Eric Cantor Is Almost Being Honest

by Jonathan Chait | January 14, 2010

Politico has the House GOP plan:

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, one of 10 leaders who attended a strategy session in Annapolis, Md., this week, said the party will attack Democrats relentlessly for the stimulus, health care and cap-and-trade bills. Internally, Republicans call it the “80-20 strategy,” which, loosely interpreted, means spending 80 percent of the time whacking Democrats and the remainder talking up their own ideas.

Cantor said he is more confident than ever this gives Republicans an authentic chance of netting the 40 seats they need, especially after reviewing data provided by five GOP pollsters during the leadership retreat. It showed what other public surveys reveal: widespread unease with Democratic policies.

Cantor conceded that the public is far from thrilled with the GOP — in fact, the party’s image is worse than the Democrats’ — but he argues that Republicans will benefit most from the public loathing of Washington.

So, Cantor understands that people don't like his party, but they can possibly gain control of the House if they can avoid discussing their ideas. At which point, of course, they'll immediately claim a mandate to implement those ideas. I think this could work.

Now, about those positive ideas that will account for the other 20 percent, they come up at the end of the article:

It won’t be an entirely nasty campaign — at least 20 percent of it. So after Labor Day, the GOP is leaning toward releasing a document — “a 21st-century blueprint,” Cantor calls it — that would echo the party’s successful “Contract With America” of 1994. 

Cantor says it would start with jobs, then go on to promising a level playing field for investments. Aides say it would be more general than the bill-by-bill roster of the “Contract,” instead focusing on vaguer principles. Tax cuts will be included, too.

Okay, so for ideas, we've got... tax cuts. Plus "a level playing field for investments," which is vague but sounds to me like a euphemism for more tax cuts. I'm thinking that 80-20 is going to end up more like 99-1.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/jonathan-chait/eric-cantor-almost-being-honest