Cantor: “I Want What I Want When I Want It”

By Peter Galuszka

The budget drama in Washington is bringing out some disturbing character flaws, namely that of Richmond Golden Boy Eric Cantor.

Cantor, the House Majority Leader and a Main Street Republican from Henrico County, has been playing a dangerous game of chicken with Barack Obama and the Democrats over budget deals that would allow the absolutely necessary raising of the federal debt ceiling.

Yet Cantor seems so self-absorbed by his rising political clout, he’s pissing a lot of other people off, too, including, the media says, Speaker of the House John Boehner, a fellow Republican and Cantor’s senior who seems more willing to compromise, which is exactly what is needed at this point.

Cantor seems to love to play Peck’s Bad Boy. He walked out of critical meetings, saying they have to go to the Obama level. Then he declares that “Obama’s thinking is unfathomable to me.” As Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank notes, Cantor has gone so far as to adopt the Cantor snarl, in which he raises his upper lip in disgust and snaps out, “That is laughable on its face.”

Boy Wonder is working hard to play to the Tea Party crowd that had dissed him in last year’s elections as a mere toadie to the big business interests which is exactly what he is. So, our “Young Gun” is trying to out-Tea Party the Tea Party by stubornly refusing any tax hikes which will be need to resolve the budget crisis. You can’t solve the problem through cuts along. That’s like denying a dying man blood.

What we’re now getting is Young Eric, the Spoiled Little Rich Boy of Richmond who was raised in such sheltered, privileged environments as Richmond’s private Collegiate School that oozes entitlement and provincial power. Cantor has never had to face a critical media — The Richmond Times-Dispatch is in his pocket. His wife is on the board of directors of Media General.

Apparently, back when he was graduating from Collegiate, Cantor chose for his yearbook quote: “I want what I want when I want it.”

His district, Virginia and the nation deserve a lot better than this behavior. The stakes are way too high.