If you watched Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Meet The Press appearance on Sunday, you learned the following:
• Unlike Obama, Republicans don’t want to “invest” in America:
CANTOR: What we’ve said is our Congress is going to be a cut and grow Congress; that we believe we’ve got to cut spending, we’ve got to cut the regulations that have stopped job growth. When the president talks about competitiveness, sure, we want America to be competitive. But then when he talks about investing, I think even someone from the White House this week had said that this is going to be a cut and invest White House. We want to cut and grow. Because when we, we hear invest, when–from anyone in Washington, to me that means more spending.
Get it? Cut and grow. Cut and grow. Cut and grow. Sort of like pruning roses. That’s it! America is just one big rose garden! If we just cut, cut, cut, in no time millions of job-flowers will bloom! Just make sure you don’t get cancer. In the interview, Mr. Cantor suggested that even cancer research is “on the table.”
• We learned Republicans will violate their Pledge To America and not cut $100 billion from the budget, and, guess what? It’s the Democrat’s fault! Here is part of an exchange between host David Gregory and Cantor:
MR. GREGORY: It seems like it’s a straightforward question, though. Are you going to live up to the $100 billion pledge? I assume you’ve put a lot of thought into that…$100 billion figure. Can you make it or not?
REP. CANTOR: Absolutely. On an annualized basis, we will cut spending $100 billion.
MR. GREGORY: You do it this year as you pledged?
REP. CANTOR: On an annualized basis…
MR. GREGORY: Which means what exactly?
REP. CANTOR: Well, again, David, look where we are. We are where we are because the Democratic majority, last Congress, didn’t pass a budget, right? They didn’t do it. So we’re in a continuing resolution environment. So now we’ve got an interim step to take to make sure that we reset the dial and bring spending back down to ’08 levels. We will do that.
“Annualized“? “Interim step“? I looked and didn’t find those words in the Pledge. Whoops.
• We also learned that Republicans will definitely deploy their hold-America-hostage strategy again this spring, as we approach the debt ceiling:
MR. GREGORY: You talk about the debt, it’s passing $14 trillion. And last week you gave an interview to The Washington Post about this important vote that’ll come up in the spring about raising the debt ceiling, which has been done for a long time in the past. And this is what you said in The Washington Post: “`It’s a leverage moment for Republicans,’ Cantor said in an interview… `The president needs us. There are things we were elected to do. Let’s accomplish those if that the president needs us to clean up the old mess.'”
I want you to be specific here. What’s the leverage moment? What will you exact as a promise in order for your members to vote to increase the debt ceiling?
REP. CANTOR: Well, let, let me be clear, David. Republicans are not going to vote for this increase in the debt limit unless there are serious spending cuts and reforms.
MR. GREGORY: Like what?
REP. CANTOR: I mean–and, and that is just the way it is, OK?
MR. GREGORY: Right.
Get that? We have to go through another “or else” moment. Geez.
• Via Mr. Cantor we also found out that the anemic BoehnerCare is “just a starting point,” and that the reason Republicans haven’t done better is the fault of Democrats! Yep:
MR. GREGORY: All right, let, let’s, let’s move on to health care because House Republicans did repeal the president’s healthcare reform plan, but the real question is what Republicans are prepared to replace it with and whether you have a serious plan. Major Garrett in the National Journal reports this week the following about the speaker’s plan, Speaker Boehner: “The Boehner plan, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would add just three million Americans to the insurance rolls, leaving about 50 million still without coverage through 2019. CBO said that the proposal would reduce costs in the group-insurance market, which constitutes nearly 80 percent of private-sector premiums, by less than 3 percent. `If it’s all they do, it is not a serious effort,’ Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former CBO director and chief policy adviser for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said of the Boehner alternative. `You can’t just do that.'”
The truth is, Republicans do not have a serious alternative to covering more Americans, do they?
REP. CANTOR: I disagree with that, obviously, David. First of all, you know, we believe you can do better in health care. I mean, we want to try and address the situation so more folks can have coverage, can, can have the kind of care that they want.
MR. GREGORY: But that’s not what the Boehner plan does.
REP. CANTOR: Well, the…
MR. GREGORY: It’s not more folks being covered.
REP. CANTOR: Well, the–if you recall last session, we Republicans were given one shot; we didn’t have any open debate for both sides at all on the healthcare bill the way it was jammed through. The Boehner plan is just a starting point…
• Finally, we learned that Eric Cantor—the second-in-command in Republican leadership—”thinks” Obama is a citizen. He doesn’t “know” he is; he “thinks” he is. It’s like when Hillary Clinton told 60 Minutes that, “as far as I know,” Obama is not a Muslim.
And as far as I know, I don’t think Eric Cantor is a traitorous Zionist homosexual. There. That settles it.
Here’s the weird exchange between Gregory and Cantor, which—eventually— ended in Cantor’s quasi-acknowledgement that Obama is legitimately our president:
MR. GREGORY: There’s been a lot of talk about discourse, about how you all can get along a little bit better and do it a little bit more civilly. And I wonder, this is the leadership moment here, OK? There are elements of this country who question the president’s citizenship, who think that it–his birth certificate is inauthentic. Will you call that what it is, which is crazy talk?
REP. CANTOR: David, you know, I mean, a lot of that has been an, an issue sort of generated by not only the media, but others in the country. Most Americans really are beyond that, and they want us to focus…
MR. GREGORY: Right. Is somebody brings that up just engaging in crazy talk?
REP. CANTOR: Well, David, I, I don’t think it’s, it’s nice to call anyone crazy, OK?
MR. GREGORY: All right. Is it a legitimate or an illegitimate issue?
REP. CANTOR: And–so I don’t think it’s an issue that we need to address at all. I think we need to focus on…
MR. GREGORY: All right. His citizenship should never be questioned, in your judgment. Is that what you’re saying?
REP. CANTOR: It is, it is not an issue that even needs to be on the policy-making table right now whatsoever.
MR. GREGORY: Right. Because it’s illegitimate? I mean, why won’t you just call it what it is?
REP. CANTOR: I–because, again…
MR. GREGORY: I mean, I feel like there’s a lot of Republican leaders who don’t want to go as far as to criticize those folks.
REP. CANTOR: No. I think the president’s a citizen of the United States.
MR. GREGORY: Period.
REP. CANTOR: So what–yes. Why, why is it that you want me to go and engage in name-calling?
MR. GREGORY: No, I’m just…
REP. CANTOR: I think he’s a citizen of the United States.
MR. GREGORY: Because, because I think a lot of people, Leader, would say that a leader’s job is to shut some of this down. You know as well as I do, there are some elements on the right who believe two things about this president: He actively is trying to undermine the American way and wants to deny individuals their freedom. Do you reject those beliefs as a leader in our Congress?
REP. CANTOR: Let me tell you, David, I believe this president wants what’s best for this country. It’s just how he feels we should get there, that there are honest policy differences.
MR. GREGORY: Fair enough.
After all that, we have a grudging admission by a big-time Republican—who leads a party in which nearly one-third of its members believe Mr. Obama is a Muslim—that he thinks—thinks!—Mr. Obama is a citizen and that he “wants what’s best for this country.”
Oh, well, these Tea Party days, that counts as progress.