By Joseph Rago:
‘He becomes visibly agitated. . . . He does not like to be challenged on policy grounds,’ says the House majority leader of the president.
Whatever the rhetoric that preceded this week’s deal, the debt-ceiling debate was never really about the debt at all. It was about the terms on which the debate would continue. The “two different worldviews” that divide Washington, explains Eric Cantor, are too far apart for anything more than an armistice. Still, listening to the House majority leader—who says the deal is “not perfect” but “there were some achievements”—it’s remarkable that the two parties were able to agree even to its modest terms.
The “philosophical starting point” of today’s Democrats, as Mr. Cantor sees it, is that they “believe in a welfare state before they believe in capitalism. They promote economic programs of redistribution to close the gap of the disparity between the classes. That’s what they’re about: redistributive politics.” The Virginian’s contempt is obvious in his Tidewater drawl. “The assumption . . . is that there is some kind of perpetual engine of economic prosperity in America that is going to just continue. And therefore they are able to take from those who create and give to those who don’t. We just have a fundamentally different view.”