Archives: Be wary of suddenly evolved Republicans

Originally published in November 2012
Simon Nguyen

COMMENTARY | When you see staunch conservatives suddenly come out in favor of bipartisanship and moderation, you know something is not right in the GOP world. First, we have Sean Hannity offered his evolved position on immigration. This was followed by Bill Kristol – the editor of the ultra-conservative Weekly Standard – coming out in support of tax hikes on wealthy Americans. Republicans are clearly trying to change the electorate’s negative perception of their party. But Americans should be skeptical of their new moderate image.

What the conservatives are doing right now is not unlike how liberals like to call themselves progressives. It is a tactical change of label and nothing more. Case in point, no prominent congressional Republican has come out to disavow Grover Norquist’s no-tax-increase pledge. Even House Speaker John Boehner, who is a moderate Republican, has dismissed the notion of tax rate increases. The concessions Republicans are offering are merely bullet points taken straight from Mitt Romney’s tax proposal.

As for Hannity’s supposedly changed position on immigration, we should not take it at face value. The conservative Fox News commentator has spent the last four years lambasting the president and the Democrats on immigration. It is hard to not be suspicious of this sudden change of heart, when it comes just a few days after a big GOP defeat in which CNN exit polls show Latinos voted overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama. The only thing we can take from this is that conservatives do care about polls.

There may be another reason behind the Republicans’ sudden change of tone. They could use this as a cover in the case there is no agreement on the “fiscal cliff”. By setting up the notion they are willing to come to the table to negotiate, they will be able to put the blame on Obama if no deal is reached by December 31.

One should not be surprise to hear reiterated criticisms from Republicans that the president is too ideological and is unwilling to reach out to the other side. Whether or not the American people can read through the smoke and mirrors remains to be seen.

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