Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) says he and his group are not on a listening tour. His National Council for a New America is said to be "re-launching the GOP"--it held an event last weekend at a pizza place in Arlington, VA where Cantor, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush exchanged ideas with a conservative crowd--and now Rush Limbaugh has mocked the idea of such a "listening tour" on his radio show, saying what the GOP and the conservative movement need instead is a "teaching tour."
When confronted with Rush's criticism on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Cantor said, "You know Joe, really, this is not a listening tour." Cantor continued:
Think about what we saw a couple weeks ago on the tea parties. The American people are very frustrated that they really see a government in Washington that doesn't hear them, that doesn't respond to their needs, and frankly are upset at a government that doesn't work. What the National Council for a New America is is an opportunity for us to go out across this country to talk about our conservative principles and to appeal to as many elements in our society as we can, and to really talk to them at a higher level and say, look, there are some transcendental goals that we're all about in this country and they can best be achieved through conservative principles of freedom and opportunity.
It's unclear whether Cantor's group exists more to talk or listen, but it's likely that a bit of both is true. If the GOP is caught between a movement toward purity and a movement toward expansion, Cantor's group is at the leading edge of that frontier--and hasn't come down decisively on either side.