Chutzpah watch

CHUTZPAH WATCH…. This morning, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) declared that congressional Republicans “will say no to this health care bill.” A couple of hours later, Eric Cantor insisted that it’s incumbent upon President Obama to make a grand gesture of “bipartisanship.”

President Barack Obama must take a procedural maneuver to pass healthcare with a simple majority off the table, the second-ranking House Republican said Friday.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) urged Obama to reject using the budget reconciliation process to pass health reform, a tactic that would allow Democrats to finish health reform without any GOP support.

“If the President is sincere about moving forward in a bipartisan fashion, he must take the reconciliation process — which will be used jam through legislation that a majority of Americans do not want — off the table,” Cantor said in a statement.

First, it’s painfully obvious that Cantor isn’t “sincere about moving forward in a bipartisan fashion,” since he, just this morning, declared his opposition to a bill he has not yet seen. It takes quite a bit of chutzpah to declare opposition to legislation in the morning, and then demand accommodation in the afternoon, all the while insisting it’s the White House that needs to commit to “bipartisanship.”

Second, Cantor’s plea is itself idiotic. Before they talk about health care reform, Republicans want the president to agree in advance to give Republicans the opportunity to kill health care reform. Please.

Despite all of this, I still think there’s a way for both sides to move forward in good faith. Democrats can agree to take reconciliation off the table if Republicans agree to take a filibuster off the table. The White House, Senate leaders from both parties, and House leaders from both parties can get together and have a substantive discussion about the policy. Soon after, the House and Senate can vote on health care reform — if a majority in both chambers approve of the final bill, it goes to the White House for a signature. If a majority in either chambers disapproves, the bill dies.

That sounds fair, doesn’t it?