Apparently Eric Cantor thinks that instead of electing our leaders to make informed decisions after we put them in office, they should instead be taking their cues from the uninformed electorate and making decisions on how to govern based on polls. Genius...genius I tell you! Okay, that said and snark aside, I guess it couldn't be much worse than how they typically govern now which is based on the opinions of lobbyists and their big campaign contributors.
As our own Jon Perr pointed out, this latest gimmick of Cantor's won't do much to change that.
Just days after he acknowledged the collapse of his effort to rebrand the GOP, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) is resorting to yet another gimmick to resuscitate his party. On Wednesday, Cantor debuted "YouCut," a campaign which promises that House Republicans will call for spending cuts chosen by online voters. As it turns out, Cantor's ballot of deficit-cutting options would only trim millions from the proposed $3.8 trillion federal budget. And as recent surveys suggest, when it comes to spending cuts, that's probably about all hard-line conservatives - and the American people - will agree to.
Joining the born-again deficit hawks whose revisionist history excludes Ronald Reagan tripling the national debt only to see George W. Bush double it again, Eric Cantor rolled out the YouCut campaign on his Republican House Whip web site. (His wethepeopleplan.org site for the now-defunct National Council for a New America no longer exists.) Now, as The Hill reports:
People can vote online or through text message on a list of five proposals to reduce types of spending, on which House Republicans will then force a vote in the House the following week.
"People will have the power and the ability to make Congress consider votes that will save people money with the click of a button or a simple text message," said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Cantor.
The project, which Cantor will unveil in a Wednesday afternoon press conference, is being promoted by the GOP as a first-of-its-kind effort at engagement between lawmakers and constituents.
First of its kind - and hopefully the last.
The five spending cut options Cantor presents to voters as arcane as they are small (and, for that matter, partisan). Ending the "HUD Program for Doctoral Dissertations" would save Uncle Sam $1 million over five years; removing wealthier cities and towns from the Community Development Block Grant program would net $2.6 billion in the same time frame.
Given the Republican Party's history of fiscal recklessness, it's no surprise that Eric Cantor and his House colleagues want to outsource responsibility to the conservative activists that will traffic his web site. But their fuzzy math doesn't work. Even as the GOP and its Tea Party base calls for a balanced budget, they want the Treasury-draining Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to be made permanent.
...Ironically, Eric Cantor launched his charade on the same day the New York Times' David Leonhardt and the Washington Post's Steve Pearlstein discussed the hard choices on spending and taxes Americans will have to make to reverse the long term federal debt problem. But Cantor's gimmick shows that Republicans aren't serious about cutting the deficit. And the history of the last 30 years testifies, they never were.
Go read the entire post for more on Cantor's hackery and why this latest game by Cantor and the GOP is exactly what it appears to be, just the latest attempt by them to pretend to be serious while living in opposite-land.
And from Think Progress Cantor is having a bit more trouble in the irony department with this gimmick as well when it comes to benefiting his own district and talking out of both sides of his mouth.
Trying to show their fiscal discipline bona fides, House Republicans recently rolled out a new gimmicky website called “YouCut” that allows people to choose from a pre-selected list of programs that they would like to see eliminated from the federal budget. While the current set of five programs combined wouldn’t even come close to putting a scratch in the deficit, the program that received the most votes this week is actually a successful jobs program.
...Indeed, Cantor lobbied federal officials for stimulus money to fund the Richmond-to-DC high speed rail line (even though he vigorously opposed the Recovery Act), claiming that the project would benefit his district.
...So apparently, Cantor now thinks the rail project is “wasteful spending.” Will Cantor include it on the YouCut list as an option that visitors can vote on?