Cantor Talks Politics and Policy in Speech Before Ripon Society

Discusses Republican efforts to broaden party’s appeal, win control of the House, and oppose new deficit spending being proposed by the Democrats this year face

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Republican Whip Eric Cantor talked politics and policy before The Ripon Society this morning, delivering a speech in which he spoke about GOP efforts to broaden the party’s appeal, win control of the House, and clamp down on new deficit spending being proposed by the Democrats this year.

“We’ve started under the Young Guns program something called the Artemis Project,” Cantor said, discussing the need for Republicans to broaden the party’s appeal. “This is a project squarely focused on trying to get women candidates elected. What we’ve seen is a lot of the women candidates who have been in the primaries thus far have not fared well because they’ve not had the resources. They’re great candidates, they’re professional women, some of them are also Moms and do that balancing act that no one else is called upon to do…”
The Washington Post reported this past May that a record 107 Republican women have filed to run for a seat in the House of Representatives this year. In launching the Artemis Project and undertaking an effort to support these candidates this fall, Cantor stated that: “It’s important for us as a party to make a statement this year. For those of you from California, congratulations – you are leading the pack for us as far as making sure this is the ‘Year of the Women’ for Republicans. Carly [Fiorina] and Meg [Whitman] out there are doing a great service for all of us to show that the Republican Party is not your father’s Oldsmobile, and it is really something we can embrace for this new century, with new leadership and new technology.”

In addition to discussing the Artemis Project, Cantor also expanded upon the Young Guns program, which he — along with Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and California Congressman Kevin McCarthy – started in the last election cycle as a way to “instill some accountability among our candidates.”

“We hope that by the time we get to Labor Day that we are going to have 60 Young Gun candidates,” Cantor stated. “Because this is how we’re going to take the 39 seats back. We can’t just have 39 seats in play – we all know that. We’ve got to focus our resources and make sure we are investing in the operations and campaigns that will win.” To that end, Cantor praised the candidate recruitment efforts being led by McCarthy, saying the 2010 GOP recruiting class is “unlike anything I’ve seen running before.”

He also recognized the role of The Ripon Society in trying to make sure the GOP remains a viable national party, not just a vibrant regional one. “I look at The Ripon Society, and I know that many of you have constantly been out there saying, ‘Look, if we don’t have a plan to take back the Northeast and the upper Midwest and the Coast in this country — if we don’t have a plausible strategy — there’s no way we can sustain a lasting governing coalition as a majority.’”

Acknowledging the need to have a strategy that reaches not only all regions but all ages, he continued: “This country’s becoming too diverse. The new generation is, frankly, not fixated on some of the things that dominate the old construct of partisan politics. We’ve always got to be out there growing and trying to search for those energetic young leaders who want to come here for the reasons that the people want, not what some old construct has dictated that we should want here in Washington.”

Touching on policy and the current debate over extending unemployment benefits, Cantor stated matter-of-factly about the Democratic majority: “They don’t want to pay for anything – they really don’t. If you don’t believe with a $3 trillion budget that there isn’t some money to extend these benefits, then the American people will have absolutely every reason in the world not to trust this government. That’s where we’ve got to come back – and come back hard. What Republicans believe is we need to start paying for things around here — and that is the bottom line.”

Cantor pointed to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s effort to balance the budget with bipartisan support as: “A great test model for us as we begin to think about not only our message this fall, but how we’re going to run a government and a House when we take over.”

He also pointed to the protests in Greece as a vivid illustration of a path down which we do not want America to go. “Look at what these protests were about,” Cantor stated. “The message was very straightforward: ‘Give me more! We can’t stand to have less vacation. We need more pay. We need more benefits.’”

Cantor contrasted the protests in Greece with the protests of the Tea Party in the U.S. “The tea partiers are saying, ‘Enough! Enough! Give me my life back! I don’t want Washington telling me what I should be doing, what health care I should be purchasing, what kind of mortgage or credit card I can have. I want to be able to make my own decisions, because damn it, my success in this country is borne out of the way I earn it and the way I go about every day expressing my desires on how to go forward.’”

“That is the essence of what I think our argument is about,” Cantor concluded. “That’s America. That’s why people are so upset when they see the agenda that Obama is pushing.


Video of Representative Cantor’s Remarks