House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Wednesday that current impasse isn't about "the debt limit or Obamacare specifically, but this clarifying moment of Washington dysfunction," which of course, Cantor blamed on the president.
This has the ring of the kind of goalpost shifting we saw with the Iraq war. "WMDs! We got to get them WMDs!" (no WMDs) "This was never about that! This was about bringing freedom to the Iraqi people!" (no, it wasn't). "We'll be greeted as liberators!" "Stay the course."
Naturally, Cantor blames the president for the impasse. He states, "President Barack Obama has led us here by continually thwarting the will of Congress and dismissing its role in our constitutional republic."
That invites a question: How can Cantor and the remainder of the House Leadership claim to represent "the will of Congress" yet stand against placing a so-called "clean" Continuing Resolution before the members for a vote?
If, and only if, the results of a vote allow Cantor to declare the will of the House, the Constitution supports the position he is articulating. In light of his and the rest of the leadership's stand against taking that vote (which almost certainly will show you do not represent the will of the House, let alone the Senate), it suggests that the ones "dismissing the role of Congress ... in our constitutional republic" are the Republican leaders in the House.
Might the reason for not bringing a vote to the floor for a clean Continuing Resolution be that the clean CR would pass, meaning Cantor and far right Republicans, the tea party republicans would lose? The evidence suggests the following:
- CNN's vote count: "All 200 Democrats and 18 Republicans support passing a continuing resolution with no additional legislative strings attached that would reopen the federal government, which has been partially closed for a week over a bitter policy dispute between Republicans and Democrats on health care. With two vacancies in 435 member House, 217 votes are currently the minimum needed for the measure to win approval in the House."
- ABC News' vote count: "217 members say they would support a “clean” measure to extend all government funding without other conditions attached, such as defunding or delaying the president’s health care law. 217 is the threshold needed to pass the measure."
- ABC's This Week: When presented those numbers by George Stephanopoulos, guest John Boehner dodged the question.
- President Obama: "... there are enough Republican and Democratic votes in the House of Representatives right now to end the shutdown immediately with no partisan strings attached. The House should hold that vote today,” Obama said, daring Boehner to take action.
- Fox News Poll finds disapproval of GOP skyrocketing since shutdown began
ABC's This Week: Speaker John Boehner has acknowledged that he made a deal with Mr. Reid last July
Stephanopoulos: But Mr. Speaker, he says -- and he said it publicly on many occasions, that you came to him back in July and offered to pass a clean government funding resolution, no Obamacare amendments, that was $70 billion below what the Senate wanted. They accepted it. And now, you've reneged on that offer.
Boehner: No, clearly there was a conversation about doing this.
Stephanopoulos: Several conversations.
Boehner: Several. But--
Stephanopoulos: And you offered a clean resolution.
Boehner: But I and my members decided the threat of Obamacare and what was happening was so important that it was time for us to take a stand. And we took a stand."
If the House Leadership decided this is an important enough issue to withdraw the deal it made in July and take a contrary stand, why can't they own it? But when you lack the integrity to hold yourselves responsible for articulating what changed and to clearly outline why it became that important to be worthy of risking "shutdown" and default over an issue the Supreme Court has ruled upon ... and, instead you blame the other party claiming they're unwilling to "negotiate" so it's their fault ... even though you have no credible basis for claiming to represent the actual the will of the House ... then, you're not owning your decision despite it supposedly having become that important to you.
Republicans leaders keep claiming the represent the will of the people. Yet, if, as it now appears, it's Boehner and the Republican leadership thwarting the will of the House --the most direct representation of the people in our system-- and doing so while simultaneously decrying the "game playing," can one honestly expect The People to respect Boehner's call for negotiations or for falsely blaming his opponents for your decision he won't even own?