I missed 60 Minutes last night, but Steve Benen has the gist of the Lesley Stahl interview with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA).
In this video, it starts at about the 10:19 mark. For those who can’t watch clips online, Cantor told Lesley Stahl, “Nobody gets everything they want.” Asked if that means he’s ready to compromise with Democrats, the oft-confused Majority Leader replied that he’s “ready to cooperate.” Stahl, of course, noticed word choice, and pressed Cantor on the difference between cooperation and compromise.
It led to this exchange:
Stahl: But you know, your idol, as I’ve read anyway, was Ronald Reagan. And he compromised.
Cantor: He never compromised his principles.
Stahl: Well, he raised taxes and it was one of his principles not to raise taxes.
Cantor: Well, he — he also cut taxes.
Stahl: But he did compromise —
Cantor: Well I —
At that point, Cantor’s press secretary, off camera, interrupted the interview, yelling that Stahl was lying when she said Reagan raised taxes. As Stahl told “60 Minutes” viewers, “There seemed to be some difficulty accepting the fact that even though Ronald Reagan cut taxes, he also pushed through several tax increases, including one in 1982 during a recession.”
Let’s call “some difficulty” a dramatic understatement.
It’s actually part of the plan. The real Ronald Reagan was replaced, almost from the day he left the White House, with “Ronald Reagan”, who never raised taxes, never compromised, never signed an abortion bill in California, and never knocked back a Scotch with Tip O’Neill. It didn’t hurt that Mr. Reagan himself was incapable of correcting the record, and the GOP has always had the amazing ability to rehabilitate people who at one time singlehandedly destroyed the party and turn them into frontrunners without missing a step; vide Richard Nixon and Newt Gingrich. And there’s a large contingent in the party who consider Joe McCarthy a hero.
So Eric Cantor and his press secretary can easily say — and believe — that “Ronald Reagan” was exactly who they say he was. The most amazing thing is that Lesley Stahl actually called him them out on it.