I feel bad for America, but I have to admit I do take some pleasure in watching the Republicans be eaten alive by the monster that they created… Goodbye, Eric Cantor.

davidbrat

To my knowledge, Eric Cantor’s primary loss yesterday to Tea Party challenger David Brat was unprecedented in the modern era. House majority leaders just don’t lose primaries. But that’s exactly what happened yesterday in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District. Eric Cantor, who, just last week, was polling some 34 points over Brat, ended up losing to the Ayn Rand acolyte by more than 10, shaking the Republican establishment to its core.

When one of the most senior Republicans in the country spends $5,000,000 on a primary campaign and loses to a virtually unknown professor who spent only $200,000, there’s going to be some serious soul searching in the party… Or, to be more accurate, there’s going to be pant-shitting terror at every level of the Republican establishment, as incumbents desperately begin looking for ways to out-crazy one another in hopes of prolonging their careers in Washington.

I realize there were likely other factors at play in Virginia. Cantor came across as an entitled prick, and had a reputation for not being terribly constituent-focused. And, perhaps more importantly, as there wasn’t much else of interest on the primary ballot, quite a few Cantor supporters likely stayed home, thinking that the long time incumbent would beat his opponent handily. That doesn’t change the fact, though, that Cantor outspent the relatively unknown Brat some 25-to-1 and still lost by over 10 points. That tells me that something bigger is happening, and I have to think that it’s scaring the shit out of the Republican establishment, who, up until now, may have thought that they could control the Tea Party, the lunatic fringe group that they helped to create in order to whip up righteous faux-patriotic anger against “America-hating Democrats and their Kenyan-born Muslim leader in the White House.” Well, it would seem that they’d underestimated their ability to control the forces of mass insanity. And, now, they’re paying the price.

The following excerpt comes by way of the New York Times editorial board.

The forces of political nihilism not only remain alive and well within the Republican Party, but they are on the rise. Witness the way they shook Washington on Tuesday by removing from power Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who had been one of the most implacable opponents to the reform of immigration, health care and taxation. His crime (in addition to complacent campaigning)? He was occasionally obliged, as a leader, to take a few minimalist steps toward governing, like raising the debt ceiling and ending a ruinous shutdown.

For that he was pilloried in his Virginia district by a little-known resident of the distant extremes, David Brat, whose most effective campaign tool was a photo showing Mr. Cantor standing next to President Obama. By falsely portraying the seven-term incumbent as just another compromiser, just another accommodationist to the power of big government, Mr. Brat managed the unimaginable feat of bringing down a majority leader in a primary, and by double digits.

“Cantor is the No. 1 cheerleader in Congress for amnesty,” Mr. Brat wrote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Friday. This is utter nonsense. More than anyone else in the House, including Speaker John Boehner, Mr. Cantor was responsible for the chamber’s refusal to vote on the Senate’s immigration bill. He personally refused to allow a vote on an amendment to give legal status to undocumented immigrants who serve in the military…

The authors go on from there, sharing one instance after another of Cantor’s obstructionism. Apparently, though, it wasn’t good enough. Cantor just wasn’t operating at level of insanity that would satisfy the new Republican base. Maybe if he’d built an ineffective, multi-billion dollar wall intended to keep immigrants out, things would have been different. Maybe, if he’d shut down the federal government, costing us billions and jeopardizing our nation’s economic recovery, or directed all the resources of his office at impeaching Obama over chemtrails, he could have stayed in the good graces of his frothing base. But he didn’t do any of that that. He governed from just an inch over the Bat Shit Insane line, and paid the ultimate price for it.

And, as a result, we can almost guarantee that Republican leadership will become even more obstructionist and extremist.

Of course, it will also mean that the Republicans likely won’t take the Senate or the White House for the foreseeable future, as the Republican party continues its evolution toward a far-right, fringe party with no real grasp on how governance actually works. Sadly, though, due to the last several decades of aggressive gerrymandering by Republicans in Congress, the House will likely stay a cesspool of insanity for the remainder of my lifetime.

I’m sure, in the coming days, we’ll hear a great deal about Brat, who originally hails from Alma, Michigan, but, for the time being, I wanted to share a few quick facts about the Ayn Rand loving professor of economics at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.

The following clips are from Mother Jones and the Huffington Post:

SLASHING SOCIAL SECURITY:

A quick review of his public statements reveals a fellow who is about as tea party as can be. He appears to endorse slashing Social Security payouts to seniors by two-thirds. He (also) wants to dissolve the IRS.

DRASTICALLY CUTTING EDUCATION:

He has called for drastic cuts to education funding, explaining, “My hero Socrates trained in Plato on a rock. How much did that cost? So the greatest minds in history became the greatest minds in history without spending a lot of money.”

ELIMINATING THE MINIMUM WAGE:

“You can’t artificially make up wage rates, they have to be related to productivity.”

INACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE:

In his campaign speeches, Brat has pointed out that he isn’t worried about climate change because “rich countries solve their problems”: “If you let Americans do their thing, there is no scarcity, right? They said we’re going to run out of food 200 years ago, that we’re goin’ to have a ice age. Now we’re heating up… Of course we care for the environment, but we’re not mad people. Over time, rich countries solve their problems. We get it right. It’s not all perfect, but we get it right.”

Welcome to the end times.

[In November, during the general election, Brat will face Democrat Jack Trammell, a fellow Randolph-Macon professor. It’s thought that Trammell cannot win, but, as we just saw, spectacular upsets can happen… If you’d like to contribute to Trammell’s campaign, you can do so here.]

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9 Comments

  1. Meta
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    From this morning’s New York Times:

    The sudden and decisive fall of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, at the hands of a conservative primary opponent tore open divisions among Republicans on Wednesday, setting off a new wave of fear that the internecine feuding would stymie policy-making and imperil Republican presidential prospects in 2016.

    Mr. Cantor’s 11-point loss to David Brat, an economics professor, occurred just when party leaders were beginning to believe they had finally extinguished the Tea Party-versus-establishment civil war, and offered a stark reminder that anger among conservative activists is still boiling.

    The upset, unrivaled in the history of congressional primaries, will immediately push Republicans to the right, almost certainly end any prospect for an immigration overhaul this year, and empower hard-liners like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who believe the Republican Party has not kept faith with a vocal base that demands unflinching opposition to President Obama.

    “What the Republican establishment and the Chamber of Commerce don’t understand is that there’s a large element of America that wants a fight,” said former Speaker Newt Gingrich. “If you’re a conservative, you think Barack Obama is literally destroying the country you love. And you watch your leadership and they seem unwilling to take him head on, and also unable to outmaneuver him.”

    That fury will ensure a gridlocked capital for at least the rest of this year and perhaps for the remainder of Mr. Obama’s presidency. It also raises new doubts about Washington’s ability to conduct the most basic functions of government, suggesting the possibility of another round, or rounds, of brinkmanship on funding the government and measures to keep the country from defaulting on its debt.

    Should Republicans take control of the Senate and retain the House this November, even these most fundamental acts could prove difficult because of fear among Republican members that any hint of cooperation with the president will encourage a primary challenge. After all, Mr. Cantor had sought to block the so-called fiscal grand bargain negotiated by Mr. Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner — and now he has been deemed insufficiently conservative by the party’s base.

    Read more:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/us/politics/divided-gop-sees-promise-and-risk-in-cantors-primary-upset.html

  2. Thom Elliott
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    “The forces of political nihilism not only remain alive and well within the Republican party, but they are on the rise.” wow…I couldn’t…have..put…it better myself? I am utterly stunned by that sentance, that is astounding. The whole piece is worth it for that sentance alone. Nihilism is on the rise, said not by a European philosopher from the late 19th century, but the GD New York Times. “My hero Socrates trained in Plato on a rock.” well if that were the case you’d know Socrates was the teacher of Plato, not the other way ’round. Socrates did not ‘train in Plato’ in any way, he infact died before the greater majority of Plato’s work was written, and they studied together in beautiful marble hall called the Academy, which was shut down after 500 years by xtians. So guess what? You fail as both a philosopher, and philologist Mr Brat.

  3. Thom Elliott
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Pardon me, Aristotle & Plato studied together (for 20 years) at the Academy, Socrates was dead. The point is the same, Socrates had discourses in the market place, the acropolis, and a variety of wealthy people’s homes, and Plato constructed the Academy, not a rock. Both Socrates and Plato were Pythagoreans, if your “hero” was Socrates, don’t you think you’d have some of his pythagorean virtues as well?

  4. anonymous
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Newt Gingrich was a college professor too. Anyone can apparently be a college professor these days. This fact gives me hope for my own career, if not the future of my country.

  5. idea man
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I foresee a National Task Force on the Benefits of Child Labor, and the launch of a Department of Benghazi.

  6. Mr. Y
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    According to the analysis that I’ve read, Cantor probably wasn’t defeated due to Democrats crossing party lines and voting for his opponent. It is, however, worth noting that former Democratic Congressman Ben Jones, best know for playing “Cooter” on the Dukes of Hazzard, put out an open call last week for Democrats to do just that.

    Here’s his letter, which was posted on the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/06/ben-cooter-jones_n_5463196.html):

    To The Editor:

    There was a time not so long ago when the South was called “The Solid South” by the national Democratic Party and the national press. The Republican Party in the South was, where it existed at all, historically on “the disabled list.” The two-party system in the South was “The Democrats who were in, and the Democrats who were out.”

    So the action was in the Democratic primary, where the eventual winner was inevitably coronated. So that was where Democrats voted, where Republicans voted, and where independents, libertarians and everybody else voted. The general election in November was an afterthought. It was, after all, a foregone conclusion that the Democrats would win. For many years in Virginia, that was most likely someone connected with the Byrd Machine.

    With the shift to Southern Republicanism that began in the South in the 1970’s, the game has changed. But not all that much. Congressional re-districting (in which the inmates decide who is going to run the asylum) has resulted in Virginia having Congressional races for what are clearly “safe seats,” that is, seats drawn by the incumbents, of the incumbents, and for the incumbents. So the general election decision is made in the primaries. Unless there is an unexpected lightning strike, that is simply going to happen. It is the next thing to being disenfranchised.

    But by voting for David Brat in the Seventh District Republican primary, we Democrats, independents, and Libertarians can make a big difference in American politics. It is your right to cast that vote. It is an “open” primary and it doesn’t preclude anyone from voting anyway they wish in November. It may be the only way to empower those who want to make a statement about the dysfunctional Congress and “politics as usual.”

    From what I know of Dave Brat, he is a good, honest, and honorable man. And from what I know of Eric Cantor, I can say only that he ran a truly dishonorable campaign against me back in 2002. He ducked debates, slandered me in slick mailings, questioned my patriotism and even mocked my Southern heritage. He simply cannot be taken at his word. You can call that “sour grapes” if you want to, but I am just telling it the way it was, and surely is. I can tell you that you will likely hear the same thing from his other former opponents, both Republican and Democrat.

    Under Cantor’s Majority Leadership, the Congress has sunk to its lowest public standing in history. Our nation has lost faith in our most important institutions. This is not a laughing matter. It is a national crisis. Eric Cantor should not be rewarded with another term.

    Every 7th District voter, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian and Independent can take an historic action on Tuesday, June 10th. A vote for David Brat will be heard not just throughout Washington, D.C. but around the world.

    Ben Jones
    Washington, Virginia

  7. Meta
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Jones believes he contributed to the Cantor loss.

    “Ain’t no freude like schadenfreude,” Jones said in an interview with The DailyNews on Wednesday.

    “It’s just a fact. I feel like I helped settle a score. The man offended me. He ran a really … low-down campaign and didn’t have to,” Jones said.

    Could it be the ‘Cooter Factor?’ Former Congressman Ben Jones was crowing Wednesday after having urged Democrats in Virginia to defeat vote against Cantor in Tuesday’s primary. Derek Storm/FilmMagic Could it be the ‘Cooter Factor?’ Former Congressman Ben Jones was crowing Wednesday after having urged Democrats in Virginia to defeat vote against Cantor in Tuesday’s primary.

    “He questioned my patriotism. He made fun of me for the ‘Dukes of Hazard’ and being a Southerner. He was condescending and he was just snotty. So yeah, I feel good that he lost and I had something to do with it.”

    Read more:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/congressman-dukes-hazzard-star-ben-jones-claims-cooter-factor-sunk-cantor-article-1.1826359#ixzz34R699l5s

  8. Eel
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I would love to see Cantor actually be eaten, like when the evil scientist guy gets eaten in Jurassic Park by the dinosaurs he creates. It would be fitting.

  9. Congressman Kerry Bentivolio
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    The role of the Majority Leader is to set the agenda in Congress. I’ve received hundreds of calls and e-mails from my constituents and their message is loud and clear — they want a Majority leader who will push an agenda of less government and more freedom.

    Congressman Labrador is a proven conservative leader for a new generation who’s interested in pushing ideas that serve the people and protect our freedoms.

    I enthusiastically endorse Raúl Labrador for Majority Leader and encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting new, bold conservative leadership.

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