From Eric Cantor, criticizing the fact that President Obama hasn’t done much to develop personal relationships with House leaders:
The president could benefit himself and the country a lot by developing those relationships and understanding where conservatives are, instead of just thinking that he knows where we are.
Um….and just what would Obama learn if he did this? I mean, don’t get me wrong. Schmoozing is part of the job, and Obama should probably do more of it, whether he likes it or not. But is Cantor seriously suggesting that his positions, and the positions of the tea-party wing of the party that he leads, are even slightly nebulous? That Obama might learn about some surprising new areas of compromise if he talked to Cantor more? Seriously?
For more on this, I commend to your attention Ryan Lizza’s account of Cantor’s role in the 2011 debt ceiling fight. Based on Cantor’s own testimony to Lizza, it wasn’t really Obama’s request for more revenue that killed the deal. Regardless of the size of the revenue increase, Cantor just flatly didn’t want to reach an agreement. He didn’t want to give Obama a political win, and figured that a failed deal would hurt Obama enough that Republicans could win the presidency and then write their own bill. Behind the scenes, he persuaded Boehner to go along, and the deal was dead.
Maybe Cantor is a changed man, and he wants the chance to prove it to Obama. But what are the odds?