Outside the Beltway Thinking

One of the clichés of modern politics is that “outside the Beltway” is where the “real” America exists.  While those “inside the Beltway” are nothing but a bunch of politicos, wonks, and lobbyists who represent everything that is wrong with politics, those who live “outside the Beltway” are the manifestations of everything true, right, and decent about this nation.

And, as someone who actually lives “outside the Beltway,” allow me to say that this is undoubtedly and universally true.  Everyone who lives “inside” is a horrible, horrible person while all of us who live “outside” are virtuous and delightful. 

As such, if you want to get in touch with everything good about America, you have to get “outside the Beltway” which, as Steve Benen reports, is exactly what Republicans are doing as they set about re-branding their party:

As part of the Republican Party’s rebranding effort, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hosted a National Council for a New America event at a pizza shop over the weekend. Roll Call reported, “Cantor said the idea of the road show is to gather ideas from outside the Beltway to shape the Republican agenda.”

CQ had a similar item: “After consecutive catastrophic electoral losses … Republican leaders are turning their attention outside the Capital Beltway — and outside their severely diminished party ranks — to gather ideas from the public that they hope will help them rebound.”

Cantor said the meeting represented a baby step in the GOP’s effort to get “outside the Beltway.”  There was only one problem, as Benen pointed out – it was actually held “inside the Beltway”:  

At the risk of sounding picky, it’s probably worth noting that Republicans started gathering ideas “from outside the Beltway” at an event inside the Beltway.

A place called Pie-tanza, in an Arlington strip mall, hosted the event. Pie-tanza is just a few minutes from the Washington Golf and Country Club. Indeed, it’s only about six miles from Capitol Hill.  

Indeed.  See that big circular road?  It’s the Capital Beltway.  And see that “A” inside that big circular road? That’s Pie-tanza.

It might be easier for Cantor and the Republicans to gather ideas from “outside the Beltway” if their next meeting is actually held, you know, outside of the Beltway.