Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Eric Cantor, GOP House Majority Whip: live by the sword, die by the sword … by gimleteye

Eric Cantor, the face of GOP conservative ideology in Congress and candidate to succeed John Boehner as House leader, was defeated in a Virginia Congressional primary last night. Cantor was done in, by a political neophyte from the further right. Cantor's defeat shocked Republicans around the nation. Pundits attribute the loss to Cantor's support for immigration reform and favoring deals with Democrats on the budget, but it would be hard to find a more reliably conservative GOP leader than Cantor or one more willing to throw rhetorical bombs at Democrats.

More likely, Cantor took his base for granted while he jetted hither and thither, raising money for COP causes and candidates. Progressives were thrilled by the news.

It would be one thing if the vote that cast out Cantor from Congress -- one of the most shocking in the history of Congress -- were because voters found him too conservative, but the Virginia district that Cantor represented did not find him conservative enough. In recent weeks, the media has focused on efforts by the GOP to push back against radical Tea Party elements that are costing Republicans heavily among the narrow group of Independents and Undecideds who can and will swing elections.

It worked with Mitch McConnell, the West Virginia Republican who is Senate minority leader, the face of Big Coal, and likely Senate majority leader if Republicans take control of the US Senate in November. It didn't work with Cantor.

So what is the right conclusion to draw from the Cantor debacle? One needs to track back further to the economic shifts that continue to massively concentrate wealth at the expense of the middle class. The conservative radicalization is grounded in a desperate effort by Americans to keep what they have, in the face of evidence that nothing is secure -- not middle class jobs or standards of living much less quality of life. To the Tea Partiers who upended Cantor, government is the entire problem. The Republican establishment is as much the problem as the Democrats.

Republican backers who created the Tea Party to shift the nation further to the right have unleashed forces they find difficult to control. Students of economic and political history will be familiar with the scenario, even if American voters aren't because they have given up studying history.

There are good reasons to become familiar with the outcome of GOP radicalization before casting one's vote. On that, don't expect Fox News to shed any light.


Anonymous said...

You are always quick to jump on anything Republican, but why don't you ever have anything to say about the Obama?

There is nothing the Republicans can do that trumps what the White house is doing and has done? Yet you are mum on that issue.

When did honesty and integrity take a backseat to Party affiliation?

Where is your credibility?

Anonymous said...

Would you expect anything else from the Fox News cheering section? LOL.

Anonymous said...

Revolutions are seldom won by groups that started them. They are always co-opted or neutered.

Anonymous said...

Mitch McConnell is from KY not WV. Please don't put that shit on us. We'll keep Bobbie Byrd thank you.

Anonymous said...

The first poster stated his position in a respectful manner. The subsequent responses are sarcastic, rude and use foul language. Why?

Why can't democrats or progressives on this blog maintain a proper discussion without insults?

Anonymous said...

Dempsey Barron, Dean of the FL Senate during the 1980s, a legislator for almost 40 years, and arguably the most powerful man in Tallahassee during his tenure, had a big wooden carved name plate on the front of his desk. He placed the visitor's chairs right at the front of his desk so that for a few minutes while you were waiting to see him, you were consumed with the carving. Instead of his name, he had carved into the wooden name plate the words "ASSUME NOTHING". I have often thought about it as the years unfolded.

The majority leader made a big mistake, one that top tier politicians never make. He forgot that "All politics is local."

Contrary to popular belief, it is not about the power of the Tea party, immigration, or any of the grand schemes the talking heads conjure up. No one could be further right than him. Being an elected official is about serving people. They want to reach out and touch their member of Congress, discuss issues, tell them about their problems. That is why you see members of Congress rushing out as soon as voting is over. They want to attend funerals, parties, chicken dinners, receptions, community events, churches, hold their own town hall meetings, meet with people in private on their problems, in short give a whole lot of loving, and give voters an opportunity to reach out and touch them.

His competitor simply understood this dynamic. They were attention-starved, and hungry for affection. So much so that no amount of campaign money could buy it, and they would trade enormous world power to get it. He thought nothing of his people, nor the voting process as evidenced by the fact that he was not even in his district on election day. He assumed too much.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with statement about serving people.
I think a lot of this could also have had to do with general backlash against incumbents again.
Remember, Cantor was one of the faces of the gov't shutdown a few months ago. Lots of Virginia residents were affected by that.

Anonymous said...

You are right, it was very important for them. Given the seniority system in Congress, that district will never have that kind of worldwide power in their lifetime again. The new guy goes to the bottom, he will be a freshman, No.435. It will take him several years to learn the rules of the House and understand its organizational culture.

Cato II said...

Cantor raised the expectations of poor, white, Republican voters when he, Dick Armey, and the Koch Brothers gave birth to the Tea Party movement. It was intended to be a permanent dog whistle whining in those voters ears, one that would perpetually get them out to the polls. It was the kind of baiting that anti-gay marriage amendments had throughout the red states in 2004, a ploy engineered by Karl Rove to ensure that the foaming base would show up on election day. Now that the base has been engaged and enraged, it demands fealty. Adhere to all orthodoxies that it adheres to. Immigration reform? Not on your life. Gun control measures? Better not. Teaching science with reference to Genesis? Don't you dare. So, having put the dead carcass of the religious Right on the slab, Cantor, Armey, and the Kochs brought down lightening from the heavens and animated the beast. But like in the fairy tale by Mary Shelley, the monster killed its maker and its master. And now it has happened in real life.

Anonymous said...

If he wasn't in the district on election day, chances are he did not even vote for himself.