The Republican Party is sending missile of destruction Eric Cantor (R-VA) out today to rebrand the GOP with their “New Agenda”. He did an interview this morning on CBS and he’s giving speech today at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. His mission is to explain that by softening their rhetoric, the Republican Party can once again cozy up to the very Americans they’ve insulted and alienated. “Americans just want their lives to work again,” he told CBS.
Indeed. And what is the Grand Old Party’s solution? New policies? Oh, I kid. No, Cantor’s solution is new, softer rhetoric. They’re going to spend less time talking about the deficit! Yes, like when they are in power and “deficits don’t matter.” The GOP is rebranding yet again. Maybe this time….
Is this about tone or ideology?
Eric Cantor, public relations mascot for the GOP, explained, “What this is about, is about making sure we can express why we’re doing what we’re doing. We believe very strongly in things like fiscal discipline and not spending money you don’t have.” No, he didn’t seem to find this as humorous as I did coming from the party that destroyed Clinton’s surplus and spent like frat boys on daddy’s credit card when they were in power.
“We also believe in that because it helps people.” There’s your New Party Rhetoric. The Republicans are only trying to privatize Medicare in order to help you, silly Americans. Right to work for less? They’re just trying to “help” you.
Also, they care! Cantor explained very hard how much they care, “In the same way we’ve got to address the plight of so many working Americans right now.” Yes, well, they ran on jobs in 2010 and then proceeded to do nothing about jobs. They spent the last two years trying to defund Planned Parenthood, NPR, and PBS and spent millions of dollars putting on pretend votes to repeal ObamaCare in order to appease their base.
Maybe this time…
But shiny balloons! They’ve got goodies for you, “And those who don’t have any work and say that yes, we’ve got policies that will help you in terms of giving you an opportunity for a quality education, in terms of trying to help you bring down the cost of healthcare.”
This from the party whose last presidential candidate was caught by reporters telling donors that he planned to defund the Department of Education in order to kill it without telling people he was going to kill it, since that doesn’t go over so well with the public. Huh. This is also the party of charter schools, which they refuse to hold to the same standards (or any standards) as public schools. This is the party that just spent years obstructing ObamaCare, which not only brings down the cost of healthcare but also reduces the deficit. So they promise to do all of the things Obama already did or has been trying to do and that they obstructed. Got it.
But on policy?
Um, there won’t be a fundamental policy shift. What’s going to happen here is that Cantor is going to mansplain to the public once again and hope they get how right Republicans are this time. He’s going to tell us “Our party has always stood for the conservative philosophy of self-reliance, faith in the individual, accountability in government… We’re trying to explain that these proposals of ours actually can help people.”
This is the party that wanted to kill the House ethics committee as soon as they got into power (no matter, the committee as a whole is loathe to condemn their colleagues). Four years ago, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) put into place the Office of Congressional Ethics, also known as the OCE, in order to clean out the Tom DeLay-ish stink in the House. Currently the OCE has not been reauthorized.
And then, in a final attempt to put lipstick on the pig, Cantor pretended that Republicans want to work with Democrats, “We’d love to see the Democrats join us, come together to give some relief to the millions of Americans who just want their lives to work again.”
Gee, Eric, maybe you’ll get right on those jobs bills that have been collecting dust in the House.
But no, showing how much he meant those words, Cantor then took reality and spun it, used it as a dagger and stuck it in the Democrats’ back and President Obama’s back. Cantor, with a quivering used car salesman smile, said that Republicans will offer “some proposals that will address the rise in health care costs as a result of the president’s health care bill.”
Oh, so same irrelephant, different day.
The National Journal ran a picture of Cantor holding a brown-skinned baby with the headline “How Eric Cantor is Trying to Soften the Republican Party.” Oh, sweet panderer.
But even the conservative National Journal isn’t buying:
Eric Cantor grabs a plastic dinosaur from the pile of toys in front of 1-year-old Mekhi Scott, taps the beast on the table and growls, “RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” Mekhi jumps — he’s startled at first — and smiles.
“You like dinosaurs?” coos Cantor, the House majority leader and one of the highest-ranking Republicans in the country. “So do I.”
Watching this weirdly cute exchange Monday at The Preparatory School of the District of Columbia, I realize just how hard it’s going to be for the GOP to rebrand itself after the 2012 election debacle. Republican leaders are a bit like Mekhi’s plastic dinosaurs: Even when they’re cute, they can be scary.
Politico was similarly unimpressed:
Tuesday speech. It includes granting more visas for highly educated workers, eliminating medical-device taxes and simplifying tax filings. His aides concede that all he’s doing is “taking policies that have been on the shelf for a while, or back burner, and elevating them.” He’s not completely abandoning Republicans’ core focus on slashing spending, just pairing it with other more palatable talk.
You’ll love the new GOP so long as you never get to know them, because it turns out that budget austerity for regular Americans in order to fund the Republicans’ rich buddies isn’t such a hot commodity. Go figure. But babies!
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.