Political Animal


February 10, 2013 12:55 PM Pay No Attention to the Conservative Behind the Curtain

By Elon Green

Before I leave you lovely people to your Sunday, here are two quotes from this morning’s “Meet the Press”:

* “We’ve got to be talking about helping folks.”

* “[T]he federal government has got a role in research and basic medical research trying to find cures for disease.”

The lawmaker spouting those liberal talking points was not, as you might imagine, Nancy Pelosi but Eric Cantor. It’s the first leg of Cantor’s effort to “rebrand” the GOP. Seems the makers/takers dichotomy the party was so fond of during the election cycle is not the best way to broaden the appeal of a national political machine. Who knew?

I mention this only so that, from here on out, you can ignore it. (Thinkprogress has done a marvelous job making Swiss cheese of Cantor’s reboot.) This is selective liberalism. As Chris Christie showed, Republican governors have no qualms about demanding FEMA money. And of course, any time the military budget is up for review, Republicans are perfectly willing to embrace big government. They would be loath to admit it, but like everyone else, Republicans are willing to toss their staunchly-held principles out the window when they’re frightened. If Cantor and his colleagues read this morning’s Tanenhaus — which gave an awfully bleak glimpse of the GOP’s future — they have every right to be.

Until next time, you can reach my at the e-mail below or on Twitter (@elongreen).


  • c u n d gulag on February 10, 2013 1:26 PM:

    The closer you look at the younger crop of Republican politicians, people like Cantor, Ryan, Rubio, and Paul, the more you realize how empty those suits they wear, and the heads above their necks, really are.

    The entire party as a whole hasn't had a new idea since William F. Buckley took his first slug of his Daddies single-malt scotch when he wasn't looking, and now their 'Kiddy KKKorp," is left with trying to re-brand their old racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and/or homophobia, as some sort of super-duper, brand-spanking, new-new-NEW form of Republicanism - the artist formerly known as, "Compassionate Conservatism."

    But the fact that these young and stupid maniacs, steeping in the "Teh Stooooopid" tea of Movement Conservatism since they were sucking on their mother's teats, are closer to Reagan and W (two empty-suited dimwits, themselves), than they are to Nixon and Bush Sr. (both bright, but corrupt people), doesn't mean that they can't win the Presidency.

    Never underestimate the stupidity and gullibility of too many of the American people.

    And so, these young snakes are out there, trying on new suits, and putting on a shade of Hispanic Rojo Cereza lipstick, and a pair of Rojo Cereza "Feck-me pumps," in the hopes that, by hook or by crook, enough of the American people will vote them back into power in both houses of Congress in 2014, and the Presidency and Congress in 2016.

    What I'm hoping for, is that enough people remember that, while "Compassionate Conservatism" had plenty of the latter, the one thing it lacked entirely, was even a quark of compassion.

    And they can try to bamboozle the public again, with all sorts of Frank Luntz-approved verbiage, but, like Akin and Mourdock, they'll eventually show their @$$es to the American people.

    And that that keeps them in their place - an ever dwindling minority party, with nothing new to sell, and no buyers for their old product.

    You can't teach a brain-dead dog, new tricks.

  • mmm on February 10, 2013 1:40 PM:

    Yes, C U N D, everything you've stated is correct. All the more reason for Democrats to keep their "game faces on" in the next and next elections. Keep those anti-union, anti-women, anti everything Republicans in the spotlight, because the "it's our turn after 8 years of Obama" is just around the corner.

  • gregor on February 10, 2013 2:21 PM:

    It's not worth any effort - even an iota of effort - to accuse politicians of hypocrisy. Especially Republican politicians.

  • Joe Friday on February 10, 2013 2:37 PM:

    CANTOR: "We've got to be talking about helping folks."

    But they HAVE been talking about helping folks, except it's the Rich & Corporate. Now they're attempting to figure out how to make the Middle-class & Working Poor believe that helping the Rich & Corporate is good for everybody.

    Trouble is, everybody has already seen that movie.

  • schtick on February 10, 2013 3:04 PM:

    The teapubs support the same things they have been supporting all along. They are just trying to tell their lies differently. Sadly, the empty heads that vote for the empty suits will buy it, hook, line and sinker.

  • Renai on February 10, 2013 5:41 PM:

    “We’ve got to be talking about helping folks.”

    No, you've got to be acting on helping folks. Funny how you never get to the point of action.

  • Steve on February 10, 2013 7:44 PM:

    "They would be loathe to admit it. . ."

    You mean "loath" not "loathe".

    "Loath" means reticent or reluctant.

    "Loathe" means to dislike, as in "George H W Bush loathes broccoli."

    Just sayin'.

  • PEA on February 10, 2013 11:40 PM:

    While Cantor is busy trying to show he supports the people via admitting there's a govt role in research, can we get him to put his money where his mouth is and vote against the 5% cut to NSF and NIH (scientific research) that the Repubs put in the sequester?

  • bob h on February 11, 2013 7:12 AM:

    "[T]he federal government has got a role in research and basic medical research trying to find cures for disease.”

    So why are they threatening the sequester which will take NIH down with it?

  • jhm on February 11, 2013 8:08 AM:

    If the woefully misguided letter writer to my local paper is any indication of the current rhetoric, I'll mention that the failure of Congress to pass a Sandy relief appropriation was Obamas fault "mostly because it was loaded with [...] pork." he reason I mention this, and the reason that keeping half an ear to what actual GOP voters think they know (which would not even pass the laugh test for someone like Hon. Rep. Cantor to utter on the MSM) is much more important that what the GOP leadership says in public. The facility of these voters to completely forget such recent and well publicized events (if they even stuck their heads out of the bubble to notice them in the first place) is nearly perfect.

    So even if Mr. Cantor's rebranding made a lick of sense, the facts on the ground, so to speak, which are completely different, are the one's of importance to the electoral success of the GOP. Our job is not so much to critique the public rhetoric, as to expose what actual voters are being told to the GOP leadership and make them either confirm or refute, in the most public manner possible, these beliefs.

  • bigtuna on February 11, 2013 10:09 AM:

    I am not sure about the NIH, but I do know other science funding agencies have been hampered greatly by the lack of a budget. Between working on a continuing resolution, and the threats of sequester, and other uncertainities due in largest measure to the obstruction of the House Repubs., the agencies have decided to work at 80-90% of the CR amounts.

    So if dear Mr. Cantor felt so gosh awful keen to fund basic research, a step that he could take is to get repulicans off their asses and pass budgets so that the research funding process could get back to work, and fund projects that are excellent ideas waiting to be tested.

    Another step would be to get clowns like Rep. Broun [the medical doc/ congressman who think embrology is the work of the devil] off all committees having to do with science.

    I didn't see the interview, but I bet the MSM interviewer didn't bring these obvious points up ....

  • wasadem on February 16, 2013 9:21 AM:

    Lots of name-calling - try facts instead; your arguments would have more credence.

    I'm more worried about the guy (Obama) in FRONT of the curtain - blatantly lying to us.

    Do some research, liberals - many promises made by Obmama in '08 not kept, and many criticisms of G.W. Bush while Obama was Senator he has now done.

    And it wasn't long ago that people predicted the demise of the Democratic Pary - things change.