07/12/2011 05:43 pm ET Updated Sep 11, 2011

Crazy Like a GOP Fox: Eric Cantor and the Current Crisis

President Obama needs to get Eric Cantor out on a golf course -- and bury him up to his chin in a sand trap.

When Eric Cantor stands shoulder-to-shoulder with John Boehner, you can hardly see the knife!

Are Obama and Boehner this generation's Reagan and Gorbachev, grasping for the kind of super-sized deal that scares the living daylights out of everybody else?

* * *

You'll forgive me if I sound a bit cranky today. Aggressive, even. I'm just trying to get with the program, and aren't "cranky" and "aggressive" the latest default settings for talking about important issues in Our Nation's Capital? Along with "delusional"? Along with "fanatic"?

House Republicans, come on down!!!

You think I've insulted them. Not even a little. Assuming they're listening, they're hearing only compliments.

After all, if one key to successful negotiating is convincing the other folks at the table that you're absolutely capable of utter lunacy, then Eric Cantor and his crowd are incredibly successful negotiators. They've got everyone convinced that they really don't give a hoot if the debt ceiling isn't raised, if the United States defaults on its financial obligations for the first time in its history.

We'll do it their way, they make clear, or we won't do it at all. Why, just being in the room with those Democrats, just talking about raising the debt ceiling, is concession enough! Don't even entertain the thought that they'll bend a silly millimeter further!

Think they're bluffing? Who's willing to test them? Who's willing to find out if that Joker grin of theirs is for real?

* * *

"You can't raise taxes when the economy is so shaky!" That's the current Republican line. I say "current" because there have been other Republican lines, too. Maybe you remember a few of them:

"You can't raise taxes when the economy is humming!"

"You can't raise taxes when the economic signs are going up!"

"You can't raise taxes when the economic signs are going down!"

"You can't raise taxes when there are seven days in a week!"

I made that last one up. (I think.)

It would be interesting to hear from the Eric Cantors of the world: Under what conditions exactly would Republicans favor raising taxes on anyone? We know that "today" is never the right time to raise enough revenues to keep the government functioning. But is there an acceptable "tomorrow" lurking somewhere? Anywhere?

Just asking.

* * *

The latest entry in your Nickel in the Jar game: "Job Creators." Every time you hear a Republican use the phrase "Job Creators" over the next two weeks, drop a nickel in the jar. You'll have saved up enough for a movie date in no time at all.

"Job Creators" is undoubtedly the latest focus-grouped GOP phrasing for Those Who Must Not Be Asked to Share in the Sacrifice. If you end temporary tax cuts for the wealthy, we're told over and over again, you'll make things tough for the "Job Creators." If you close loopholes, we're told on every Sunday-morning talk show, you'll do grievous harm to the "Job Creators."

Nice to see them breaking out the new material. For a while there, the people whose interests Republicans were so intent on protecting were always called "Small-Business Owners." "Small-Business Owners," Republicans claimed, were the ones who'd be knee-capped by those "Massive Job-Killing Tax Hikes" the Democrats kept pushing. "Small-Business Owners" were the one who deserved the nation's respect. And sympathy. (And wallets.)

Until someone apparently noticed that "Small-Business Owners" didn't, technically speaking, cover the kinds of people Republicans cared about even more than they cared about Ma and Pa Mainstreet. Oil companies, f'rinstance. Hedge-fund barons. Not to mention corporate-jet owners and yachtsmen.

"Job Creators" -- every last one of them.

Ain't the English language a beautiful thing?

# # #

Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at