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Hiding Behind the Latest Republican Reboot is the Same Protect the Rich Agenda
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is an oft-quoted phrase from William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, and it is Juliet arguing that names of things do not matter, only what things are, and it is apropos to Republicans and their rebranding efforts since the November election. It hardly matters the GOP promises to smile more, stop saying rape, or welcome minorities with open arms, Republicans have not changed one iota regardless their warm and fuzzy new image. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor took his turn yesterday espousing the all-encompassing altruism of the new family-oriented Republican Party during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, and he urged his Republican cohorts to embrace conservative principles while standing up for regular Americans.
Cantor characterized Republicans as the party to help all Americans reclaim what he termed “American values” and then contradicted himself by conflating them with “conservative principles.” Cantor portrayed a philanthropic GOP working to ensure “every American has a fair shot at earning their success and achieving their dreams,” but when he stressed that Republican “solutions will be based on the conservative principles of self-reliance, faith in the individual, trust in the family, and accountability in government,” it was obvious it was the same Republican Party that worked feverishly to destroy the American Dream and block every possibility Americans have at a fair shot at earning success and achieving their dreams.
It did not take a policy analyst to determine Cantor proposed (without specifics) dyed-in the-wool conservative dogma dressed up as a Barack Obama speech, but sounding compassionate and promising to “improve the lives of the most vulnerable” is not going to convince many Americans the GOP has any intention of helping them achieve the American dream, or economic success. A Republican by any rebranding is still a nasty fiscal conservative pushing education cuts, Medicare privatization, cuts to Medicaid, safety net cuts, and the vaunted “tax reforms” Republicans prize to benefit corporations and the wealthy. Cantor’s promise to restrain Washington from interfering in the pursuits of health, happiness and prosperity for more Americans and their families is a favorite Republican campaign promise, and some of the examples he cited were standard fare during the 2012 campaign.
On education, Cantor derided failing public schools disadvantaged children are assigned to, and touted charter, private, and preparatory schools as an option in a nod to shifting public school funding to the private sector, and failed to mention the Ryan budget called for $2.7 billion in cuts for disadvantaged students. He also indicated an unmet demand for jobs in the healthcare industry, but focused on providing skills “necessary to fill the jobs in the booming natural gas industry” by promising Republicans will “fix the way we subsidize education” which they attempted by voting to eliminate Pell Grants for more than one million students.
On healthcare, altruistic Eric claimed “ObamaCare unnecessarily raised the costs of our health care” and that “even those who have pre-existing conditions could get the coverage they need without a trillion dollar government program costing us all more.” He asserted President Obama’s healthcare reform law resulted in higher premiums and costs for families, and made access to quality health care tougher. The new Republican idea to “reverse this trend” of higher healthcare and health insurance costs is “by choosing to repeal the new taxes that are increasing the costs of health care and health insurance.” Republicans have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 34 times thus far, and regardless the “new” emphasis on helping the most vulnerable Americans, it is the same Republican attempt to deny 30 million Americans affordable healthcare insurance.
Cantor’s address was little more than encouragement for other Republicans to portray the party as looking out for regular Americans to repair the Republican brand while still embracing conservative principles tilted in favor of the rich and detrimental to the masses. If a person had no knowledge of Republican policies, or their record of inflicting damage on low and middle income Americans, they would marvel at the philanthropic nature of the GOP and their altruistic vision for every American. However, after four straight years of obstruction and cuts to education, safety nets, Medicare, and attacks on the middle class, it will take more than words to convince the American people that the new compassionate Republican agenda is any different than the old Draconian Republican agenda when Republicans in the House and Senate are still pursuing the same policies Americans rejected in November.
Talk is cheap, and the GOP is all talk and absolutely no action in helping any American except the wealthy and their corporations, and Republicans began the 113th Congress where they left off in the last session with no intention of changing course regardless the pretty speeches and self-portrayals of compassion for the people. Republicans have nothing but contempt for the masses, and their legislative agenda is really all the proof the people need, and although some Republican supporters believe Cantor is exhibiting leadership “with positive visions and alternatives to put forward,” it is still President Obama’s vision the GOP is fighting desperately to derail, and the American people are not buying it for a second.
Republicans do have an opportunity to repair their brand, but they are stuck with solutions “based on conservative principles of self-reliance, faith in the individual, trust in the family, and accountability in government” which are code for you’re on your own, Christian family values, and cutting government. Shakespeare was right; “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and Republicans by any other name, whether it is compassionate, caring, or concerned, are still founded in principles to hurt the people, and no amount of rebranding or compassionate rhetoric will change that.