The fiscal cliff deal is a humiliating defeat for the Republican party and the American people. There is no other way to look at it. It’s done, and now is the time to regroup. If they play their cards properly, they can go from being the goats to being the good guys in a matter of two months.
First and foremost, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor needs to challenge John Boehner for the Speaker’s seat on Thursday. He has been playing the proper role of publicly supporting Boehner through the crisis and supporting “Plan B” before Christmas, but now that the deal is done with his vote against registered opposed, it’s time for him to step up and unite the party under a more conservative stance. Time is short. This is far from the end of the troubles. This deal simply prolongs negotiations for a couple of months and minimizes the tax impact on the middle class.
Regardless of whether it’s Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, or Boehner, the iron is hot to turn around the public perception mess that the GOP has created for itself since the election. They need to unite, conservatives and moderates, under a single powerful message to the effect of this:
“We did what was necessary to protect the middle class. Now we must do what’s necessary to protect the country, and that’s a dramatic reduction in spending.”
It hurts the party tremendously when they couldn’t pass Plan B, a measure that was less crushing than the plan that just passed. Despite support from Cantor, Boehner was unable to pull it off because he could not convince his party of the reality of what would happen if they didn’t vote for and pass it. That is a failure to lead. It demonstrates an inability to properly communicate the consequences to the conservatives in his party and the result was worse than they could have anticipated. They painted themselves into a corner and Boehner did not have the skills necessary to get themselves out of it.
Eric Cantor would. In the long term, the party must find its conservative strength and form a drastic, impenetrable line to keep the President and the Senate from destroying the economy. Eric Cantor may or may not be that person long term, but today and for the next two years he is best-positioned ideologically and within the party hierarchy to prevent further damage and point us in a path towards recovery.
- Could A Boehner-Cantor Rift Send The Country Over The Fiscal Cliff? (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Prominent Republicans Displeased Over Fiscal Cliff Deal (huffingtonpost.com)
- Cantor Doesn’t Support Cliff Deal (newser.com)
- House Moves On Fiscal Cliff (huffingtonpost.com)
- Eric Cantor: I won’t support fiscal cliff deal (salon.com)