Cantor the Wonk vs. Back Slappin’ Boehner


Ezra Klein wonders if Politico’s description of House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) as a “wonk” makes sense:

But maybe I’m missing something on Cantor and my readers can enlighten me. Is he known for mastery of a particular issue? Does he have some really smart policy initiatives that he’s promoting in the House? What’s the deal here?

via Ezra Klein – Is Eric Cantor a policy wonk?.

Prior to Ezra’s musings, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough came right out and said he heard from all his Republican friends on the hill that House Majority Leader John Boehner is known to be “lazy” and then he attempted to force Politico’s Jim Vandehei to admit he’s heard the same about Boehner from GOPers on Capital Hill as well. Vandehei demures and instead claims that the younger members of the GOP caucus just don’t feel Boehner’s ideas are fresh enough. Watch Vandehei awkwardly dance around Scarborough’s assertions:

What I am getting at, is that Ezra is missing the story here. I think the Cantor folks are pulling the knives out for Boehner and are using third party anecdotal validation (through Vandehei’s Politico and MSNBC’s Scarborough) to do it.This whole Cantor the Wonk being held back by “back slappin’ beer guzzlin’ bronzed up” Boehner (R-OH) theme seems to be the Cantor camp preparing for what they see as a good chance to force a shake up in their caucus leadership: the 2010 midterm elections. If Cantor’s camp projects that the GOP remains the minority party in the house, then they are most likely purposely crafting this image of Cantor the Wonk (a la maverick McCain or Cowboy/Successful MBA Bush) in anticipation of those elections. We may begin to hear more about how the GOP sees Cantor as a serious, wonky, young-ish, change agent and it’s all for Cantor to make his case for ascension to the Leadership position.

If November brings a failed attempt by the Republicans to take over the Pelosi house, Cantor the Wonk can then make the case that the reason Pelosi is still in power, even though America hates her and her dirty health care, is that Lazy Boehner did not work hard enough. If the GOP does take over the House, then Cantor is the guy that made it happen with his tireless wonkiness as Boehner was probably back slappin’ and beer guzzlin’ at the tanning salon.

The question really being: if Boehner was seen as such a party animal by his fellow GOPers, why was he in leadership in the first place? It will be interesting to see what develops.