Plus La Change…

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.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.