Eric Cantor, waiting by the phone

ERIC CANTOR, WAITING BY THE PHONE…. Congressional Republican leaders are apparently feeling left out of the health care reform process. Imagine that.

President Obama has cut off communication with Republican leaders, going more than four months without hosting the bipartisan congressional leadership at the White House to discuss his health care proposal, the No. 2 Republican in the House said Wednesday.

Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, told The Washington Times that health care reform has been an “utter disaster” for Mr. Obama and predicted if he pushes through a public option as part of a final bill, Republicans will win back at least one chamber of Congress in the 2010 elections.

Mr. Cantor said Mr. Obama initially asked for Republican help on health care, but Republicans have heard nothing since they offered their ideas.

“No matter what the cry is from the White House, no matter what the president claims, they have not engaged with us,” he said. “The White House at this point has shut down, as far as any kind of engagement.”

I’m delighted to hear that; it was a pointless exercise anyway.

In April, President Obama met with GOP leaders in the White House, and started talking about the kind of concessions he was prepared to make as part of a bipartisan compromise. He asked what Republicans might be willing to do in return. They offered literally nothing. Soon after, GOP leaders “guaranteed” they would offer an alternative reform bill. Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration is still waiting for it.

Since those meetings in the Spring, Cantor and other leading Republicans have trashed reform, lied to the public, whipped up angry mobs, and done everything possible to derail the larger effort. Yesterday, the Senate Republican leader said plainly that no matter how many concessions Democrats made, the GOP would still oppose health care reform.

The president has “shut down” any “engagement” with Cantor and his cohorts? Why would anyone find this surprising?

As for the notion that a public option would cost congressional Democrats their majority in at least one chamber, does Cantor realize the public option enjoys pretty broad support, and the notion of public-private competition isn’t nearly as scary to the American mainstream as it is to the Republican caucus?