There’s an old joke among political journalists that Washington, D.C. is Hollywood for ugly people. To that delightful adage, we would like to add our own observation that it’s also like the world’s biggest high school, only with the exalted position usually reserved for the football team given instead to the debate club.
Republican Rep. Eric Cantor is desperately trying to prank the hot, new cool kids and their stimulus bill.
Admittedly, the first of these two wisecracks doesn’t seem quite as true as it once did. After all, not only do we now officially have a hunk-in-chief with President Obama, but a surprisingly large number of recently elected Congress-critters might even be described as handsome. In fact, the online wits at The Huffington Post were so enchanted by this year’s incoming political class that they held a “hottest freshman” contest, inviting readers to pick which new arrival to the Capitol was the biggest heartthrob. Sadly, Virginia’s chiseled-cheekbone delegation couldn’t quite clinch the ultimate prize, but we did manage to nab two of the top spots, with Rep. Glenn Nye coming in second and Charlottesville’s very own cherubic wunderkind Tom Perriello taking fourth place.
But as for the high school vibe? Well, that’s been on full display the past few weeks, as President Obama (the cool new transfer kid) tried mightily to charm and cajole the crotchety old guard into supporting his economic program, while the unimpressed opposition worked just as hard to derail his prom-king coronation with a well-placed kick to the stimulus package.
And the most aggressive kicker of all, it seemed—the Tracy Flick to Obama’s Paul Metzler, if you will—was Virginia’s Rep. Eric Cantor, who, in his role as Republican Whip, was instrumental in making sure that not a single Republican voted for the House version of Obama’s stimulus measure.
Of course, some nervous nellies might be worried that such spirited and doctrinaire opposition to a newly elected, still very popular president might turn voters off—but not old Eric! In fact, when asked by The Washington Post if such across-the-board negativism would end up hurting the party, Cantor insisted that the Republicans’ resounding rejection of Obama’s overtures “will give us a shot in the arm going forward,” because people respect the fact “that we are standing up on principle and just saying no.”
Unfortunately, judging by the polls, the American public doesn’t quite see it that way. In fact, in a recent Gallop survey, respondents gave Obama a 67 percent approval rating for his handling of the stimulus bill, while congressional Republicans received a measly 31 percent.
But don’t let that bother you, Mr. Cantor. After all, this Obama guy only moved in a few weeks ago—people just like him because he’s all shiny and new. But we’re absolutely sure that, by the time the yearbook comes out, everybody is going to want you to sign it with your trademark “No!” and “Hell, no!” and “What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?” Meanwhile, Mr. “Yes we can” will be sitting at home all alone, trying to figure out how to spend his $789 billion.