Majority Leader Cantor sees win-win as a loss
The Kansas City Star
As Michigan State football coach Duffy Daugherty once said in a game against Notre Dame: “A tie game is like kissing your sister.” In a 60-Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl, House Leader Eric Cantor expressed the same sentiment. Cantor rejected the word “compromise” in favor of “cooperation.” He said that he would never compromise his principles.
Cantor’s idea of cooperation is allowing parts of the GOP wish list to be packaged into separate bills as long as no significant item from President Obama’s wish list is included. Cantor explained that it was okay to pass the GOP agenda in stages.
Cantor is just one of those guys you meet from time to time who rejects win-win as just another name for loss.
If one had to identify the key person most responsible for our dysfunctional Congress, it would have to be Representative Cantor. Cantor planted a pre-Christmas political “bomb” for President Obama by pressuring House Speaker John A. Boehner to reject the bill to extend the payroll tax cut for two months after it had been approved by the Senate in an overwhelming 89 to 10 compromise. Cantor continues to insist on pursuing his winner-take-all strategy even after the political “bomb” he planted for Obama blew up in his own face when the House approved the Senate bill at the last minute.
Our representatives in Congress are not putting in a full day’s work if all they are doing is just cheering for the “home” team and denigrating the “opposition” before heading off to play golf with the lobbyists. They need to forget party allegiance and evaluate each part of each piece of legislation on its own merits. It is a lot more work that takes a lot more mental energy, but that is precisely what we have sent them to Washington to do.
The fundamental problem with Congress is the two-party system. At some point we are going to have to face the fact that our two-party system is inherently dysfunctional.
Several steps need to be taken. For starters, party designation should be dropped from all election ballots. If you don’t know anything about a candidate other than their party designation, you shouldn’t vote for them. In addition, seats in Congress should be randomly assigned and not assigned on the basis of party affiliation. Congressional committee chairs should be selected either by merit (ideally) or seniority (more realistically) but not by party affiliation. You may have some even better ideas to add to this list.
The important thing is to get our representatives in Washington to stop playing party politics and start focusing on the problems we sent them there to fix.