Cantor’s idea of ‘mainstream’

CANTOR’S IDEA OF ‘MAINSTREAM’…. House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) uses a lot of words he doesn’t really understand. The latest is “mainstream.”

Cantor chatted yesterday with the CNN editorial board and addressed the idea of the congressional majority passing health care reform on an up-or-down vote. (via Matt Finkelstein)

“If they use … the reconciliation option, it would necessarily mean that a bill proceeding under those rules is not a bill representing the mainstream of this country,” Cantor said, adding such a move would make it harder for Obama to make further progress.

I see. Barack Obama ran for president, and health care reform was the signature domestic issue of his agenda. He won 365 electoral votes. Congressional Democrats made health care reform their signature domestic issue, and they too won large majorities in the last election.

Now, if a reform bill wins the support of a majority of the House and a majority of the Senate, Cantor believes it’s outside the “mainstream of this country” unless it has 60 votes to overcome Republican obstructionism.

I don’t know what Cantor means by “mainstream,” but if most of Congress, representing most of the country, supports a bill that was debated at length in the last election, it seems difficult to get more “mainstream” than that.

For that matter, reconciliation has been applied to everything from health insurance portability (COBRA) to nursing home standards, Medicaid eligibility to the EITC, welfare reform to S-CHIP, tax cuts to student loans. Does Cantor consider these issues outside the “mainstream of this country,” too?

Cantor added that President Obama “was elected to bring people together, to bring a divided nation back together.” Well, maybe, or perhaps he was elected to enact a policy agenda he took two years to present to the country. Meanwhile, what is Cantor doing to “bring a divided nation back together”? Other than running a scorched-earth campaign against anything deemed unhelpful to the failed and discredited Republican Party?