Here's a little political quiz to spice up your day: find a single word that will make the Republicans America's majority party.
Can't think of one? No problem. We'll give you the answer a group of Republicans produced, but first, a few words about the question.
How to make the Grand Old Party the majority party in the United States was the central question at issue here this weekend as 55 relatively junior Republican members of Congress and their spouses gathered to talk about the future of their party and their country.
The gathering, dreamed up by Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Rep. Connie Mack III (R-Fla.), was designed to encourage Republicans to break out of ways of thinking that have helped make them the underdogs in national politics for half a century.
The meeting was directed by Daryl Conner, a friend of Gingrich from Atlanta who described himself as a "consultant specializing in change-related problems." When the Republicans arrived here Friday, Conner split them into groups and told each group to come up with a single word that would explain how the GOP could become a majority.
The House members came up with choices like "opportunity," "visions," "openness" and "PREVALL," an acronym pronounced like "prevail" that stands for "People-Reachout-Exciting-Vote-Adapt-Listen-Leadership."
The most popular choice, however, was a neologism that captured the group's imagination.
And the winner was: "ZZAZIP."
ZZAZIP, which is really "pizazz" spelled backward, was a popular choice because it captured the sense of many of the Republicans that their party has to present a lively, up-to-date combination of traditional Republican principles and concepts that appeal to contemporary voters of all stripes.
One instance of zzazipitude at work came up when one group was arguing over the best way to provide jobs for the chronically unemployed. Rep. Bill Lowery (R-Calif.) argued that "government is not always bad; it can be a useful tool." He praised a state-run operation in California that gave youths from poor backgrounds jobs rebuilding state parks.
Rep. Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio) said that "sort of as the knee-jerk Republican reaction" he had opposed beginning a similar program in his state. But now, Oxley said, "When I look at it I can see that that kind of program really works."
In another application of the zzazip philosophy, Gingrich argued that his party should work to "replace the LWS with a vibrant COS." By this he meant that the liberal welfare state, which he said had won the Democrats majority support but at great cost to the Treasury, should be replaced by a conservative opportunity society, which he said would win the same support for Republicans by giving people a chance to get ahead on their own.
Despite the strong emphasis on new ideas, a few traditional conservative notions were in evidence. One group, discussing individual opportunity, managed to work in a plug for returning to the gold standard.
There was a strong sense that Republicans will have to be more open to diverse ideas if they are ever to dominate national politics.
"We keep leaving folks outside the tent," said Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.). "We've got to show them that the Republicans' doors are open, and we want them to come in."