COSTA: Do you see all of your work this year as a rebranding or marketing project, or is it a legislative project?And when Costa asked him about his reputation "as the White House's antagonist," Cantor beamed with pride. But despite Cantor's nakedly political approach to his job, when the subject turned to why nothing gets done in Washington, he pointed the finger at the president, who Cantor says is just too impersonal:
CANTOR: I think there’s a lot of ways that we can demonstrate that we’re putting conservative ideas to work. And it’s not just about ideas, it’s about ideas that produce results. That’s what this agenda is about. It is about making the case to the voters in the middle, to the people out there who are struggling, that conservative leadership is what is going to provide a brighter future.
COSTA: Speaking of tense relations, House Republicans don’t have much of a relationship with the president. He goes golfing with GOP senators, he hosts Democrats for dinner, but he doesn’t seem to socialize with your conference.Well that makes complete sense. I mean, sure, Cantor thinks his job is to help Republicans win elections instead of actually getting things done for the country, but the real reason for gridlock has nothing to do with the fact that Republicans wouldn't say yes to Obama if he handed all of them winning lottery tickets. No, the real problem is that Obama is a snob. If only he weren't so snooty, Republicans would be so much easier to work with. Just ask President Clinton.
CANTOR: Well, I just had drinks with [White House chief of staff] Denis McDonough the other night. We talked about how we could work together and improve things. The one thing I’ve always said — and I’ve said it to Rahm [Emanuel] and Jack Lew — is that this president has squandered an opportunity to use the office to do some good and actually get some things done. Compare that with the personal relationships that existed during my time in the Virginia state legislature, for example, where it was all about personal relationships between the executive and legislative branch. It just doesn’t exist here. Either the president doesn’t like to engage with people, or it’s somehow beneath him to do so.