Cantor and the Table

In an earlier post, Joe noted that Rep. Eric Cantor has said that military spending and entitlement cuts should be “on the table.” Yet it’s important to caution that when a politician says something is on the table it’s often just another way to dodge a question since it doesn’t commit him to anything — this is especially true if the lawmaker, like Cantor, puts “everything on the table.” Thus, if it turns out that Cantor doesn’t support actual cuts, he isn’t breaking any promise — they could have still been theoretically “on the table” at some point. In reality, the only way I’d take Cantor seriously would be if he were to propose specific cuts.

That said, it is a noteworthy development for Cantor to even say that defense spending is on the table. That’s something that Mitch Daniels and Tom Coburn have said, and it puts all of them at odds with those national security conservatives who are protective of defense spending. This will be one of the key debates conservatives will be having in the coming years.