February 6th, 2013
11:51 AM ET
10 years ago

Borger: The new Republican reality show

Editor's note: Gloria Borger is CNN's chief political analyst, appearing regularly on shows such as "AC360˚," "The Situation Room" and "State of the Union."

(CNN) -
No matter how hard politicians try, party reinventions are never pretty - and hardly ever subtle. The trick is twofold: First, tell voters you weren't really wrong - your message just wasn't getting through. Next, shift positions, without admitting you had to change positions to survive.

Bill Clinton, both as a candidate and as president, was the master of reinvention. As a Southern governor, he saw a party that was too liberal, so he pushed it to the center. And when he took a shellacking in the 1994 midterm elections, with Democrats losing control of the House, he took advantage of it, forcing newly empowered Republicans to lead alongside him. Imagine that.


Filed under: Eric Cantor • Republicans
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    They can try and rebrand themselves all they want, their policies still suck. I found it hilarious how Cantor was using the same words in his speech as the President did in 2011. GOP, what ever happened to those JOBS you ran on back in 2010?

    February 6, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. Name lynn

    The republicans is always in the news, they should have they on tv show them republicans they still cant get nothing right with obama an other people.

    February 6, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Sorensen

    The GOP obviously will never get it. Their problem is not the stupid message. It is the fundamental principles. Out-of-date,
    irrelevant, offensive and totally without strategy and target. The second problem is the many totally ridiculous people
    trying to run the place. Old, white, southern, religious, anti women and abortion, anti immigrants, hispanics, blacks, young
    etc. And then they are trying to cheat the system at the voting booth!! Disgusting.
    They will go down the drain very, very hard. As they should.

    February 6, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. freedom

    And what would you call the Obama, Rice, Hagel, and Hilary show? "What difference does it make?"

    February 6, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. rs

    I don't envy Republicans in this "remake". Certainly going after real people is a great and novel idea. Given that they have taken firm stances against: Hispanics, minorities, women and Gays; are against voters, civil rights, the poor and elderly; are against public education and libraries, and only appear to support the rights of killers (using guns), and tax cuts for the rich, going after "Mommy and Daddy" votes may be tough unless they jetison some of their radical baggage that got them where they are.

    February 6, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    The trick is twofold: First, tell voters you weren't really wrong – your message just wasn't getting through. Next, shift positions, without admitting you had to change positions to survive.
    I hear Fox News has fired their long time, prime time pundit Dick Morris. He wasn't able to negotiate all of those political gymnastics that you're describing. He's a textbook example of what you're talking about. Morris' problem is not only was he wrong, not only did he deny it, he was wrong about everything and denied all of it.

    February 6, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    These GOP guys need to come to earth and think as to where they are going wrong. Till then forget about every thing. Good lucks.

    February 6, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Expat American

    I like the direction that the Republican Party has taken since 2008 through 2012; that is Palin, Bachmann, 47%, ‘Takers’, Akin and their rape ideologies, etc… because this is key to even more GOP defeats and Progressive victories in the future.
    In as far as Republicans wanting to help people – The GOP considers uneducated, lower income whites who vote for them as no better than the lower caste untouchables they hate so much; also known as all minorities, non-whites, non-Christians, women and the elderly. If the GOP doesn't even want to help the former, that is those who make up much of their base, then how can they lie about wanting to ‘help people’?

    February 6, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Facts don't Lie

    The GOP wants to re-invent itself? I have some advice.....Get some guts and stop all the fear and fear tactics. Stop being afraid of and stand up to
    The NRA
    Rush Limbaugh, Drudge Report, and other right wing hateful talk shows
    Fox News
    Tea Party
    Lobby groups that line your wallets
    Learn to deal with and accept FACTS and not try to create your own
    Have more control over your far right wing base that appears not to be in step with many Americans.
    and for God's sake come into the 21st century.
    You do that and even a moderate such as myself would consider voting GOP again.

    February 6, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. cali girl

    We can all see through the lies. Grand Old Party has become the Get Out of my Panties party.

    February 6, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Republicians, Conservatives, just need to follow the Constutition. The last 75 plus years people tried to make thing easier for the people. However all those Liberal Policies did nothing but make the problem worse. After 75 Plus years of Liberal Politics you would think things would all be fixed. It isn't. The current Adminstration is trying to Sue S&P for supposedly being overly Optomistic in their rating of the Housing Mess. Wake up people. You need to look before you leap. If you couldn't afford something, then don't buy it. It's called Buyer Beware.. You can't blame someone else for your mis-steps.

    February 6, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. Name. American

    God is still in charge! Amen.

    February 6, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    The GOP doesn't have a messaging problem ... they "message" just fine. The GOP has a big time trust problem.

    February 6, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    @ray, GA, your rethugs just take from the Constitution and our Bill of Rigs what they think they need and leave everything behind.
    It starts with gun safety to human rights.
    I would trust one of them because for too long they have been Against everything decent and human.
    @facts don't lie has it right but I would never vote rethug again. They are talking their way in state elections then turn around to suppress everything and everyone.

    February 6, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. LibParrots

    Unfortunately Obama (the divider) cant hold a candle to bill clinton with regard to working with others, yet, the ignorant and misinformed keep flocking to him.

    February 6, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Evergreen

    The American people are well aware of how your policies affect our lives. We are still dealing with the affects caused by the last GOP administration.

    February 6, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Ray E. (Georgia) wrote:

    Republicians, Conservatives, just need to follow the Constutition. The last 75 plus years people tried to make thing easier for the people.
    I agree with that bit. Conservatives really do need to practice what they preach.

    February 6, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    Rep Cantor's efforts is like selling snake oil in bottles with a new label. The Republican message is still the same no matter how much you try to dress it up. Former George Bush's "compassionate conservatism" was a lie, so is Cantor's.

    February 6, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. A Kickin` Donkey

    Democrats must never cede the superiority of messaging & communications to Republicans again. The GOP works hard at "Bumpersticker-speak". As Cantor and others try to rebrand, the DEMS must make them admit the failures of their policies – make the GOP cry UNCLE so that the public sees which party is more intellectually trustworthy; sees which party to give the benefit of the doubt to in FUTURE policy debates.

    In the internet/wireless device/ connected / blogger age, don`t let the GOP pull a "Bill Clinton".

    February 6, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |