THE PHRASE CANTOR IS LOOKING FOR IS, ‘THANK YOU’…. Listening to House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) talk about economic policy is a terribly frustrating experience. The poor guy is not the brightest light in the harbor, if you know what I mean, and his uninterrupted record — Cantor has been wrong about every major economic question over the course of his career — is more than a little humiliating.
This week, Cantor hosted a job fair, during which he trashed the economic recovery efforts as an “utter failure.” It’s one of those attacks that’s idiotic for a variety reasons — we know the stimulus rescued the economy from the abyss; we know Cantor’s alternative proposal (five-year spending freeze at the height of the crisis) was hopelessly insane and would have made things much worse; and we know the stimulus was needed to fix a crisis Cantor and his cohorts were responsible for creating in the first place.
But in this specific case, there’s another problem with Cantor’s nonsense, and it’s an ironic one.
Nearly half of the 30 organizations participating in a job fair Cantor is holding Monday in Culpeper were recipients of the stimulus.
The list includes a slew of government agencies and schools that have directly benefited from the package and may be using stimulus money to hire people (as the money was originally designed to do), including the Orange County public schools, the Transportation Security Administration and Virginia Department of Labor, and some companies that may have indirectly benefited such as Comcast and Terremark.
In other words, the job fair at which Cantor trashed the stimulus wouldn’t have been possible were it not for the stimulus.
If this seems vaguely familiar, it’s because Cantor has run into this problem before. In April, the Minority Whip heralded a high-speed rail project in his district, made possible by the stimulus package. Just two months prior, Cantor fought tooth and nail to prevent that project from existing, and specifically mocked government funding on high-speed rail.
“The continuing hypocrisy from Republican leaders, like Eric Cantor, who try to block solutions in Washington and then take credit for them back home, is reaching epidemic proportions,” the DCCC’s Jesse Ferguson said. “If Representative Cantor’s ‘Party of No’ policies were in effect, this event would have been an unemployment fair not a jobs fair.”
The truth is, Cantor’s nonsense is just unnecessary. Cantor was wrong, again, and it’s obvious to anyone who’s paid any attention. I’m sure the White House has no interest in rubbing it in. Ideally, Cantor would simply acknowledge that President Obama rescued the economy, and it was the White House that took steps to help recovery efforts in Cantor’s district. The phrase Cantor is looking for isn’t “utter failure”; it’s “Thank you, Mr. President.”
There are a handful of lawmakers who’ve developed an unearned reputation for intelligence, despite evidence of striking confusion and ignorance. Eric Cantor is at the top of the list.