Those Republicans know how to throw a party

How nice for them.

“We’re so far ahead of where we thought we’d be at this time,” says Congressman Paul Ryan, the up-and-comer from Wisconsin. “We’re beginning to find our voice.”

“What transpired … and will give us a shot in the arm going forward,” says Congressman Eric Cantor from Virginia, the new No. 2 in his party’s House leadership team, “is that we are standing up on principle and just saying no.”

And it isn’t simply House members patting themselves on the back — not at all. Other party biggies are even larger in their compliments.

“The goose egg you laid on the president’s desk was just beautiful,” raves Michael Steele, the newly installed party chairman. “Goose egg” being cool talk for “zero,” as in “zero votes for the president’s stimulus plan.”

Welcome to Republican Self-Esteem Camp.

They may be down, but they’re n—

What do you mean, they’re down? They’re not down! They’re up! They’re scrappin’! They’re battlin’! They’re doin’ exactly what they need to do to feel good about themselves again!

That’s nice. And the part about the economy in meltdown?

They’ll deal with that some other time — or better yet, somebody else will. First things first: They’re getting their groove back.

And so you might be wondering: Is it hard to “find your voice” by “just saying no”?

Not really — ask any 2-year-old. Now, as to whether “just saying no” gets you anywhere…

And you might also be wondering: Did the voters really reject the Republicans in November because the Republicans weren’t being Republican enough? Was that the problem? That people thought there weren’t enough tax cuts for the wealthy? That people wanted the federal government to do even less to help us get us out of our mess?

Bad enough that some House Democrats took the November results as permission to gratify every pent-up urge, no matter how unstimulating. But at least they had half an excuse for their overreaching: They actually won. The Republicans got whomped.

Just because the new president was too modest (or too dense, or too trusting that the numbers would speak for themselves) to shout “Mandate!” from every rooftop — that doesn’t mean the voters didn’t make their preferences clear, including in some places that hadn’t preferenced in that particular direction in a generation.

But at Republican Self-Esteem Camp, they can ignore all that.

And you might also be wondering: Is it curious that the Republicans suddenly remembered that they’re against government spending at the very same moment that a guy with a “D” after his name moved into the White House? Nothing more than coincidence, right?

Except that there’s Congressman Pete Sessions from Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, suggesting just the other day that — well, let him tell you himself:

“Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban. And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes. And these Taliban — I’m not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban — no, that’s not what we’re saying. I’m saying an example of how you go about is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands which we entered the game with.”

Picking up tactical tips from the Taliban? About playing the “game”?

There may be pain and chaos all around them, but you’d never know it — at Republican Self-Esteem Camp, things are definitely looking up. All they need is some party hats.

They’ve already got the noisemakers.

Rick Horowitz is a nationally syndicated columnist. His e-mail address is

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