House Republicans are gathered in Williamsburg for a retreat. The Post quotes an attendee who describes this as “a time for self-reflection.” Here are my suggestions for ten seminars or group discussions and the message on the first PowerPoint slide:


Newly sworn in House and Senate members. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

1. “The use and misuse of children as props in politics.” Don’t run ads about the president’s daughters.

2.  “Silence is golden.” Do not pontificate about the Lord’s role in rape or in prompting your run.

3.  “Why bad things happen to good people.” Stop bemoaning why and whining about how bad things are with an Obama administration; it’s a given, so control what you can and look at trials as challenges and not tribulations.

4. “Get real.” You may not like the president but most voters do/did; therefore don’t think you are going to win a high-profile stand-off on the pristine merit of your views.

5. “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Get rid of the gloom and doom, the grumpy demeanor, the accusations of “tyranny” (you want “tyranny” then check out North Korea) over every presidential overreach, and learn to phrase in the positive not the negative (yes to legal immigration, yes to growth, yes to delivering a better life to our kids).

6.  “You can judge a book by its cover.” It may be unfair but since most Americans do that when they see a politician on TV, get go-to spokespeople for the top issues who are attractive (sorry, people are shallow), smile, engaging and can handle  MSM interviewers.

7.  “Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it.” What was the tone and what were the views of the people who lost seats they could have won (e.g. Allen West, Richard Mourdock, Sharron Angle)? Don’t mimic defeat.

8.  “Practice what you preach.” Republicans on the economy believe in growing the pie not redistributing the set amount; in elections, grow the party and stop relying on “intensity” to get the smaller and smaller core of true believers to the polls.

9.  “You are not a media critic.” Resist the urge to comment on every dumb thing someone else on your side says.

10.  “Nothing lasts forever.” Plan for 2014: define your own message, connect with new voters, learn another language (preferably one spoken by a  lot of your constituents), travel to develop your national security awareness, and talk every day to reasonable people who disagree with you.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.