Cantor: Get more tactile, less tactical

Cantor: Get more tactile, less tactical
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric I. Cantor (R.-Va.)

The House majority leader delivers a major address “Making Life Work” Feb. 5 at Washington’s American Enterprise Institute to set the tone and structure for his next two years.

A close friend of Cantor’s, Arthur C. Brooks, the president of AEI will host the program and introduce the leader.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R.-Va.) wants to focus away from tactics on top of tactics and instead focus actual programs that will help Americans make life work for them in the areas of education, healthcare, workforce reform, immigration and innovation, said a senior Capitol Hill aide familiar with Cantor’s preparations for the address.

“Our solutions will be based on the conservative principles of self reliance, faith in the individual, trust in the family, and accountability in government. Our goal – to ensure every American has a fair shot at earning their success and achieving their dreams,” the leader is expected to say based on speech excerpts of the speech were made available to Human Events.

While staying out of the weeds of specific bills, Cantor will highlight specific examples, such as how medical device tax not only hurts businesses, but also is a barrier to helping Americans get well.

The Virginian will give specific examples of how Soviet-style education rules damage specific children their schools were supposed to educate and develop into productive, self-sufficient adults. These examples will be paired with examples of how school choice and programs such as the D.C. Opportunity scholarships work to empower parents and children.

“If you’re a working parent, you know there’s hardly ever enough time at home to be with the kids. Too many parents have to weigh whether they can afford to miss work even for half a day to see their child off on the first day of school or attend a parent-teacher conference,” the leader will say.

Cantor’s challenge is to steer the House GOP towards practical, constructive legislation that not only makes sense in the regular lives of regular people, but have a complementary messaging campaign and coalition ready to go.

The feeling in the leader’s office is that since retaking the House in 2010, too many legislative initiatives have been wasted because they were attempts to score political points or set down an intellectual marker.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats, in league with the White House, have recast the legislative process into a series constantly returning cliffs and crises, such as the debt ceiling, payroll tax holiday, reduced interest on student loans and unemployment benefits.

Cantor’s approach will be to overwhelm the cliff-to-crisis model with strong, positive and conservative program.

The leader was a strong advocate inside the room with Speaker John A. Boehner (R.-Ohio) to disengage the GOP from the ever-expiring Bush tax cuts. If anything, the compromise the Republicans made to resolve the Jan. 1 fiscal cliff was a ransom for their release.

Cantor will not get too far ahead of the rest of the Republican Conference, but he is looking to change the approach, the aide said.

This is not a lurch to left, rather it is an attempt to recast conservative values and positions as direct ways to improve people’s lives, the aide said.

For too long Republicans have focused on big ideas and big words, and then assumed the voters would make the right decision, the aide said.

Another aide, who was part crafting the speech, said there are many social issues that Republicans used to talk about all the time, but somehow they fell off-the-grid.

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