The New York Times is praising Speaker Boehner and Majority Whip Cantor for putting all that harsh conservative talk on the backburner:
Unpopular and divided, the once mighty House Republicans are laboring to repair their image and frame a new agenda.
Absent for now is a big, contentious docket similar to last year’s, which included the goal of writing new health care legislation to replace the Obama administration’s law. A long-promised overhaul of the tax code seems out of reach. When Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., issued a memo last week laying out the body’s initial legislative agenda, a centerpiece was a modest tax cut for small businesses.
With their poll numbers sinking and President Barack Obama attacking them – and in a speech last week poking fun at the infighting among their leaders – House Republicans long to establish a reputation as the party of job creation and to blunt the notion that they are recalcitrant and combative.
Senior Republicans are eager to minimize the drama, letting the party’s presidential candidate, when he is finally chosen, take the lead.
“Most of us expect the major decisions aren’t going to be made this year,” said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a former chairman of the House Republican campaign committee. “It’s a very political year. The big thing for us is to not be part of the conversation instead of trying to inject ourselves into it.”