Eric Cantor’s Hoover leanings
By happy coincidence, the name “Cantor” has exactly the same number of letters as “Hoover.” This means that the various ways the name of Herbert Hoover was once used to blame the 31st president for the Great Depression can now be revived for Eric Cantor. Thus, instead of “Hoovervilles,” those encampments of the homeless and unemployed (one was situated in New York’s Central Park), we will have Cantorvilles. And instead of “Hoover Blankets,” as newspapers used to cover the shivering homeless, we will have “Cantor Blankets.” Instead of the term “Hoover Flags,” for pockets turned inside out to signify a total lack of money, let’s run “Cantor Flags” up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.
This is Cantor’s big chance to become a historical figure — or a punching bag. He and his fellow (very) conservative Republicans stand on the brink of doing in their era what Hoover did in his. They could, just as Hoover did, stick to their ideological guns and let the economy go down the drain. They will be pure. We will be broke.
They could insist on a balanced budget at precisely the time when economic conditions require deficit spending. On paper, everything will look good. In reality, the economy will tank. They could continue to extol the wholly exaggerated virtues of small business and tailor tax cuts for them, and the budget would suffer and few jobs would be created. They could sink the bond market, rattle investors both domestic and foreign, make states suffer on less federal aid, weaken the dollar and convince Martians that they don’t want to come here. But they would, as did Hoover, take solace in adhering to an ideology that was proved disastrously wrong in the last century. No reason, it seems, not to do it all over again.
In truth, Cantor is no Hoover. The late president was an emotional block of ice, cruelly battered by a deprived and Dickensian childhood. He was a great businessman, a master organizer and mobilizer, but when he went to apply the principles that made him rich to the federal government, he found they were irrelevant. Still, he tried and tried and tried. He was not a bad man. He was merely a bad president.
Cantor, by contrast, seems an affable sort. He represents a very conservative Virginia district and must vote accordingly, although nothing in the preceding should be interpreted as suggesting that Cantor is in the least disagreement with the people who elected him. This makes him the perfect and suitable choice — the No. 2 Republican in the House, after all — to become the face and the name of the coming economic debacle — maybe even an update of Irving Berlin’s old Depression ditty: “Mr. Eric Cantor says that now’s the time to buy/ so let’s have another cup of coffee and let’s have another piece of pie.”
That will, of course, be “pie in the sky.” The Cantor/teavangelists will reject anything that might possibly provide the former middle class with government provided services and benefits. That follow on piece of pie is going to be seen as socialism if the poor get to taste it. The fix, of course, will be to have the usual demagogues denounce it as a form of wealth redistribution.
The extra cup of coffee is marginally permissible when viewed from the teavangelist’s position. However, it must be made from dried coffee of the cheapest available source and must be consumed from a Styrofoam cup with an ill-fitting lid while walking in urban pedestrian traffic, so as to prevent any physical enjoyment due to the encroaching socialism represented by the extra cup.
Pursuant to the bi-partisan agreement, the cup of coffee must be purchased by the consumer for cash. The extra piece of pie must meet the same condition and be purchased.
There are no other restrictions on the extra piece of pie as it is ephemeral in nature and cannot be physically enjoyed by the former middle class. At the end of the day, the extra pie must be returned, intact, to the GOP/teavangelist’s party headquarters for final distribution to the very wealthy, who do not want it but who cannot stand the idea of allowing even a morsel of flavor to reach the former middle class or the former working class. Pie does not trickle down.