Despite their many, many, many failings, the Democrats are concerned about what's actually going on out in the world and make attempts to actually improve things. The Republicans, on the other hand, worry about one thing only: winning.
WASHINGTON — The last time Congressional Republicans were this out of power, they turned to a college professor from Georgia, Newt Gingrich, to lead the opposition, first against President Bill Clinton in a budget battle in 1993, and then back into the majority the following year.
As Republicans confronted President Obama in another budget battle last week, their leadership included another new face: Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, who as the party’s chief vote wrangler is as responsible as anyone for the tough line the party has taken in this first legislative standoff with Mr. Obama. This battle has vaulted Mr. Cantor to the front lines of his party as it tries to recover from the losses of November.
As Republican whip, Mr. Cantor succeeded again on Friday in denying the White House the support of a single House Republican on the stimulus bill. That was a calculated challenge to the president, who, in his weekly address on Saturday, hailed the bill as “an ambitious plan at a time we badly need it.”
Mr. Cantor said he had studied Mr. Gingrich’s years in power and had been in regular touch with him as he sought to help his party find the right tone and message. Indeed, one of Mr. Gingrich’s leading victories in unifying his caucus against Mr. Clinton’s package of tax increases to balance the budget in 1993 has been echoed in the events of the last few weeks.
See what I mean? Faced with what any rational human being recognizes as impending economic catastrophe, Cantor's priority is .... finding the right message! As opposed to actually having a message, and looking for the best way to communicate it. But I digress:
“I talk to Newt on a regular basis because he was in the position that we are in: in the extreme minority,” he said.
The Republicans can certainly count some victories, although symbolic ones. Even White House aides said Mr. Cantor and his team had been successful in seizing on spending items in the stimulus bill to sow doubts about it with the public.
The fact that House Republicans have stood firm against Mr. Obama suggests just how unified the caucus is, though Mr. Gingrich, in an interview, said Democratic leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, did more to unify Republicans than anything Republicans did.
“I’d like to tell you Cantor did a brilliant job, but the truth is that Pelosi and Obey pushed the members into his arms,” Mr. Gingrich said. But, he added, “They have been good at developing alternatives so they don’t leave their guys out there chanting no.”
Oo, a little annoyed at the young upstarts, are we, Newt? Hey, the kid's a helluva lot more photogenic and doesn't have that messy personal history...