Monday, February 25, 2013

No, He Cantor

Ryan Lizza's piece in the New Yorker on GOP House majority leader Eric Cantor is thick with disappointment and hubris, and the goal appears to be absolving him of the guilt of 2012 to allow him to take credit in 2014 and 2016.

Cantor is the House Majority Leader, which means that he is responsible for the mundane business of managing the schedule, the House floor, and committees, where legislation is generally written. He has used his position to transform himself into the Party’s chief political strategist. Cantor is frequently talked about as a future Speaker; he could even be a future President, some of his aides say. Since the election, as Republicans have confronted Obama in a series of budgetary battles—another will unfold this week—few have tried as hard as Cantor to reposition and redefine the defeated party.

“He’s a fantastic Majority Leader,” Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a close friend, said. “Eric keeps the trains running on time very efficiently.” As Mitt Romney’s former running mate and the architect of the budget policies that some Republicans blame for their loss in 2012, Ryan is well aware of his party’s problems. “What Eric is really focussed on is that we need to do a better job of broadening our appeal and showing that we have real ideas and solutions that make people’s lives better,” Ryan said. “Eric is the guy who studies the big vision and is doing the step-by-step, daily management of the process to get us there. That is a huge job.”

To recap, the losing VP candidate thinks Cantor is "fantastic".  That's all you need to know about the House GOP over the next 2 years, more likely 4, as they will continue doing what they are doing now, only worse and more of it.

Cantor was one of the most influential political forces in Obama’s first term. In June of 2011, the President and the Speaker began working toward a Grand Bargain of major tax increases and spending cuts to address the government’s long-term budget deficits. Until late June, Boehner had managed to keep these talks secret from Cantor. On July 21st, Boehner paused in his discussions with Obama to talk to Cantor and outline the proposed deal. As Obama waited by the phone for a response from the Speaker, Cantor struck. Cantor told me that it was a “fair assessment” that he talked Boehner out of accepting Obama’s deal. He said he told Boehner that it would be better, instead, to take the issues of taxes and spending to the voters and “have it out” with the Democrats in the election. Why give Obama an enormous political victory, and potentially help him win reĆ«lection, when they might be able to negotiate a more favorable deal with a new Republican President? Boehner told Obama there was no deal. Instead of a Grand Bargain, Cantor and the House Republicans made a grand bet.

The bet failed spectacularly. Just as Cantor had urged, Obama and Romney spent much of the campaign debating tax and spending policies that the House Republicans had foisted on the Romney-Ryan ticket. What’s more, by scuttling the 2011 Grand Bargain negotiations, Cantor, more than any other politician, helped create the series of fiscal crises that have gripped Washington since Election Day. The failure of the Grand Bargain led to a byzantine deal: if the two parties could not agree on a new deficit plan, then a combination of tax increases and spending cuts—cuts known, in budget jargon, as a “sequester”—would automatically kick in on New Year’s Day. (The sequester was postponed until March 1st.) Looming beyond this “fiscal cliff” was an even more perilous fight, over the expiration of the debt ceiling, which is the limit on how much money the government can borrow, and which Congress must regularly raise if the Treasury is to pay its bills.

Lizza is correct here.  The mess we're in now is a direct result of Cantor's politically terminal case of Obama Derangement Syndrome.  Four years of manufactured crises designed to destroy the Democratic president backfired, so now those who voted for him must be punished by another four years of crises.

It really is negotiation with terrorists, and always has been.  And the man behind this tactic has been Cantor, not Boehner, from the beginning.


Yastreblyansky said...

Young guns!!! Outlaws of Fiscal Gulch!

RegularJoe said...

“He’s a fantastic Majority Leader,” Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a close friend, said. “Eric keeps the trains running on time very efficiently.”
Mussolini was said to have made the trains run on time as well. Perhaps a fact check is in order:

Lurker111 said...

I lived in Virginia when Cantor was first elected to office. I got bad vibes about him then and these haven't changed. I'm sorry I was right.

Tbone said...

You know who else kept the trains running on time?

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