Meet the new GOP, same as the old GOP

MEET THE NEW GOP, SAME AS THE OLD GOP…. Dana Milbank has a helpful summary today, emphasizing the speed with which the new House Republican majority has forgotten all of the principles they said were important when the GOP was in the minority.

For two years, [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor and his colleagues campaigned against high deficits. Now, in the new majority’s first major act, they plan to vote to increase the deficit by $143 billion as part of a repeal of health-care reform.

For two years, Cantor and his colleagues bemoaned the Democrats’ abuse of House rules to circumvent committees and to prevent Republicans from offering amendments. Now, Cantor confirmed on Tuesday, Republicans will employ the very same abuses as they attempt the repeal.

For two years, the Republicans complained about unrelenting Democratic partisanship. Now they’re planning no fewer than 10 investigations of the Obama administration, and the man leading most of those has already branded Obama’s “one of the most corrupt administrations” in history.

For two years, the Republican minority vowed to return power to the people. Now the House Republican majority is asking lobbyists which regulations to repeal, hiring lobbyists to key staff positions and hobnobbing with lobbyists at big-ticket Washington fundraisers.

For those who follow developments on the Hill closely, this isn’t exactly new. For those who follow Republicans closely, it isn’t exactly a surprise, either.

Indeed, as we talked about Monday, the Republican leadership has already hired Tom DeLay’s aides to help run the chamber; corporate lobbyists have been brought on to shape policy; and the K Street project that John Boehner swore to leave in the past is looking reconstituted.

But I’m glad to see Milbank state it so plainly anyway. He’s an establishment voice in good standing, and the more the conventional wisdom is shaped with a simple truth — Republicans are abandoning promises and principles from the get-go, looking a lot like their old selves — the greater the GOP challenge in establishing a narrative about breaking with the past.