“One day after being named to a presidential task force to negotiate deficit reduction, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor fired off a stark warning to Democrats that the GOP “will not grant their request for a debt limit increase” without major spending cuts or budget process reforms.
The Virginia Republican’s missive is a clear escalation in the long-running Washington spending war, with no less than the full faith and credit of the United States hanging in the balance….
People close to Cantor say that he hopes to make clear that small concessions from Democrats, including President Barack Obama, will not be enough to deliver the GOP on a debt increase.”
Great. Take the national economy hostage, stick a loaded pistol to its temple and threaten to pull the trigger unless you get your way. This is what we’ve come to. This is “leadership” and “statesmanship” in the modern American era. Cantor and his colleagues are trying to convince us that they really are childish, stupid and destructive enough to bring the country down to its knees if their demands aren’t fully satisfied.
I cannot imagine leaders of any other era, of any party or ideology, threatening to do severe long-term damage to the country as a means of winning a political argument, at least not since the years leading up to the Civil War. It would have been inconceivable to previous generations, and I can think of no historical parallel to it. Ronald Reagan, for example, would be appalled by the extremist tactics of those who claim to honor him.
Oh, and as to compromise? As Cantor said last week, “We can’t raise taxes. That was settled last November during the elections.”
– Jay Bookman