Rep. Ryan to RNC: Can’t ‘define ourselves on what we are against’

SHARE Rep. Ryan to RNC: Can’t ‘define ourselves on what we are against’

The Republican National Committee wrapped up its summer meeting in President Barack Obama’s Chicago on Friday and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., told the party leaders to win, the GOP “has to take our message to everybody.”

“We have to go to the corners of the country that are not used to seeing us,” said Ryan, a potential 2016 presidential contender who was Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate.

Republicans “cannot define ourselves on what we are against,” said Ryan. “We have to define ourselves on what we aspire to be.”Unsaid by Ryan—but understood—is that since Obama won the White House in 2008, the GOP has been running non-stop against the president in the 2010 and 2012 contests.

It’s potentially a worn strategy for a third cycle.

Republicans such as Ryan have been trying to push the disparate members of the GOP party to agree on a basic premise: It’s not enough to be the opposition party. Republicans need to be the alternative party to win in 2014 and 2016.

The RNC summer meeting in Chicago at the Westin Hotel, 909 N. Michigan Ave.—with other events at several of the city’s showcase venues–is the last party get-together before the November mid-terms.

On Wednesday night, members viewed the Cubs locker room during a backstage tour of Wrigley Field. At a Thursday dinner at the Field Museum, former Vice President Dick Cheney spoke at a closed press event, as did Illinois Republicans Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Rep. Peter Roskam who delivered remarks at a pre-dinner reception. I’m told Cheney wrapped up before Obama made his late evening announcement authorizing air strikes in Iraq.

On Friday, the RNC signed the contract for Cleveland to host its 2016 presidential convention at the Quicken Loans Arena, with other events to take place at the adjacent Progressive Field.

Ohio is a swing state but Cleveland is a Democratic city in a Democratic county with a Democratic mayor, Frank Jackson, who came to the RNC meeting in Chicago for the contract signing. The convention has the potential of re-introducing Cleveland to the nation and jazzing up its lackluster image.

RNC chair  Reince Priebus in a Friday speech took several shots at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying it is time to “fire” the Nevada Democrat.

While it is more likely the House will remain in GOP control after the mid-terms, Republicans have pick-up possibilities to gain a majority in the Senate.

While emphasizing the push for the Senate, Priebus did not mention the Illinois GOP nominee, state Sen. Jim Oberweis, facing an uphill battle against Sen. Dick Durbin , D-Ill.

As for the Illinois governor contest, the marquee race in the state, Priebus said, “I’m looking forward to a big Republican victory here, when voters send Governor Quinn packing and elect Bruce Rauner the next governor and his running mate, and our new RNC Rising Star, Evelyn Sanguinetti, the next lieutenant governor.”

There are differences within the Republican family and on Friday splits developed over an upcoming vote in Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. The hard right wants to fold the loan guarantee agency– used by U.S. companies, such as the Chicago based Boeing– to sell goods in some overseas nations. It is an agency whose customers are run by the GOP business elite.  A resolution opposing reauthorization failed on a 63-67 vote.

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