Campaign 2010

Feb 05, 2013

Cantor’s Makeover Attempt: More of the Same


Cantor’s Makeover Attempt: More of the Same

Republican House Leader Eric Cantor tried to remake his party’s out-of-touch image today, but the reviews are in – and he failed.

“Eric Cantor wanted a Cinderella makeover, but turns out that the emperor has no clothes – he just offered more of the same out-of-touch Tea Party agenda,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The reviews are in, and his transparent act didn’t fool anyone – the House Republicans’ Leader is just offering more of the same out-of-touch ideas and dysfunction that the Tea Party has given this country.”

Take a look for yourself:

National Journal: “One thing he won’t do is moderate Republican policies. Cantor is talking about a change in tone, not ideology, which begs the question: With a demographic tide threatening to crush the modern GOP, is it enough to just tweak talking points?” [National Journal, 2/5/13]

POLITICO: “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. […]This isn’t Cantor’s first crack at repackaging Republicanism. Or second. Or third. […] Much of what Cantor will say Tuesday is a rehash of what he’s advocated over the past few years. […]Some on Cantor’s staff said legislation will not be introduced after the speech, others say to expect a push on the House floor, which Cantor controls.” [POLITICO, 2/5/13]

Buzzfeed: “Cantor’s approach is consistent with the general view of top Republicans regarding November’s losses, namely that it was a matter of their messengers and rhetoric and not a fundamental failure of the party's over all platform.” [Buzzfeed, 2/5/13]

Reuters: “While giving no ground on any of the outstanding differences between House Republicans and Obama in a speech prepared for delivery to the American Enterprise Institute, the change in tone from one of the most partisan leaders of the House was striking […]Cantor, who has been one of Obama's toughest adversaries over the past two years, made only passing reference to the bitter fights with Obama over ‘cliffs, debt ceilings and budgets’ in which he has played such a visible role.” [Reuters, 2/5/13]

The Hill: “The Virginia Republican attempted to humanize his party and discussed agenda items that House Republicans intend to pursue that complement the ongoing battles over fiscal matters on Capitol Hill. He focused much of his speech on families, referencing family/families 27 times, parent/parents 25 times, child/children 20 times and kid/kids 11 times.[…]Though he did discuss immigration reform, he was short on specifics, other than starting ‘with the kids,’ as to how to effectively deal with the burgeoning issue.” [The Hill, 2/5/13]

The Daily Beast: “Based on advance excerpts provided by his office, Cantor seems more interested in projecting empathy than offering new legislative solutions.[…]Cantor may be concerned about his own political persona as well. Despite his courtly style, he is consistently portrayed as a green-eyeshade conservative, more intransigent than his boss, John Boehner. When the House speaker tried to reach a grand budget bargain with President Obama in 2011, Cantor, by all reports, remained opposed and at one point was cut out of the talks. In the tax-raising compromise that avoided a plunge over the fiscal cliff last month, Boehner voted yes; Cantor was a no. Little wonder that the majority leader is keen to display a kinder, gentler side.” [The Daily Beast, 2/5/13]

The Washington Post’s Plum Line: “Eric Cantor is set to give a big speech today offering a new direction for the Republican Party. It’s expected to be mostly rhetorical in nature and to avoid any ideological moderation of the party’s core positions. It’s fitting, then, that literally moments before this alleged ‘rebranding’ speech, GOP leaders have given three public statements that underscore the party’s inability, or unwillingness, to budge in a meaningful way on three of the most pressing ideological battles of the moment: Taxes, immigration, and guns.” [Washington Post’s Plum Line, 2/5/13]

NBC News: “The Virginia congressman offered generally familiar proposals, couched in the rhetoric of middle class advancement. This "softer" approach to policy-making squares with an emerging Republican consensus that the party does not necessarily need to change its policies so much as frame them in a way that is more relevant to middle class, minority, and women voters.” [NBC News, 2/5/13]

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