Roger L. Simon

Cantor rises as Obama falls

Many of us remember the immortal words of the late, great Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige: “and don’t look back – something might be gaining on you.” He was referring to longevity, of course, but it might as well have been political longevity, which can be considerably more fragile than even our own fragile life spans.

The “something” that might be gaining on Barack Obama these days is a fellow named Eric Cantor, the minority whip. He seems to be the most articulate spokesman for what are increasingly obvious truths – that Obama’s “stimulus” plan is a misfire or maybe worse, a drastic mistake. Cantor recently said the stimulus bill was “full of pork- barrel spending, government waste and massive borrowing cleverly called ‘stimulus.’ The plain truth is that President Obama’s economic decisions have not produced jobs, have not produced prosperity, and have not worked.”

One look around us and it’s hard to deny that. The stock market these days would seem to be agreeing with Cantor too. Meanwhile, Obama is now trying to reassure us by insisting his $787 billion stimulus bill “has worked as intended.”

Intended?! That’s sort of like saying Andy Roddick blew two sets to Roger Federer to set up Roger for the fifth. It transcends “spin” and goes into the realm of outright BS. It’s interesting to see Bloomberg picking up on the “worked as intended” meme in their lede, apparently reacting to what we might politely call its disingenuousness as well – another break in the media dikes.

As for Cantor, is the Virginia congressman the standard bearer the Republicans have been looking for? Way too early to tell obviously, but he does not seem to have the problem – let’s call it a media-emphasized information gap – that, alas, Palin has for now. But, ironically, the very accuracy of what Cantor is saying at this moment may come back to bite him in 2012. My (admittedly blind) guess is that the Republicans will come back strong in 2010, placing most of Obama’s plans (stimulus, tax, health care, etc.) in eternal gridlock. This in turn will cause the economy and the stock market to bounce back. The country will be happy again and ready to reelect Obama. Just one scenario, folks, crazy as it seems. [Isn’t that Clinton’s story, in a way?-ed. What did Harry Truman say? “If you’re looking for justice in Washington, get a dog.” That was a “friend.” Oh, right.]