08/06/2013 10:52 am ET Updated Oct 06, 2013

The Subtle Art of Non-Compromise

Okay, so on Sunday, House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) acknowledged the obvious, that the sequester cuts are a bad idea.

"We've always said sequester is not the best way to go about spending reductions. It was, as you know, a default mechanism, because Congress couldn't do the job it was supposed to a couple of years ago," he said to Chris Wallace on Fox News.

(Keep in mind that while this sounds really hard-hitting, blaming Congress for not doing its job -- he's the ... er, House Majority Leader. But I digress...)

Rep. Cantor says he's willing to be a big man about and accept, in order to address this bad idea. He says that the president "should come to the table finally and say we're going to fix the underlying problem that's driving our deficit."

(Yes, again, quite the macho, macho man -- telling the other guy to come to the table to fix the problem that he has acknowledged is his own and Congress's fault for not doing their job. But I digress...)

And what does Mr. Cantor say that that problem is, which he is will to fix?

"We know that is the entitlement programs and the unfunded liability that they are leaving on this generation and the next."

Ah! Entitlement programs. Helping the poor, elderly and needy. Same things that the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he's willing to be the big guy and cut, if it'll help, y'know.

"You want sequester relief?" Sen. McConnell told the National Review. "Then let's talk about a reduction in entitlement spending."

Or, perhaps... let's not.

What a swell idea. You come to us, you agree to help us get rid of a problem we caused that's really bad, and if you're nice, we'll cut something we hate and you love.

Peachy. This is the Republican definition of "meeting halfway," which is what got us into the sequestration mess that Rep. Cantor says he himself helped cause.

This is the equivalent of a drowning man saying, "Throw us a rope, and in return as a favor we'll punch you in face and push you over the edge so that you can drown instead."

A top Democratic aide told the Huffington Post, "Our caucus would not accept entitlement cuts to replace the sequester -- that's just replacing crappy cuts with crappy cuts."

Gee, go figure.

(By the way, those "unfunded liabilities" -- the budget deficit -- that Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell are trying to get your shorts all bunched up in a tizzy has actually been plummeting since Barack Obama took office, down by half. That according to the conservative Forbes. But I... well, y'know -- digress...)

The only reason I like reading about the statements by Mr. Cantor and Mr. McConnell is that hopefully the rational people in the center, looking at which way to vote in the next election will continue to be aghast at the GOP and go running for their lives in the other direction.


Robert J. Elisberg's new novel The Wild Roses, a comic adventure in the spirit of The Three Musketeers but with three women, is now available here in paperback or as a Kindle eBook. His other writing can be found at Elisberg Industries.