Less than 10 days after taking over the House of Representatives in January, majority leader Eric Cantor was already working on using the debt ceiling to force massive spending cuts, reports the Washington Post in a lengthy analysis of how the GOP rebuilt a far-right majority after the drubbings it took in 2006 and 2008. “I’m asking you to look at a potential increase in the debt limit as a leverage moment when the White House and President Obama will have to deal with us,” Cantor exhorted fellow GOP House members from a Baltimore Marriott.
Even before the Tea Party arrived on the scene, Cantor and fellow Young Guns Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan, backed by the GOP establishment, decided the GOP had lost power not for being too conservative, but for being too centrist. Together, they decided to tack the party hard to the right, recruiting candidates for the next election who shared their beliefs, moving potentials from "on the radar" to "contender" to "Young Gun." March's government shutdown showdown, which resulted in $38 billion in cuts, only angered the GOP's radical members, boosting their enthusiasm to use the debt ceiling to force radical changes. When a debt ceiling deal was finally reached and the dust cleared, the GOP's refusal to compromise got it most of what it wanted. Click here for the whole story.