Cantor says no

Via here, it seems the Eric Cantor was the reason there was no grand bargain (by the way, I’m glad there was no grand bargain) and why there is now the sequester:

Cantor was one of the most influential political forces in Obama’s first term.  In June of 2011, the President and the Speaker began working toward a Grand  Bargain of major tax increases and spending cuts to address the government’s  long-term budget deficits. Until late June, Boehner had managed to keep these  talks secret from Cantor. On July 21st, Boehner paused in his discussions with  Obama to talk to Cantor and outline the proposed deal. As Obama waited by the  phone for a response from the Speaker, Cantor struck. Cantor told me that it was  a “fair assessment” that he talked Boehner out of accepting Obama’s deal. He  said he told Boehner that it would be better, instead, to take the issues of  taxes and spending to the voters and “have it out” with the Democrats in the  election. Why give Obama an enormous political victory, and potentially help him  win reëlection, when they might be able to negotiate a more favorable deal with  a new Republican President? Boehner told Obama there was no deal. Instead of a  Grand Bargain, Cantor and the House Republicans made a grand bet.

They lost the bet, in other words voters liked Obama’s positions more than Republicans. This caused some soul-searching:

Cantor had been struck by one presentation at the retreat. Patrick Doyle, the  president and C.E.O. of Domino’s, had given a talk called “Turning It Around,” in which he explained that he revived the failing company after conducting  extensive research that led him to conclude that Domino’s pizza was terrible.  But Cantor seemed more interested in Doyle’s sales advice than in his point  about his product.

“There was a discussion about features and benefits,” he said. “Marketing  101, right? If you’re selling detergent and you put a new blue dot in a  detergent block, that’s a feature. But the benefit is it gets your clothes  cleaned.” He paused to let the lesson sink in.

Republicans wondered if they would have to shift their policies or just have better marketing. I wonder on which side Cantor falls:

Since the 2012 elections, the Republicans have been divided between those who  believe their policies are the problem and those who believe they just need  better marketing—between those who believe they need to make better pizza and  those who think they just need a more attractive box. Cantor, who is known among  his colleagues as someone with strategic intelligence and a knack for political  positioning, argues that it’s the box.

So, to summarize, Cantor stopped the grand bargain because he thought they would be able to get a better deal after the election (and because he didn’t want to do anything that might help Obama) then when he lost the bet (a majority of voters voted for Democrats for President, in the Senate races, and in the House races) he still thinks he should be able to get a better deal and the only problem is marketing. This isn’t going to be fun.

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