Eric Cantor Vs. Steve Schmidt On The Bailout

John McCain’s chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, encapsulates everything that’s wrong with the GOP in this one excerpt from his interview with The Daily Beast,

The moment that I will look back at as the moment deep in my gut that I knew, was September 29, when I was flying on a plane with Governor Palin to Sedona for debate prep, watching the split screen on the TVs, because she had a JetBlue charter, and it showed the stock market down seven, eight hundred points; it showed the Congress voting down the bailout package on the other side, and then, House Republicans went out and told the world that the reason that they voted against this legislation, allowed the stock market to crash, allowed the economy to be so injured, was because Nancy Pelosi had given a mean and partisan speech on the floor. And this was their response. And I just viewed it as beyond devastating, and thought that at that moment running with an “R” next to your name, in this year, was probably lethal. But we kept fighting. John McCain never quit…And, you know, for, for my part I had expected that election night, that it would be a pretty early night.

See? It wasn’t John McCain’s fault for “suspending his campaign,” flying back to D.C., and destroying all of his credibility on fiscal issues by signing onto a socialistic, $700 billion bailout plan that didn’t work, was unpopular with the public, was really unpopular with his base, and was drawing phone calls 100-to-1 against it on Capitol Hill.

In reality, it was those darn House Republicans who gave a lame excuse for failing to roll over immediately on a horrible idea that ran counter to everything the GOP is supposed to stand for. If only those guys had capitulated more quickly, why John McCain would have rode the bailout on to victory!

It’s interesting to compare Steve Schmidt’s reaction to that of Eric Cantor, one of the people who pushed the bailout, complained about Nancy Pelosi, and is now running for a leadership position,

On the call, according to another member, Cantor apologized for the two economic bailout votes that were forced on some Republicans after the initial vote failed to gain passage. “He said the bailout bill and the votes were a mistake,” a third member said. “He was apologetic about it, which was no big deal to me, I didn’t vote for it. I thought he was wrong. I wish he’d call the folks who are losing right now. That’s what a leader would do.”

My respect level for Cantor dropped a couple of notches after he pushed the bailout bill and whinged that Nancy Pelosi’s mean speech about Republicans had caused it to fail. It was pitiful and honestly, after that performance, he doesn’t deserve a House Leadership spot (Actually, no one who voted for the bailout in the House or Senate deserves a leadership spot except Tom Coburn. He has done so much that I have to give him a pass).

That being said, if Cantor does get the Whip position, at least we know he’s smart enough to have learned from his mistake. That suggests that maybe there might be some hope for him as a conservative leader.

Can we say the same about John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the Republican senators who apparently still think the bailout was a great idea?

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