Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says House Majority Leader Eric Cantor should not be part of the debt limit negotiations. He’s calling the Virginia Republican congressman “childish.”
Reid says Cantor’s conduct during the sensitive White House talks have shown, in Reid’s words, “he shouldn’t even be at the table.”
For once, I completely agree with Senator Harry Reid. Any elected official who chides and threatens others, gets over-emotional, and then storms out of negotiations essential to the future of this country is too childish to be involved in such important talks.
Oh, wait — it wasn’t Congressman Cantor who chided and threatened his colleagues, got over-emotional, and subsequently stormed out of debt ceiling negotiations … it was the president of the United States, Barack Obama.
Even the same Yahoo! News article mentioning Reid’s comments notes that it was the president who acted childish, stating later in the short piece that “[t]he daily talks ended yesterday with Obama and Cantor clashing, and the president leaving the room.”
And, just this morning, the Associated Press reported the following:
And in the cauldron of the White House Cabinet Room, Obama and top lawmakers bargained for nearly two hours Wednesday on spending cuts. Obama curtly ended the session when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., urged Obama to accept a short, monthslong increase in debt instead of one that would last through next year’s presidential election.
“Enough is enough. … I’ll see you all tomorrow,” Obama said, rising from the negotiating table and leaving the room, according to several officials familiar with the session.
In all fairness, and quite predictably, coverage from Politico is a little different. While Cantor insisted that he remained deferential and never interrupted the president, Jonathan Allen and Jake Sherman quote a Democratic Party source echoing Sen. Reid and saying that it was Cantor and other Republicans who were exhibiting juvenile behavior:
“Eric, don’t call my bluff,” the president said, warning Cantor that he would take his case “to the American people.” He told Cantor that no other president — not Ronald Reagan, the president said — would sit through such negotiations.
Democratic sources dispute Cantor’s version of Obama’s walk out, but all sides agree that the two had a blow up. The sources described Obama as “impassioned” but said he didn’t exactly storm out of the room.
“Cantor’s account of tonight’s meeting is completely overblown. For someone who knows how to walk out of a meeting, you’d think he’d know it when he saw it,” a Democratic aide said. “Cantor rudely interrupted the president three times to advocate for short-term debt ceiling increases while the president was wrapping the meeting. This is just more juvenile behavior from him and Boehner needs to rein him in, and let the grown-ups get to work.”
Utterly ridiculous. Grown-ups would not leave a meeting in a huff. Grown-ups would address the actual, realistic solution being presented by the other party and weigh that solution against other options. It is abundantly clear that the one who needs to put on his big-girl panties and tough it out is President Obama. ‘
It makes me wonder — did he exhibit the same behavior in dealing with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu? Clifford Bryan at Examiner.com notes, back in March 2010, that Obama leaving the Israeli PM for dinner with his wife “wasn’t a slap in the face of the Israeli Prime Minister as some in the Israeli right wing media have suggested,” but rather “was more like Obama the diplomat signifying that there was not much diplomacy going on at the meeting.” There wasn’t much diplomacy going on in yesterday’s debt ceiling negotiations, either, and we see how the president handled himself there.
Whether it’s dealing with foreign dignitaries or managing crises large and small here on the homefront, we need a leader, and leadership requires someone who will approach said dignitaries and crises in a measured fashion, not someone who will become emotional, lash out, and then take his ball and go home.
George W. Bush would not have stormed out of such an important meeting. Something tells me that Bill Clinton would not have, either. What we have in Barack Obama is an entitled president presiding over an entitlement culture. It’s a bad recipe for the presidency, and a poor combination for the United States of America.