Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Down Goes Eric Cantor

Woe to those who take things for granted.

Think not? Just look at Eric Cantor.The guy wins a seat in the house back in 2001 and over the next few years blows through re-election campaigns like they didn't even happen. Then because of some deft maneuvering and serious schmoozing he ends up the House Majority Leader in 2011. That put him second in command and one step from the Speaker's chair.

As of May 21st this year he had raised $5,447,290 to finance the run of 2014. By the same date his campaign staff was so awash with money and confidence they had spent $168,637, not for TV time, robo calls, or mailers, but on meals at a couple of steak houses.

During that time frame, Cantor's opponent in the republican primary, an economics professor named, David Brat, raised a mere $206,663. By May 21st, his entire campaign had spent $45,844 less than Cantor's people had on t-bones cooked medium rare and baked potatoes with butter, sour cream and chives.

Then came last night and to paraphrase the late Howard Cosell, "Down goes Cantor! Down goes Cantor! Down goes Cantor!"

Today tea party wags are running around bragging their guy beat an establishment republican. Well, while Dave Brat is one of their guys if you look at his politics, he certainly didn't get any help from the tea party money people. In fact his campaign was completely ignored by super pacs such as Tea Party Patriots, Freedomworks, and Club for Growth. Of the 200 plus grand he managed to raise, not one dime was from any sort of political action committee. In comparison, 39% of the Cantor campaign war chest came through super pacs.

Now, Virginia republicans have Brat as their man in November. The candidate is an unwavering opponent of any sort of gun control. In addition he is virulently anti choice and quite possibly against any sort of birth control. Most significantly, in this race anyway, he is also one of those guys who says, "we must secure our borders before talking about immigration reform." And just like the rest of them he hasn't the foggiest notion of how to do it. His campaign web site simply says he supports "various proposals" to make sure no one on the south side can get to the north side.

According to NBC and other media outlets the immigration issue is what he hammered away at during the campaign. Over and over again he claimed Cantor wanted to create a pathway to citizenship for the children of illegal aliens--that he was in collusion with Barack Obama to hand the country over to vast hordes of Hispanics.

Yes, in the right hands and in the right place xenophobia makes up for a lot of bucks.

Last night, Brat, who is Catholic and has a masters in divinity from Princeton, claimed, "This is a miracle from God that just happened."

It remains unclear if God Almighty was directly involved in the 7th Virginia district primary. However, the truth is Dave Brat clearly out worked his opponent during the campaign and used, with devastating efficiency, the first rule of Nixonian politics--charge what they can't deny and deny what they haven't charged.

He also got lucky. He was Cantor's only opponent. There was no one else in the race to siphon off votes.

So, was it the tea party politics of David Brat, or the crass hubris of Eric Cantor which caused this sudden void in the republican house leadership?

Take your pick. Both choices are probably right.


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