Eric Cantor just kan't shake his party's dogmatic slumber. He had his chance in a major speech to the American Enterprise Institute yesterday, but he came across as just another Republican pol rolling out just another newer Republican Party, which nonetheless insists on imitating that other Republican Party.
The party's "ideas" are doing fine, say its contemporary pols, only they can't seem to find the right platitudes. That, anyway, is the prevailing internal diagnosis. If only their marketing horse-and-buggy team can drop the right horseshit, the increasingly wary electorate will lap it up. So one after another, one GOP pol after GOP pol, the Cantors and Priebuses and Jindals give it their all.
And what do we get? A call for "opportunity [as] a reality for ... everyone," combined with this walloping contradiction: "And to restrain Washington from interfering in those pursuits" of opportunity.
Or, to put it more straightforwardly, to restrain Washington from helping those who lack the many opportunities of the already affluent--a philosophical Republican dogma of at least three decades running, which would have brought howls of conservative protest from Lincoln, T.R., and Eisenhower, all of whom saw government as an essentially positive force in American society.
As do most Americans, who are the GOP's real problem. The party has disfigured "conservatism" into an ugly, angry, fanatical brand of everything but a forward prudence; and in doing so it has lost, or is losing, the fundamentally conservative American electorate.