House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (Virginia, to my great dismay) made headlines this week when he likened President Barack Obama’s policies that build upon former (to my great relief) President George Bush XLIII’s auto bail-out to the policies of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
“It’s almost like looking at Putin’s Russia,” the Whip quipped. “You want to reward your political friends at the expense of the certainty of law.”
As Chief Deputy Whip, Rep. Cantor helped push President Bush XLIII’s unpopular bank bail-out through the House. After its first vote failed, Rep. Cantor allowed that several Republicans voted against it because of Speaker Nancy “Pelosi’s speech that frankly struck the tone of partisanship that frankly was inappropriate in this discussion“.
After this frank acknowledgment that many of his fellow Republicans will do for pride what they won’t do for principle, Rep. Cantor went back to Deputy Whipping the wayward whiners into shape. Four days later, the bail-out passed. Roughly a month after that, a couple of weeks after the Republican repudiation of 2008, Rep. Cantor was elected Whip.
Given the similarity of this deal-by-extortion to “Your brains or your signature will be on this contract”, it seems to me that President Bush XLIII’s approach was at least as similar to Don Vito Corleone’s as President Obama’s is to P.M. Putin’s.