"The bigger problem is he seemed to want to derail any discussion of the whole issue," Burbank said. "You come across as just obstructionist and unwilling to compromise and engage in politics."
University of Iowa political science professor Tim Hagle, who is active in the Republican Party, said Lee's speech identifies a key problem facing the GOP, "being tagged as the party of 'No.'"
Hagle said Lee's attempt at slowing down the push for the gun control legislation, coming largely from President Barack Obama, "was not a bad thing, but the messaging hurt Republicans."
Now, though, Hagle said Lee's pitch for more positivity may resonate with the national party. The GOP has been in search of a new way to reach voters since Mitt Romney lost his bid for the White House in November.
Speaking to an organization like the Heritage Foundation, which attracts opinion leaders, is a good start at influencing not only the party's direction, but who the next Republican presidential nominee will be, Hagle said.
And Lee could be positioning himself for a role in a GOP administration, Hagle said. "He's making a name for himself," the Iowa professor said. "Maybe this is a way to move the party forward."
Lee said impacting the 2016 race for the White House is the "whole purpose of having a vision and a way of messaging that vision." He said he doesn't have a favorite candidate yet in that race.
"Our party, given what we experienced in 2012, stands to benefit from anything that will allow us to help people understand why the conservative message works," Lee said.
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