The Disadvantage of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann

Bookmark and ShareThe debt. The deficit. The debt ceiling. Default. Social security checks. Medicare payments. Balanced Budgets. Tax increases. Gang of six. Cut, Cap and Balance. Headlines all in the past week. Headlines that, for the most part, the Republican candidates for President have been able to take a stand on without actually having to take a solid position. That is unless you are Ron Paul or Michele Bachmann, the 2 candidates who are sitting members of the House Of Representatives.

2012 GOP Presidential leader and former MA Governor Mitt Romney has stated that “The answer for the country is for the president to agree to cut federal spending, to cap federal spending and to put in place a balanced budget amendment.” “If the president were to do those things, this whole debt issue would disappear.” He has declined to say whether he would support a compromise.

Former MN Governor Tim Pawlenty said in Iowa this week, “Eventually you run out of money, but what you do is you buy yourself a bunch of time to have the debate about real reform.” A vague statement but one that allows him to offer an opinion without having to land solidly behind a plan.

Paul and Bachmann however are forced, through their House seats, to vote for or against the actual plans. They are not afforded the luxury to simply make broad statements without taking a position that the other candidates are. Both Paul and Bachmann were also among the nine House Republicans who voted Tuesday night against the ‘cut, cap and balance’ bill that would reduce 2012 spending by more than $100 billion, cap it over the next decade and prohibit more government borrowing until Congress passes a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. Harry Reid has vowed it will not pass the Senate and the President has vowed to veto it if it does.

Ron Paul said it wouldn’t live up to it’s promises, passing the cuts off for years and Bachmann said it didn’t go far enough to cut spending.

So are candidates that hold seats in Congress at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to use the rhetoric on an issue? Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was a top economic policy adviser to Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 but not aligned with any of the contenders this time around stated, “What they would like to have is the issue and that’s the difference between them and the congressional leaders. They need an issue. The congressional leaders need a result.”

We will see in the coming days and months leading up to the Iowa caucus if the other candidates try to pull the votes of Paul and Bachmann into the fray. While the other candidates can rely on rhetoric and easily take the stance that the polls dictate are popular, sitting members of Congress have to take a solid stand on the bills before them. A disadvantage for sure in a large candidate field with a mere 2 current legislators in it’s ranks.

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Is Eric Cantor Out Leading The Leaders?

Bookmark and ShareAs debt ceiling talks heat up I have been asking myself, “Self, who is leading the charge with the conservative message?” Speaker of the House John Boehner certainly has been spending a lot of time with the President. What he has been doing however is not making public those discussions. Do Republicans want secret meetings behind closed doors with President Obama? Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has kept mostly silent until recently when he laid out a plan that led most of his own party to question his sanity if only temporarily. Most of the 2012 candidates have weighed in as well with the line mostly being that those in Congress need to stand firm against tax increases but few have laid out actual plans of their own. The leader that has emerged in the debt ceiling talks has beenHouse majority leader Eric Cantor.

As Speaker Boehner and minority leader McConnell play nice with the White House in trying to reach an agreement, House majority leader Cantor has been outspoken and brash in, as the President himself stated, “calling his bluff.” Far from being politically correct Cantor has emerged as the voice of the GOP during the debt ceiling debate. One reason is his seemingly fearless disposition for going straight to the media after each and every closed door meeting at the White House. Whether the other leaders in the GOP like it or not, Eric Cantor has become the voice the public hears when they want to know what happened during the closed door discussions with the most ‘transparent’ administration ever. When McConnell unveiled his plan Cantor was the first face on the tv screen rejecting it followed by almost the entire Republican party. To the casual observer, who looked like he was in control? It wasn’t Mitch McConnell.

His un-PC ways have made him the poster child for the media in trying to paint the GOP as being, in the words of Senate majority leader Harry Reid “childish’. But in a political environment in which the GOP has come to rely on the votes of the TEA party followers to put them over the top, Cantor’s attitude may be what they need to pull in the support for their debt plans, whatever they may be. The TEA party followers are fed up with the spending and dead set against any tax hikes. They don’t trust the establishment and Cantor is positioning himself as the anti-establishment guy in these talks. Balking at the establishment by making public every thing that is happening during the discussions at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He is also incurring the wrath of the major Democrat players including the big kahuna himself, President Obama.

Depending upon which version you believe, Obama either stormed out of the talks upset at Cantor’s stubbornness and constant interrupting every time tax increases were brought up or he dressed down the House majority leader and left. Knowing President Obama’s famously thin skin and Cantor’s increasing lack of fear of the bully pulpit, I tend to believe that Eric Cantor “called the bluff”.

As a libertarian leaning fiscal conservative I don’t agree with Eric Cantor all of the time. I do however recognize and appreciate leadership when it comes from unlikely places. Although he won’t run for the White House in 2012 (can you say VP pick?) let me be the first to say, before Anthony begins work on White House 2016 should Obama be re-elected, that Eric Cantor would be one of the 1st names I would toss in the ring.

If Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer dislike you…….you’re ok with me.

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