Multiple Reports Wonder If Cantor—Who Bolted Biden Talks Just Last Month—Has Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew
GOP Leader ‘Floundering’ … Has Discovered ‘Tea Party Purism Doesn’t Work At Negotiating Table’… ‘Thinks Way to Win This Haggling Session Is By Walking Out’
After Blocking Grand Bargain, Cantor Has Emerged as Lead Negotiator For GOP In Debt Talks.
LA Times: “Cantor and The Political Right Seem To Be Dictating the Course of Talks.” “Their pressure forced Boehner over the weekend to abandon his support for doing ‘something big’ on the federal budget, and cast Cantor as the champion of the conservative flank.” [LA Times, 7/12/11]
Politico: Cantor “Owns the GOP’s Spotlight in the Debt-Limit Talks.” “For better or worse, Cantor owns the GOP’s spotlight in the debt-limit talks now that Boehner’s effort to fashion a groundbreaking ‘grand bargain’ has fallen apart. It was Cantor who walked out on a commission led by Vice President Joe Biden when the topic of tax hikes was raised. And now Cantor is back in the driver’s seat because the talks have turned away from the big-dollar package that President Barack Obama and Boehner were negotiating and toward a smaller framework of spending cuts produced by the Biden talks.” [Politico, 7/12/11]
Boehner Letting Cantor Take the Lead in Debt Limit Negotiations. “Boehner … has left the talking to Cantor….Boehner hardly said a word in the meeting. His stance seems to be: if Cantor didn’t like the grand bargain, he’s welcome to negotiate one on his own. Republicans left the meeting noticeably subdued. Few had anything they wanted to say about it.” [Time, 7/12/11]
He’s Been In This Role Before …
Roll Call: ‘Cantor Seeks To Deliver.’ Reporting on last month’s round of talks, Roll Call said, “Cantor has a lot at stake in the negotiations, given his role as House Republicans’ conservative standard-bearer in talks led by Vice President Joseph Biden.” [Roll Call, 6/6/11]
… But It Didn’t Work Out So Well.
New York Times: ‘Budget Talks Near Collapse As GOP Leader Quits.’ “The breakdown was set off by the surprise decision of Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader and one of two Republicans participating in sessions led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., to quit the negotiations.” [NY Times, 6/23/11]
Washington Post: Cantor’s Strategy is “Walking Out” of Negotiations. “Cantor (R-Va.) thinks the way to win this haggling session — one of Washington’s most important in years — is by walking out of it. [Washington Post, 7/12/11]
Reports Ask: Is Cantor In Over His Head?
TIME: ‘Cantor may have just jumped from the frying pan of Biden’s debt talks and into the fire of Obama’s.’ Cantor “has little experience hammering out legislative deals — particularly at this level. He wanted a smaller deal, and now Boehner’s sitting back and watching silently as Cantor flounders. A deal without at least some symbolic revenue increases, even if they’re offset with an Alternative Minimum Tax or another fix, cannot pass the Senate. Cantor is quickly learning that the purism that plays with the freshmen doesn’t work in the Oval Office. It will be interesting to see how long he lasts as the loudest negotiator, especially if the markets start to freak out. [Time 7/12/11]
LA Times: ‘Cantor’s ascent puts him at a risky crossroads.’ “At some point, an agreement on the deficit-reduction package will pose questions about his influence: Did his hard-line stance help or hurt Republican goals? And will the “tea party” activists he courted revolt if he supports a compromise?” [LA Times, 7/12/11]