Hurricane Irene — Conservative teaching moment

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The House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, says Washington will try to help out folks devastated by Hurricane Irene — but the federal government will just have to cut back somewhere else.

"Just like any family would operate when it’s struck with disaster," Cantor told Fox News. "It finds the money it needs to take care of a sick loved on or what have you and then goes without trying to buy a new car or put an addition onto the house."

Some families (though apparently no one Cantor knows in Virginia) have even been known to go without new coats, or new shoes, or fresh vegetables. One thing for sure, they find the money without borrowing it from the Chinese government. They might once have hoped to get enough to tide them over from their own government, but those days are over.

If only someone with Cantor's steely spine had been president at previous hours of great calamity. "Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a day which will live in infamy, the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan," Cantor would have said. "And if we can find the money in the federal budget without raising taxes to fight World War II, we intend to do something about it." What Americans would have lost in a civilized world worth living in they'd have gained in self-respect.

Likewise with 9/11. "This cowardly attack on our budget surplus will not succeed," President Cantor would have riposted. "We're coming after the evildoers. If not now, by the third quarter of fiscal 2003, once we've worked out a payment plan."

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