As for Huckabee's former campaign manager . . . Chip Saltsman is making the battle for RNC chairman into an air war. "Saltsman will travel the country next week to meet with high-ranking Republicans as he considers a bid to be the next chairman of the Republican National Committee," per CNN's Mark Preston. "But don't look for him running through any major airports. Instead, Saltsman will pilot his own plane -- a Piper Arrow -- which will allow him to touch down in small airports and avoid the inconveniences of commercial flying."
Who wants the job? "GOP aspirants face the possibility of a nightmare scenario: taking the helm of a party so weighed down by doctrinaire hard-liners and hectoring moralists that no one, especially an RNC chair, will be able to change course and avoid a tsunami of culturally disinhibited, secularizing 'creatives,' Hispanics, African Americans, and a young netroot-savvy demographic cohort larger than the Baby Boom," Tom Edsall writes for Huffington Post.
Whither the GOP? It helps to agree on a diagnosis, before the treatment regimen can begin: "[Republicans] differ, though, on whether the heavy losses Republicans suffered in the past two election cycles were a result of unique circumstances and the ever-swinging political pendulum or structural problems that could keep them shut out of power for years to come," Politico's Jonathan Martin writes. "GOP officials and strategists at party conferences last week offered sharply contrasting assessments of what went wrong, and of how difficult it will be to rebuild. Perhaps not surprisingly, the split tended to fall along generational lines."
Harsh words, from a rising star: "Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, poised to ascend to House Republicans' No. 2 leader this week, said the Republican Party in Washington is no longer 'relevant' to voters and must stop simply espousing principles," per the Washington Times' Stephen Dinan.
Says Cantor: "Where we have really fallen down is, we have lacked the ability to be relevant to people's lives. Let's set aside the last eight years, and our falling down in living up to expectations of what we said we were going to do. . . . It's the relevancy question."
Arnold doesn't want to hear about "values": "This dialogue about 'we have to go back to our core values.' What is that?" Schwarzenegger said during an interview on "This Week." "How far does 'core' go back in history in America?" Thirty years? Fifty years? Because we know that Teddy Roosevelt talks about universal healthcare. . . . I think it's all nonsense talk."
Bill Kristol is worried: "If Republicans and conservatives don't come to grips with what's happened, and can't develop an economic agenda moving forward that seems to incorporate lessons learned from what's happened -- then they could be back, politically, in 1933," Kristol writes in his New York Times column. "If conservatives do some difficult re-thinking in the field of political economy, they can come back. If they don't -- well, there were a lot of admirable conservative thinkers and writers, professors and novelists, from 1933 to 1980. But conservatives didn't govern."