Rep. Cantor's Insanely Dishonest Take On Compromise

July 13, 2011 1:34 pm ET — Kate Conway

Rep. Eric Cantor

Negotiations to prevent a default crisis are snagging on Republicans' unwillingness to seriously consider the numerous concessions Democrats have offered, including politically painful cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Yesterday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) gave some insight into the mentality that's fueling the GOP's inability to compromise when he suggested that cuts to social welfare programs should be decoupled from the debt ceiling negotiations because "we both agree on entitlements." Via Politico Pro:

"We both agree on doing something that's good for the country, which is dealing with entitlements," the Virginia Republican said after a nearly two-hour meeting at the White House on Tuesday. "Why don't we just do that? Why do we have to sit here and say we still got to raise taxes when we don't agree on that? We both agree on entitlements, and in fact, we would both agree on what the president's prescription for entitlement reform is."

Only someone as disingenuous as Cantor could say without a hint of irony that the president's offer to give something up as he tries to broker compromise with the GOP is the same as an agreement to do so with no strings attached. The thing that both sides do agree on (with the exception of some of the most extreme Republicans), and the premise of these negotiations, is that the "debt limit must be raised" in order to stave off the catastrophic consequences of default. So, as Cantor puts it, "why don't we just do that?"

Because the GOP's real priorities aren't reaching an agreement for the good of the country. In May, the House GOP voted down a clean debt limit increase, preferring to hold the country's credibility hostage in an attempt to wring steep spending cuts out of Democratic lawmakers who are genuinely invested in avoiding default.