Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 5, 2010

REMEMBER THIS CANTOR QUOTE NEXT YEAR.... All kinds of Republican officeholders, candidates, and media personalities have been talking up the notion of shutting down the government next year, if there's a House GOP majority. John Boehner, the would-be Speaker, said Republicans don't intend to push a shutdown, but he noticeably didn't rule it out, either.

With this in mind, the likelihood of a 1995 replay has looked pretty strong, at least to me. It came as something of a surprise, then, to hear House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) throw some cold water on the idea. From a Wall Street Journal piece:

This ambitious downsizing agenda could set up a 1995-style budget showdown. That year, President Bill Clinton vetoed Speaker Newt Gingrich's budget, which led to a fateful showdown that many believe revitalized the Clinton presidency.

Are we headed there again? "No, Mr. Cantor says, "I don't think the country needs or wants a shutdown." He thinks such a scenario can be prevented if the Republicans "relentlessly make the case for how government overspending and debt are strangling the future competitiveness and growth of this country."

It's an interesting response. Cantor made it seem as if he and his caucus, if they're in the majority, would persuade the country that the far-right vision is the right one. In this scenario, Cantor seems to think a shutdown won't be necessary because the electorate will side with the GOP -- and the White House, the theory goes, would be forced to go along.

What I'd like to hear Cantor reflect on is how he and his party would react if, after the "relentless case," Americans reject the right-wing Republican agenda.

Regardless, it's a quote to remember: "I don't think the country needs or wants a shutdown." I'm not at all sure Cantor's caucus will feel the same way, but file it away for future reference.

He added, by the way, that when it comes to pursuing their agenda, Republicans "have to be careful" or they'll be "seen as a bunch of yahoos."

That's his word, not mine.

Steve Benen 9:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (11)

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He thinks such a scenario can be prevented if the Republicans "relentlessly make the case for how government overspending and debt are strangling the future competitiveness and growth of this country."

Just a caveat by another name.

Posted by: Alrighty Then on October 5, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Note to Cantor: It's a little late for careful. "Bunch of yahoos" is putting it politely

Posted by: JoeW on October 5, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

These guys lie non stop. Why would anyone believe them now.

What'll happen is they'll say oh but we passed a budget, it's the President that has decided to put his ideology in front of the will of the American people. The America people are tired of the way Washington works. We were sent here by them to fix Washington and President Obama is busy blaming everyone else, bla bla bla.

If the nihilism of the past two years isn't an indication of where we are going, then I don't know what is.

And I keep wondering, if many Republicans openly admit they are just going to stand around and vote no, can we get reimbursed for the time spent doing nothing?

I think being public servants they should have to log their daily activities and have them published online. I would really love to see what Inhofe does all day for instance to earn his salary.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on October 5, 2010 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Steve

Ought not to surprise. The WSJ is a different audience than Fox viewers/Townhall readers. Re the latter, rhetoric designed to foment anger/hatred to the Obama administration and to government generally will have likely electoral advantages. But to business, government shutdown isn't a good thing and extremist rhetoric will frighten (stability, please!).

Posted by: Bernie Latham on October 5, 2010 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

So, to summarize:

Neoconservative ideas? Got us into a bunch of wars, cost a lot of money, set us back.

Neoliberal ideas? Got us into a bunch of wars, cost a lot of money, set us back.

Actual liberal ideas? Totally ignored -- but hey, if we don't support the neolibs then the neocons will win. Even Hobson wouldn't think this was a choice.

Posted by: Tom Allen on October 5, 2010 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it's gotta be yahoos, Eric. Christine O'Donnell already co-opted Bozos.

Posted by: azportsider on October 5, 2010 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK
What I'd like to hear Cantor reflect on is how he and his party would react if, after the "relentless case," Americans reject the right-wing Republican agenda.

Americans have fairly consistently, from most polling on issues, broadly rejected the right-wing agenda, even when they choose particular Republican candidates over Democratic candidates. Republicans that get in office consistently pretend -- even when they are in the minority, much less when they have a majority in one or the other chamber -- that this is not the case and that Americans prefer the right-wing agenda, so the obvious answer is that, were Americans to continue to reject that agenda, the Republicans would continue to act as if Americans had not. So, if the Republicans get the power to force a shutdown, you should expect that they will.

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