Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Next Time You Visit DC, You Might Want To Spend A Moment Or Two Looking For Eric Cantor's "Solutions Center"-- Or Maybe Not


Dr No wants to be thought of as the Solutions Lady

Eric Cantor (R-VA), who along with Paul Ryan (R-WI), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and the new and improved Mark Foley Adam Schock (R-IL), are supposedly the future of the post-Bush Republican Party, is opening a Solutions Center. Cantor was first elected to Congress in 2000, Bush's first year, and his voting record between then and now clearly shows exactly what kind of "solutions" he has in mind. Cantor was an unswerving rubber stamp for Bush and Cheney-- a deregulating fanatic, a firm believer in tax breaks for the very rich with a burden shifted to the middle class, a servant of the vested interests, particularly from the finance/insurance/real estate sector, which financed his political career, a devotee to greed, selfishness and the Law of the Jungle, and someone who always pushed shrinking and weakening government so that the wealthiest and most powerful will have advantages over everyone else-- which flies in the face of what most Americans see as the role of government.
Although an expansive federal government hasn't had a defender in the White House for nearly a half-century-- since Lyndon Johnson and his Great Society program-- most Americans in a nationwide USA Today/Gallup Poll approve of President Obama and the government's latest assertiveness.

Cantor and his cronies are among the architects of the Republican policy of mindless, unyielding obstructionism to all of President Obama's proposals to lift the country out of the economic morass that 8 years of Bush and Cantor policies have brought this country. He is widely known as "Dr. No" and even in his prohibitively red Virginia district (PVI R+9, slightly less than last year's R+11), he's starting to get nervous that his reputation as an obstructionist could damage his long-term survival chances. McCain won the district with 53%, a huge drop from Bush's 61%.

Yesterday Politico reported that his "Solutions Center" is supposed to persuade people who just arrived on earth that Cantor and the party he helps lead have a plan, although 75% of Americans correctly say Republicans in Congress have no plan except to obstruct Obama and hope that he fails so they can regain power. Even Cantor acknowledges that he and his cronies "need to work to make sure the message gets out" and that "the message has not yet been delivered but we’ll continue to work at that.”

Meanwhile, President Obama just moves ahead with a sweeping agenda to change a flawed and dysfunctional system left in place by Bush and Republican congressmen like Canter. Yesterday he addressed the country again, explaining "why he wants not only to revive the sagging economy but to virtually reinvent it with sweeping changes in health care, energy and education. Without deeper reform, he argued, the economy would only topple again later." The Republicans took 8 years-- or really much longer (28 years) if you include both Bushs, Reagan and a very Republican-like Clinton-- to destroy the middle class. Obama has been working on fixing it for all of 12 weeks now.
Skeptics, including some in his own party, have questioned whether it makes sense for Mr. Obama to focus on expanding health care coverage, curbing greenhouse gases and other priorities when jobs continue to disappear at a dizzying rate, the banking sector remains in limbo, the auto industry is hanging over the precipice and the federal budget deficit is soaring.

Mr. Obama used the address to link those disparate issues and present an integrated vision for the future of American capitalism when the recession eventually ends. He defended himself against those who accuse him of bankrupting the nation and those who argue that he should be more aggressive about taking over banks and spending even more money.

“I know there’s a criticism out there that my administration has been spending with reckless abandon, pushing a liberal social agenda while mortgaging our children’s future,” Mr. Obama said. But he rejected that characterization and said it was time to make difficult decisions. “There’s been a tendency to spend a lot of time scoring political points instead of rolling up sleeves to solve real problems.”

The response from the GOP was predictable. Boehner: “Talk is cheap in Washington, so the question to the administration continues to be: what’s the plan, and if we should ‘get serious’ about it, why did you choose to ignore entitlement reform in your budget?” Boehner is attending a loony teabagger party with right-wing fanatic Kevin McCarthy in Bakersfield today. He voted for every single deregulation that has ever come his way, for every single unfair trade bill that has shipped millions of American jobs overseas, for every single tax break for millionaires and billionaires-- and, of course, against the biggest tax break for the middle class in American history. If you're in Bakersfield, invite him to have some strong tea. Cantor is in hiding today.

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