Friday, February 19, 2010


Sargent: GOP Rep Mike Pence: We’re The Party Of No, And Proud Of It

GOP Rep Mike Pence, the number three in the House GOP leadership, will say the following in his speech to CPAC later this morning, according to excerpts:

“Some folks like to call us the party of ‘no.’ Well, I say ‘No’ is way underrated in Washington, D.C. Sometimes ‘No’ is just what this town needs to hear.

“When it comes to more borrowing, the answer is No. When it comes to more spending, the answer is No. When it comes to more bailouts, the answer is No. And when it comes to a government takeover of health care, the answer is No.

“Conservative Republicans are back. We’re in the fight for fiscal discipline and limited government, and we are on the side of the American people.”

What’s unclear is why this kind of stuff from Pence doesn’t make Dem leaders more resolved to pursue reconciliation, or even to give serious consideration to filibuster reform. After all, Pence couldn’t be clearer: The GOP leadership is going to say No to the Dem agenda, and to continue to do everything they can to stop it. As of yet there’s nothing that they appear willing to say Yes to, beyond their own proposals.

And that’s fine! The GOP is the oppostion party. They’re supposed to try to halt an agenda they disagree with. But like it or not, the public will place more blame on the majority party for the paralysis gripping D.C., even if GOP leaders stand atop the Capitol and loudly proclaim “No” to everything Dems propose every day from now until Election Day 2010. As Pence is basically doing here.

Frumin (TPM): Cantor: 'We Will Say No To The Health Care Bill'

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) isn't exactly laying the foundation for the bipartisan part of next week's bipartisan health care summit at the White House.

At CPAC this morning, Cantor declared that "we will say no to this health care bill because no is what the American people want."

Asked moments earlier about what might be "up the sleeves" of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Cantor said, "Lord only knows what's up their sleeves."

Cantor said Democratic health bills are predicated on "back-door dealing" and declared that "these bills are ultimately designed to lead this country to a single-payer system, something that the American people reject."

We Republicans will go to the president and insist that he push the reset button and get serious about offering Americans a positive reform agenda.
When President Obama invited congressional Republicans to participate in a bipartisan summit on health care reform, he asked GOP officials to do a couple of things.

The president, for example, urged Republicans to craft their own plan, which could be talked about at the event, and from which good ideas could be drawn. In response, GOP leaders replied that there will be no Republican plan.

Obama also encouraged Republican leaders to come to the table with a constructive attitude, with hopes of finding common ground and a genuine interest in solving an obvious problem. That's not going to happen, either.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) isn't exactly laying the foundation for the bipartisan part of next week's bipartisan health care summit at the White House.

At CPAC this morning, Cantor declared that "we will say no to this health care bill because no is what the American people want."

Well, the American people want a public option, too, but I suppose polls only matter when the public supports the already agreed upon position.

Nevertheless, Cantor's remarks couldn't have been clearer. Less than a week before the summit begins, and several days before Cantor even sees the White House plan, he's declared that Republicans "will say no" -- regardless of what's in it, regardless of what compromises the president is prepared to make.

Hari Sevugan, a spokesperson for the DNC, issued a statement soon after Cantor made his remarks.

"While Eric Cantor and his Republican colleagues have for months repeatedly charged that the President is shutting them out of the process, today's comments clearly demonstrate that Republicans are interested only in politicizing the debate and have no intention in working together on reform that makes health care more stable and affordable.

"We hope other Republican Congressional leaders will rebuke and disavow Mr. Cantor's comments and pledge to work in a truly bipartisan manner. The American people deserve no less."

Yglesias: Hank Paulson on Cantor

I’m struck by how little attention has been given to the tough hits dished out by Bush administration Treasury Secretary Hank Pauslon to various prominent congressional Republicans, including golden boy Eric Cantor.

Newsweek summary:

Meetings with Senate Republicans were “a complete waste of time for us, when time was more precious than anything” (page 275). Ideas that Republicans do add are “unformed,” like Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor’s plan to replace TARP with an insurance program. In a rare moment of sarcasm, Paulson goes off on the minority Whip: “I got a better idea. I’m going to go with Eric Cantor’s insurance program. That’s the idea to save the day” (page 285).

Politico, reflecting its usual shallowness, remarks:

But Republicans may have the last laugh: TARP is, arguably, the most unpopular federal program in recent memory — and voters seem poised to punish Democrats for passing it, even if Republicans like Cantor eventually signed off.

Well hardy-har-har. Some of us, though, are less interesting in the timing of who laughs when than in the formulation of national policy. The fact that Cantor had an approach to a severe economic crisis that attracted nothing but derision from his same-party Secretary of the Treasury seems noteworthy to me. The national press has, however, done an absolutely horrible job of putting conservative TARP-bashing in appropriate context as a program deemed necessary by all the leading officials in a very conservative administration to avert a Depression. If this stuff is just hypocrisy, that’s bad and noteworthy. But Paulson’s message seems to be that it’s not just hypocrisy, but rather genuinely frightening cluelessness.

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