Smarting from defeat by Barack Obama’s made-in-Silicon-Valley messaging network, congressional Republicans in Washington are getting tutorials to bring them into a Twitterized world. I have a simpler idea: First join the 20th-century communication revolution by creating an office of chief party spokesman. One for the House and one for the Senate.

Presidents figured out the utility of a prominent, unelected spokesman about 80 years ago, when Stephen Early did it for Franklin Roosevelt. The current incarnation, Jay Carney, may be the most phlegmatic White House spokesman ever. But on any given day on any issue, he commandeers airtime across the cable TV and media universe. With a personality flatter than a cold pancake, he simply states the president’s position. Reporters for media outlets around the world restate that position for their audiences. You don’t have to believe it or like it. But from Jay Carney’s lips to your screen, inbox and RSS feed, you get it. …

Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have been trying to serve both functions—leader and spokesman. It can’t work. I can think of virtually no other walk of life other than Congress in which the leaders of organizations assume the job of stating their institution’s position on everything. Cabinet secretaries, CEOs, generals, university presidents, cardinals—nobody does that anymore. A leader speaks when the stakes or moment require it. …

The best members are becoming frustrated at the messaging vacuum, and some are moving to fill the void. Marco Rubio comes to mind, and more power to him given the nonexistent alternative. But others will follow, creating a GOP tower of Babel. The TV networks know they can dial up a Lindsey Graham to blow a hole Sunday morning in any leadership effort at a unified message. It will get worse, and the near-term consequence of getting worse is being out of power.