Meet The New GOP Brand – Same As The Old GOP Brand

“I can see by your eyes, you must be lying

When you think I don’t have a clue.

Baby you’re crazy if you think that you can fool me

Because I’ve seen that movie too.”

– “I’ve Seen That Movie Too” by Elton John & Bernie Taupin (1973)

The Lowell Sun recently published an article on an interview its editorial board had with former Republican State Representative Karyn Polito. Polito is currently running for the office of Lieutenant Governor and the interview with the Mill City newspaper was part of her campaign swing through the GOP-friendly Merrimack Valley area.

The only way Republicans can recapture the corner office in the Statehouse is by “redefining” themselves, GOP lieutenant-governor candidate Karyn Polito told an informal meeting of The Sun’s editorial board Tuesday.

And she said no one is more capable of carrying the Republican mantra in Massachusetts than herself and the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee, Charles Baker, who lost to Democrat Deval Patrick by six percentage points.

If Polito said “Charlie and I” 10 times during the session, she said it 100 times.

Also frequently mentioned were “Bill and Paul,” as in Republicans William Weld and Paul Cellucci, who captured the corner office in 1991 as governor and lieutenant governor on a message of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism that resonated across the commonwealth.

“The one where the players are acting surprised

Saying love’s just a four letter word

Between forcing smiles, with the knives in their eyes,

Well, their actions become so absurd.”

If the reporter sounded unimpressed with Polito, so too will Tea Party activists when they read the following:

Research her name and there’s numerous references to the tea party. Fueling those connections are votes like the one she made a decade ago in the Legislature for a constitutional amendment that would have defined civil marriage as exclusively heterosexual.

She said the vote reflected the values of her rural, middle-class district near Worcester. While she stopped short of saying she supports gay marriage, she said: “It is the law in Massachusetts.”

Polito bristled at the notion of being called a tea-party Republican, saying she’s adamantly pro-choice and that her views “are not consistent with the label being attached to me.”

Any attempt to portray her as a tea-party Republican is “negative campaigning” that voters eschew, she said.

“It’s a habit I have, I don’t get pushed around.

Stop twinkling your star like you do.

I’m not the blue print for all of your “B” films

Because I’ve seen that movie too.”

Libertarians & neo-libertarians might squirm when they read Polito’s view of government:

Because “they” have a monopoly on Beacon Hill — “they” being “the other party” — Democratic principles on taxes, regulation, permitting and health care are stymieing job growth, Polito said.

“With all our colleges and universities we should be killing it on all levels,” said Polito. “But families are stuck across the state because their government isn’t creating the opportunities.”

What kind of “opportunities” does government create? Jobs? Sure, if you’re talking about hack jobs in the public sector versus jobs in the private sector that create wealth. Polito’s view is one that President George W Bush held & his “compassionate conservatism” ideology contributed to the growth of the Leviathan state (along with the subsequent financial crisis of 2008 followed by the Great Recession). Does the state need a return of this ideology?

I don’t call it a “redefined” brand of the GOP; call it More Of The Same (MOTS). So Liberty-type Republicans won’t get too excited about Polito’s view on government. And her visceral reaction against the Tea Party won’t help her attract more supporters to her campaign. Meanwhile the Establishment GOP will go through the motions of pushing the Baker-Polito ticket (if it comes to that) without offering the public a genuine alternative to the status quo as represented by whatever ticket the Democrats assemble. I can hear the sound of the voters as they hum to themselves on Election Day:

“So keep your auditions for somebody

Who hasn’t got so much to lose

`Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting

That I’ve seen that movie too.”

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