According to a report from Politico, Republicans meeting in Florida this weekend to develop plans to retake the House in the 2022 midterms are hoping the focus will once again return to policy differences they have with Democrats and not center on high-profile GOP lawmakers trying to claim Donald Trump's crown as publicity-hungry disrupters.
Traditionally the party out of power sees big gains in the House during the midterms and -- with Democrats holding a slim 218-212 lead with five vacancies to still be filled due to deaths and resignations -- it won't take many seats to exchange hands in order to flip the chamber.
With that in mind, GOP members are workshopping plans for the next year and a half while hoping Donald Trump stays out of the way and controversial members can be reined in.
According to House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), "What we have to do as Republicans is get back to being the party of ideas and the substance and the policy of conservatism, and that's going to be a big part of the retreat."
Her comments were echoed by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) who added, "The fact is, our party is much more unified when we focus on policy rather than personalities. And the substance of governing is driven by policy in the midst of politics. So you still have to have ideas and policy of consequence to the American people."
However, Politico's Melania Zanona writes, GOP lawmakers are aware of the elephants in the room that can't be ignored in the form of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) along with fellow freshman GOP Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO).
Of particular concern to the House leadership is that belief that the Democrats are going to turn the highly controversial Greene into the face of their party.
"Republicans also know the next 18 months are littered with political tripwires, from internal divisions over the former president trying to influence them from Mar-a-Lago to the fringe elements in their ranks that threaten to swamp their agenda. Democrats are trying to fan those flames across the aisle by yoking the entire GOP to QAnon and, at every turn, elevating some of the conference's most divisive personalities, such as freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)," Zanona wrote. "So for the next three days in the Sunshine State, GOP leaders are determined to keep the spotlight on their policy plans and away from the party's most extreme names, in effect previewing the strategy that they think can clinch them the majority next fall."
Republicans have good reason to fear Taylor Greene after she set off a firestorm after being linked to a proposed caucus that plan to promote "Anglo-Saxon" values that was condemned of both sides of the aisle for racism and led Greene to disavow it and claim ignorance about its mission statement.
"One day before the retreat, Greene headlined a Florida rally where she revived Trump's false claims of voter fraud, which have been a sore spot for the GOP. Fresh off the controversy surrounding her now-defunct pitch for an 'America First Caucus' built on nativist rhetoric, Greene had little interest in heeding her leadership's policy-first entreaties," the Politico report states, with Zanona adding, "The rally's Greene-led lineup quite literally put the GOP's internal divisions on display. Participants included some GOP candidates who are mounting primary challenges to anti-Trump Republicans, including Cheney."
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