaginable. Here’s a sample:

MAJOR GARRETT: We’re going to get to the specifics and the politics of immigration reform but I want to give you like 30 seconds to tell me what House Republicans have done, what they intend to do this year, what are the larger optics on this issue?

ERIC CANTOR: Well, we just came off of our annual retreat…this week and we had a very robust discussion about a very difficult situation, which is our broken immigration system. And I think the takeaway was, Major, there’s a lot of distrust of this administration in implanting the law and we just heard the President in his State of the Union address say, you know what, if he can work with Congress, he’s going to do it his own way. And that sort of breeds this kind of distrust and I think we’re going to have to do something about that in order to see a way forward on immigration.

It went straight downhill from there.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.