Political Animal


June 04, 2011 8:25 AM Cantor’s callousness draws more criticism

By Steve Benen

We’ve been talking quite a bit over the last two weeks about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and his approach to federal disaster relief. Cantor and congressional Republicans have created a new standard for emergency funds: American victims of natural disasters can receive aid, but only if the relief funds are offset by budget cuts elsewhere.

Congress has never operated this way — even Tom DeLay didn’t support such an approach — but we also haven’t seen a majority-party caucus this extreme in modern history.

Yesterday, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) criticized this approach, and last night, Donald Trump weighed in.

“Representative [Eric] Cantor, who I like, said we don’t want to give money to the tornado victims,” Trump said. “And yet in Afghanistan we’re spending $10 billion a month. But we don’t want to help the people that got devastated by tornadoes. Wiped out, killed, maimed, injured — we don’t have money for them but we’re spending $10 billion a month in Afghanistan.” […]

“We’re spending billions of dollars in Iraq,” he said. “We’re spending billions of billions of dollars and we can’t help people that got flooded by the Mississippi, that got hit horribly by the tornadoes.”

To be sure, this doesn’t obscure Trump’s status as a ridiculous media buffoon. The point, though, is that the Republican position on emergency relief is becoming increasingly problematic.

Indeed, the more attention this gets, the more of a political loser it becomes. It doesn’t take much for voters to wonder why Republicans don’t hesitate to finance wars without paying for them, bailout Wall Street without paying it, and offer subsidies to oil companies without paying for them, but when an American community is devastated by a tornado, all of a sudden, the GOP is inclined to hold the funds hostage until the party gets offsetting cuts.

The Daily Show slammed Cantor’s callousness this week, too. If you haven’t seen the segment, it’s worth checking out.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • berttheclock on June 04, 2011 8:38 AM:

    Jon Stewart had a busy week - Blasting Cantor and, also, lambasting Trump for eating pizza with a knife and fork.

  • c u n d gulag on June 04, 2011 8:44 AM:

    It may not be his fault.

    After all, the work "can't" is right there in his name: Cantor.

    This has been yet another example of Republicans as the "You're On Your Own Party!"

    Unless you want to have a choice as far as having to go through "Forced Labor."

    Then, they become the "We'll Be The Judges Of That Party."

    lakilake gropea?
    CAPTCHA, is that you being obscene?

  • Ladyhawke on June 04, 2011 8:48 AM:

    Andrew Leonard of Salon makes it plain and asks a very important question.


    The GOP response to the jobs report: The Earth is flat and two plus two equals five

    How many blatant untruths can a Republican speaker of the House stuff into one sentence? Quite a few!



  • berttheclock on June 04, 2011 8:58 AM:

    For those who still truly believe, that education, in and of itself, is the answer to our problems, consider Cantor has three degrees. One from George Washington Univerisity, another from William and Mary and, one from Columbia. Some of the most ignorant RepuGs have multiple degrees, a few in medicine, others in law such as Cantor. What the hell did they ever learn or were they, simply, passed through?

  • Sue on June 04, 2011 9:02 AM:

    More and more it appears to me that the GOP is full of actual sociopaths. Not only don't they care about anyone else, but they don't understand that other people do care. They propose things that actively hurt people and are political poison because they simply fail to comprehend that other people don't want to hurt their families, friends and neighbors. They think we don't care about Joplin if we don't live there, or that we think taking away Medicare will be ok with us because we are over 55 and they say it won't affect us--just younger people.

    They just don't grok those things that make us human. These people should be in jail, and they are in Congress. I don't understand how they manage that trick.

  • hell's littlest angel on June 04, 2011 9:29 AM:

    bert, while it's generally true that stupidity rather than evil is the motivator behind most bad behavior, some of these Republicans are just rotten motherfuckers.

  • Kathryn on June 04, 2011 9:43 AM:

    Good post Sue. Since the GOP appears to be unable to learn, unable to conceive of new approaches to anything in the economy, unable to conceive of people who can see past their own noses of self interest, the slumbering citizens are beginning to get it. I hope they sufficiently get it by the elections of 2012. The current Republican Party is not a suitable partner for governing. Their cartoonish governing in Washington, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Michigan is seeping into focus with little help from the media.

  • berttheclock on June 04, 2011 9:43 AM:

    @hla, you do know how to cut to the chase.

  • james on June 04, 2011 11:11 AM:

    Has Trump make a major donation to any disaster relief organization? I'm sure if he has, he's boasted about it. Although, truly, I'd be glad if he did.

    I've made my donations, more modest than his would be. Charitable organizations provide lots of meals and support to disaster victims. I hope everyone on Political Animal is helping in some way.

    Captcha: crevilea gazz. Crevilea, if cooked properly, should not cause gazz.

  • kevo on June 04, 2011 12:10 PM:

    Dr. King's April 4, 1967 speech, comparing spending in Vietnam to the so called War on Poverty, serves as the foundation of Trump's criticism!

    It's good to see The Donald come around on whatever issue he can! -Kevo

  • rick on June 05, 2011 8:24 AM:

    It would be interesting to get the Joplin Tea Party's view on this issue. As they say there are no atheists in a foxhole and there are no tea partiers in a disaster area.

  • toowearyforoutrage on June 06, 2011 2:16 PM:

    A "Dear John" letter to Grover Norquist makes many closed doors open again, Republicans.

    Haven't we all, at some time, made a promise we couldn't keep? We sincerely thought we could at the time, but realized we'd been naieve? Hopelessly optimistic?

    It is time for a heartfelt apology to Mr. Norquist and get the country on a functioning level again.
    If you can get a few hundred to sign the letter, it takes away any serious power Mr Norquist has.

    Look, Democrats would LOVE to be able to hold the line on taxes too. Really, we would! But we have the impression that the Fed needs to do a certain minimum for the nation's people and during a recession, it's hard (impossible?) to afford that minimum on the taxes Grover would allow.