NEW AND IMPROVED?…. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has a strategy to deal with some of his party’s underlying problems — specifically, that they failed miserably while in power, and have no credibility at all on the issues they claim to care about most. So, what’s the plan? Pretend that this Republican Party isn’t like that other Republican Party that was humiliated in 2006 and 2008.

The reasoning behind the argument certainly makes sense. For voters who remember the last several years, it’s awfully difficult to take the GOP seriously. The party that’s running on a platform of fiscal responsibility was fiscally irresponsible. The party that’s running on a platform of shrinking the size and scope of government grew the size and scope of government. The party that’s running on a platform of competence, maturity, and integrity was incompetent, immature, and corrupt.

But that’s all behind us now, Cantor says. His new message to voters, especially those on the far-right, is, in effect, “No, no, baby, it’s different now. I’ve changed….”

In an op-ed on Andrew Breitbart’s, Cantor essentially argues that the Republican Party that wants to take back the House this fall has learned its lessons from the Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert years.

“But the GOP in the House today is different. Very different. Led by a new generation of young and energetic leaders, we are committed to restoring the public’s trust in our ability to lead as responsible adults,” Cantor writes, without having to note that he is indeed thought of as one of the “young” and “energetic” leaders.

That’s not a bad idea, in theory. The problem is the argument doesn’t make any sense.

Eric Cantor, for example, joined the House Republican leadership in 2002, and proceeded to vote for bigger deficits, more debt, and government expansion without paying for it. He’ll be the Majority Leader if the GOP takes the House.

John Boehner joined the House Republican leadership in 1994, and was at the heart of his party’s spectacular failures in the ensuing years. Boehner was even the Majority Leader when his party lost 21 seats in the 2008 elections. He’ll be Speaker if the GOP takes the House.

The party won’t be “led by a new generation of young and energetic leaders”; it’ll be led by the same guys who drove their party and our country into a ditch.

Worse, how does Cantor propose “restoring the public’s trust”? By embracing the exact same ideas and policy agenda Republicans have run on for years.

The reasoning behind Cantor’s new pitch isn’t bad, but the facts clearly need some work.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.