Politico Arena Topic: Eric Cantor Gutsy or 'Gutless' on Debt-Talk Walkout?
Will Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) be able to cut a deal with the White House and Senate Democrats without angering his base? Short answer: no way. It looks as if the House Majority Leader has thrown his fellow leader under the bus on the debt ceiling talks. The fact that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) did not consult with or inform the speaker of his intentions to withdraw from the negotiations until he went public, reveals a major rift in the House GOP leadership. Boehner and Cantor may not be exchanging holiday cards with one another this year.
If Boehner succeeds in closing a deal with Obama and the Dems, that deal will likely include elimination of some tax breaks to big oil and other special interests — something Republicans are loathe to do and the Speaker will get crucified from conservatives for this. Boehner will also face opposition from the tea party and small government crowd who are flat out against raising the debt ceiling despite the economic chaos that will likely happen if those efforts fail. And if Boehner fails to cut a deal, he’ll be blamed for that as well. He is in a box alone, courtesy of Cantor and company.
Though Republicans are calling for President Obama to get involved to jump start negotiations, this is a merely a political ploy to force the president to put some skin in the game that can be used against him in 2012. The White House would be better served to let the president concentrate on using the bully pulpit to hammer the GOP on this issue. Meanwhile, Vice President Biden can continue to hold negotiations out of public view.
In the end, all Americans should hope this game of political chicken being played ends soon. The markets don’t like uncertainty. And if it ends badly, uncertainty will reign supreme.
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