It's Eric Cantor's show now

For better or worse, Cantor owns the GOP’s spotlight in the debt-limit talks now that Boehner’s effort to fashion a groundbreaking “grand bargain” has fallen apart. It was Cantor who walked out on a commission led by Vice President Joe Biden when the topic of tax hikes was raised. And now Cantor is back in the driver’s seat because the talks have turned away from the big-dollar package that President Barack Obama and Boehner were negotiating and toward a smaller framework of spending cuts produced by the Biden talks…

Boehner’s failed negotiations with Obama have given more stock to Cantor’s read about where the votes lie for a debt-limit deal, which, for the moment at least, is focused on the $1 trillion to $2 trillion in cuts identified by the Biden group…

But while they’re placing themselves side by side rhetorically right now, the private sniping between the Boehner and Cantor camps has intensified. Boehner has been tight-lipped about negotiations, telling House Republicans last week that he wasn’t going to detail his discussions with the White House for the rest of the House GOP. But now that Cantor is in on the main negotiations, he plans on breaking Boehner’s precedent by detailing cuts for House Republicans during an extended conference meeting that’s slated to be narrowly focused on the debt ceiling.

That’s just the newest development in a relationship marked by secrecy and surprises: Cantor didn’t know Boehner was speaking with the president in the midst of the Biden talks and said that he — and all Republicans — didn’t know the outlines of the “grand bargain” the speaker discussed with the president.