Rumors have been floating around lately that Rep. Eric Cantor is looking to oust John Boehner as Speaker after the next election. Cantor put the truth to those rumors yesterday.
President Obama called Cantor to wish him a happy Passover and the topic of immigration reform came up. Here is Cantor’s take on the conversation:
“Today, President Obama called me to discuss his desire for comprehensive immigration reform. The President called me hours after he issued a partisan statement which attacked me and my fellow House Republicans and which indicated no sincere desire to work together. After five years, President Obama still has not learned how to effectively work with Congress to get things done. You do not attack the very people you hope to engage in a serious dialogue. I told the President the same thing I told him the last time we spoke. House Republicans do not support Senate Democrat’s immigration bill and amnesty efforts, and it will not be considered in the House. I also reiterated to the President there are other issues where we can find common ground, build trust and get America working again. I hope the President can stop his partisan messaging, and begin to seriously work with Congress to address the issues facing working middle class Americans that are struggling to make ends meet in this economy.”
This is what Cantor considers an “attack” by the President:
“Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform,” Obama said. “Instead of advancing commonsense reform and working to fix our immigration system, House Republicans have voted in favor of extreme measures like a punitive amendment to strip protections from ‘Dreamers.’ “
The White House was a bit taken aback by Cantor’s diatribe, saying the call was not contentious. Maybe Cantor just has a delicate constitution.
What Cantor is doing is positioning himself to win the support of the far-right extremists in a battle for the Speaker’s chair. The extremists believe that Boehner does not have the backbone to stand up for conservative principles (Translation: Boehner won’t go on fool’s errands in order to win votes from the Teabaggers. He’ll only look like he is.). Not only did Cantor make himself look like a big man for standing up to the big meany, President Obama, but also directly contradicted Boehner. Boehner said that he agreed with the President on the need for immigration reform. Cantor said the House will not consider it. Let’s see if Boehner can regain control when he returns from his overseas junket.