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Cantor Caves: Republicans Will Be ‘Listening’ To Rush Limbaugh, Not The American Public

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"Cantor Caves: Republicans Will Be ‘Listening’ To Rush Limbaugh, Not The American Public"

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Last week, Republicans kicked off their National Council for a New America, an attempt to revive the image of the GOP. One of the leading participants, former governor Jeb Bush, said that it was time for Republicans to “listen first, to learn a little bit, to upgrade our message a little bit.” Similarly, on Sunday, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) told CNN that Republicans should be “listening to the people“:

CANTOR: Listen, John, I think there is a lot of blame to go around. And what we’re trying to do here today is kick off a series of town hall forums so that we can get back to listening to the people. [...]

So we’ve got to go out and, again, reconnect and make sure that our policy prescriptions are relevant to the challenges that people in the Northeast are facing, to the challenges that educated, affluent families are facing, as well as those much more challenged in the inner cities and rural areas of our country.

There is a common theme in this country and that is opportunity. That’s what these forums are going to be about, about listening to how we tap into the real challenges and how we allow opportunity to flourish again.

Listening to all this talk about listening, Rush Limbaugh became incensed. He said that instead of taking cues from the American public, Republicans should fan out and spread their dogma through a “teaching tour.” This morning on MSNBC, Cantor backtracked and said that he agreed with Limbaugh:

SCARBOROUGH: So, let’s start with Rush Limbaugh, who seems to be mocking the idea of a listening tour. What do you say to Rush?

CANTOR: You know, Joe, really, this — this is not a listening tour. You know, think about what we saw a couple weeks ago on the TEA parties.

Cantor added that the National Council was actually an opportunity “to go out across this country to talk about our conservative principles and to appeal to as many elements in our society as we can.” Watch it:

Yesterday, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) had a similar retraction, saying that the GOP’s objective was to help “educate the American people,” even though a week before he had said that “we’re going to listen, we’re going to learn.”

Transcript:

SCARBOROUGH: So, let’s start with Rush Limbaugh, who seems to be mocking the idea of a listening tour. What do you say to Rush?

CANTOR: You know, Joe, really, this — this is not a listening tour. You know, think about what we saw a couple weeks ago on the TEA parties. The American people are very frustrated that they really see a government in Washington that doesn’t hear them, that doesn’t respond to their needs and, frankly, are upset at a government that doesn’t work.

What the National Council for a New America is, is an opportunity for us to go out across this country to talk about our conservative principles and to appeal to as many elements in our society as we can and to really talk to them as a higher level and say, look, there are some transcendental goals that we’re all about in this country, and they can best be achieved through conservative principles of freedom and opportunity.

That’s what this movement is really about.

SCARBOROUGH: But, you know, following up on Rush’s point about how you need to go out on a teaching tour, I look at a budget that’s passed that the CBO says is going to bankrupt America. I look at a lot of policies that — that we’re moving towards that I think are terrible for America.

And then I look at polls that show that this president has 65, 66, 67 percent approval ratings. It seems to me, if you’re right and if I’m right, maybe we do need to go out and explain why and do a little teaching.

CANTOR: Well, you know, look, Rush is talking about conservative principles, and we’re talking about conservative principles. And no question, Joe, this president is extremely popular personally, but it’s his policies, once they — once the details are flushed out — that have proven in the polls over and again to be not very popular at all.

And I think this is where the frustration is coming from, and that’s why we do need, in the Republican Party, to go out and talk about the our conservative principles and how they apply to the challenges that this country is facing and the challenges that people are facing in communities across this country.

Update

Today on his show, Limbaugh responded to Cantor’s backtrack: “Good!

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