With a barrage of scandals, retirements, and recruitment woes, it's no shock that the National Republican Congressional Committee is not a fun place to work this cycle, but could it really be this bad? The Politico's John Bresnahan and Patrick O'Connor report that things are getting nasty both within the NRCC and between the committee and House Republicans. Apparently, House Minority Leader John "Small Price" Boehner is upset with NRCC Chair Tom Cole's stewardship of the organization, and is heavily pressuring Cole to make some significant personnel changes. Cole has said privately that he would rather resign than bow to such demands. From the article:
Neither Boehner nor Cole's offices would comment on the meeting or struggle, but Boehner spokesman Brian Kennedy did say the two leaders have "very frank and candid conversations" about regaining a Republican majority.
The Boehner-Cole fight came to a head during a Sept. 10 meeting, which included "a lot of yelling back-and-forth" between the two over the campaign committee's operations and effectiveness. House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) also attended but "they didn't say much," said a GOP strategist familiar with the session.
Following the meeting, an angry Cole called together the NRCC staff and told them that if they were not happy working at the committee, they might want to consider leaving immediately, said several GOP insiders. That Cole outburst occurred last Monday, said the sources.
But wait, there's more!
Inside-the-Beltway Republicans have grown frustrated with the NRCC for its unrealistically rosy assessments of an ever-eroding landscape for congressional Republicans.
Lawmakers are frustrated with Cole and his top aides for casting their net too wide by targeting Democratic-controlled seats that Republicans have little chance of picking up next year.
Some also gripe that Cole fails to manage expectations on the Hill when he refuses to acknowledge that the GOP's chances for regaining the majority fade with every retirement or negative news story about President Bush or other scandal-plagued Republican lawmaker.
The most interesting revelation here is that some House Republicans believe that the Cole and the NRCC are "casting their net too wide". I'd be curious to know which recruitment efforts House Republicans consider to be lost causes. State Sen. Nick Jordan, who is running against Kansas Democrat Dennis Moore, perhaps? Or state Sen. David Cappiello, who is challenging Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) after his stunning victory over incumbent Nancy Johnson last year? One can only guess.