Political Animal


February 04, 2013 3:30 PM Plus La Change…

By Ed Kilgore

I was going to write up a preview of Eric Cantor’s Big Speech tomorrow adding his two cents to the effusion of advice to Republicans about how to turn their political fortunes around, but Kevin Drum beat me to the punch with about all you need to know:

[V]ouchers, lower taxes, and tax “simplification”—which I assume, as usual, to be code for flatter tax brackets. In other words, just like Bobby Jindal, who made a big show of telling Republicans to stop being the “stupid party” without suggesting even the tiniest change in actual Republican ideology, Cantor is making a big show of telling Republicans to talk differently without suggesting even the tiniest change in the substance of how they act. Good luck with that.

I’m sure Kevin is like me, getting a little tired of making this basic point, but determined to keep making it so long as each Big Speech is heralded by the MSM as a sign of deep thinking and brave truth-telling on the Right when it is nothing of the sort. What’s really going on in all these Big Speeches is very simple: having won control of the Republican Party after nearly a half century of struggle, the conservative movement does not want to hear that now is the time for the GOP to reconsider its ideology. If the overt message of such speeches is “change is now,” the subtext is “change is not necessary now,” or “change is not necessary ever.” The only real question now is at what point GOP leaders declare themselves “changed” and “reformed” for having listened to all these speeches.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on February 04, 2013 3:53 PM:

    The New Republican Party = Same As The Old Republican Party.

    For those who like the way things are, with no hope for any change, or change to provide any hope - we're the party for YOU!

    All suckers, rubes, marks, fools, idiots, morons, racists, misogynists, xenophobes, and/or racists, are gladly accepted and welcome!

  • Anonymous on February 04, 2013 4:19 PM:

    Not to be picky, but it's Plus Ca Change, not Plus La Change. The first one means "The more That Changes" (the more it stays the same), while the second one just means "More the change" which doesn't make much sense. If you're going to use French, we elitist liberals want it to be right! Love your blog!

  • joyzeeboy on February 04, 2013 4:55 PM:

    It is "plus c'est change, plus c'est la meme chose"

    The more it changes, the more it stays the same.

    Well, unless you are talking about women hence the "la!"

  • Mitch on February 04, 2013 6:10 PM:


    Anonymous is correct; it is "Plus ca change" not "c'est".

    My French is a bit rusty, but this has always been my favorite cliché of all time.


  • Joe Friday on February 04, 2013 6:28 PM:

    "Cantor is making a big show of telling Republicans to talk differently without suggesting even the tiniest change in the substance of how they act."

    Cantor doesn't have enough lipstick for that pig.

  • barkleyg on February 04, 2013 6:57 PM:

    Glen Greenwald (GLENZILLA) called these bums out over 6 years ago when the GOP establishment starting saying that George W. Bush( the WORST American of all-time) wasn't really a "conservative at heart".

    Glenn explained that "Conservatism" was Fluid, and not the "static" ethos it imagined. Conservatism was how it was applied by Conservative Politicians and Leaders of today, and King George had many willing desciples following his Lead(?) to the lowest common denominator!

    Sorry GOP: Conservatism is fluid, and your leaders are leading this once proud designation to the bottom of the heap, instead of it's delusion of being the "Best" of the heap.

    God help America until REPUBLICANS learn to love OUR country MORE than they HATE Obama.

    The GOP puts party ( and a sick, sick one it is) over country!

  • boatboy_srq on February 05, 2013 8:45 AM:

    @barkleyg: to love OUR country (at all), they'll have to come to grips with the fact that it's OURs - and not just THEIRs. Until they recognize that Real, Genuine Patriotic Ahmurrcans™ aren't the sum total of the legal, loyal citizenry, then there's no point in hoping that they'll give up their wingnuttery.