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The Brat Upset

June 10th, 2014 - 7:42 pm

Yesterday Salon gave these words of advice to the GOP.  It urged the leadership to stop moving to the right. Nothing but loonies there. “Under pressure from conservatives, GOP leaders unveil new agenda that shows they haven’t learned a thing”. In their best soothing tones it counseled that if politicians want to have any hope of winning, they had to become respectable — like the Democrats. Salon believed Cantor was being pilloried for even talking to the Democrats.  The best thing to do was reject them.

There was never much hope of Cantor budging on immigration reform, but it certainly didn’t help that he’s come under fire in the last few weeks by Tea Party conservatives who suspect that he’s secretly working to implement “amnesty.” … Cantor will defeat Brat and he’ll defeat him handily, but he still needs to take him seriously because Brat is pulling in support from influential conservative figures like radio host Laura Ingraham …

While we’re on the topic of conservatives pressuring the leadership on hot-button issues, Cantor’s June memo is also noteworthy for what it says about healthcare reform. Early last month, the House Republicans unexpectedly went dark on Obamacare – after years of hearings and countless repeal votes, legislators suddenly seemed to lose interest in the health law. According to Cantor’s memo, the cease-fire will come to an end as the House GOP plans to do … something on healthcare.

The extremists were in action again. Hold the course, it urged, and win the day. Fast forward a few hours to today. Eric Cantor lost to his unknown Republican primary challenger, David Brat. “Cantor raised $5.44 million, while Brat raised $207,000, a huge disparity.” Cantor outspent a dark horse challenger by 25 to 1 and lost.

Why?  Apparently Salon’s advice didn’t work out so good.

Pundits will pore over the data, but here are the obvious data points. NBC12 notes that Brat accused Cantor of selling out on Obamacare.

Here is what Brat accuses Cantor of in a radio interview. The ad claims that Cantor “voted to fully fund Obamacare in October.”

Is that true? According to Politifact Virginia that claim is “mostly false”. According to Reporter Sean Gorman that was only a temporary spending bill only a small portion of which deals with Obamacare.

“As far as the whole universe of Obamacare spending, this measure didn’t contain that much. Most of Obamacare spending is mandatory spending which means that it wasn’t effected by this measure that Cantor supported,” said Gorman.

Evidently the GOP voters did not listen to “Politifact Virginia”. The Times Dispatch carried a side-by-side between Brat and Cantor on the issues just before the elections. Here are some of Brat’s declared positions.

I oppose amnesty and will work instead to train and promote apprenticeship programs which take advantage of returning American veterans, students, and the unemployed so that everyone can participate in the American dream.

I will fight to defund and repeal Obamacare. The House controls the purse strings. Period.

With 50 million Americans in their working-years unemployed, the last thing we should do is provide amnesty or any form of work authorization to illegal immigrants. … A vote for Eric Cantor is a vote for open borders and corporate handouts.

We do not have a strategy for victory in Afghanistan despite the number of soldiers that have sacrificed their lives to fight for our freedoms. There is no substitute for victory as General MacArthur stated, and as Sun Tzu said many years ago, prolonged warfare benefits no one.

Edward Snowden committed treason when he gave our national security secrets to the world’s most dangerous terrorists. If Snowden gave sensitive U.S. intelligence information to Russia’s — or any other — foreign government, then he’s a traitor by definition. Even if he did not, passing the stolen information straight to the media is a violation of the law, and he should face trial for that.

The NSA’s indiscriminate collection of data on all Americans is a disturbing violation of our Fourth Amendment right to privacy. Snowden shed light on the violations of our privacy, and we must guard against intrusion on our constitutional rights.

Superficially Brat’s positions are not that much different from Cantor’s, except that they are less nuanced.  But this contest was not decided on policy. It was decided on the question of governance.  It was about ‘who decides’. It’s no longer about what ‘what is your position on tax credits’. It’s now about ‘whose side are you on?’

The biggest reason Cantor lost is probably because he’s an incumbent. The natives are restless.  They are tired of the deciders; bone weary of the reasonableness of Washington, the respectability of open borders, the incontrovertibility of climate change, the inevitability of higher taxes, the ‘ended debate’ over more government healthcare and the high minded campaign to sympathize with the Taliban.

Some voters are evidently at the point where they’ll choose anybody who isn’t in office, following the dictum of the late Bill Buckley. “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

They’re voting for the phonebook.

There is a tendency among pundits to imagine the future as a continuation of the past. In reality timelines are full of discontinuities, as I pointed out in my post about Ceaușescu’s Last Speech. Tomorrow has never been Just Another Day.  Sometimes things do change. Surprise, surprise.


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Top Rated Comments   
I have an anecdote about Eric "The Leader" Cantor.

Many years ago I had the TV tuned to CNBC, ignoring it while doing some menial task. Eventually Eric Cantor came on, with some thuggish looking democrat from New Jersey, so they could be interviewed about some political question.

"The Leader" would politely let the democrat talk, then when it was Cantor's turn the democrat would immediately talk over him. This went on for the whole segment. By the end of it I was staring at the screen in irritation, having stopped what I was doing, and Cantor looked- to quote what Abraham Lincoln said about a certain Civil War general- confused and stunned, like a duck hit upon the head.

I recall that at the time there was talk Cantor would run for the US senate, and I remember thinking he was far too hapless to pull that off successfully. In the event he didn't even try, and I wasn't surprised. When someone so obviously ambitious as Cantor couldn't even manage to get his points across when matched up against some random backbench democrat I took that as a bad sign for both his competence and his future.

Fast forward to today. Cantor obviously was able to weasel his into becoming the House majority leader, which speaks volumes about the GOP establishment. With his relentless ambition, a breezy willingness to betray the people who voted for him, plus a surprising lack of political ability, he was an excellent fit for the present party leadership- and no wonder he was able to become majority leader.

Good riddance to him.

24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am overjoyed that Cantor got various important body parts handed to him. And I hope that Cochran has the same thing happen in the Mississippi runoff.

However, we ARE dealing with Institutional Republicans. In Mississippi, we are seeing Cochran and Haley Barbour openly call for Democrats to vote in the Republican runoff to save Cochran. And Cochran’s teleprompter [he is literally too senile to speak extemporaneously] is attacking McDaniel in terms Democrats use. There is no way that Cochran can endorse McDaniel now in the General. So we can expect that in Mississippi, like the Institutionals always do, they will support the Democrat rather than the TEA Party Republican.

In VA-07, Cantor has the choice of running as a write-in in the General without party affiliation [and he would have unlimited Republican funds if he does and has 100% name recognition], or supporting the Democrat write in.

We have history on this. Expect the Republican Party to not support Brat or McDaniel [assuming he wins] at all. And to covertly and not so covertly support the Democrat.

And it may be that Cantor’s loss will motivate Boehner to move on Amnesty and Permanent Open Borders now, rather than wait till after the primaries are over.

Just being realistic. We cannot trust the Institutional Republicans any more than we can trust the Obama regime. Celebrate tonight, be ready to fight both sides tomorrow.

Subotai Bahadur
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
I live in Cantor's district, which is probably the most conservative in Virginia, so much so that the Dems don't run serious candidates, if any. If he'd given a nod to Ted Cruz now and then, showed up at a Tea Party event, spoke plainly about Captain Benghazi's fecklessness on Fox a few times, the seat was his for life.
When he became Majority Leader, the headers on his newsletter and schedules, which as a constituent I subscribed to, went from "Congressman Eric Cantor" to "The Leader", and he came out swinging with a published meme of "Young Guns" taking charge. That was all hat and no cattle.
One would think as "The Leader", he'd take the fight to the opposition, present his case to the people, appear on Fox at every opportunity (Harry Reid certainly does), and maybe comment on one or two of the conservative talk shows to present his take on issues.
Instead, he mostly stayed in DC, refused invitations from talk show hosts, worked back room deals and never answered questions from constituents simply and directly, but redirected or equivocated. It seemed to me most of what he said would numb a guy on meth, rather than inspire followers. My sense of the man was that he was always straddling the fence with his finger in the air, looking around to be sure he didn't step in a pasture paddy whichever side he came down on.
He had it made and blew it, caring more about his DC social circles and power brokers than us, and we could feel it, so we dumped the pasture paddies on his head today.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (70)
All Comments   (70)
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Well, O did say the war in Iraq was over. He got that right.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am forever amazed at the Democratic habit of offering Republicans advice that adds up to "You really should try to become us." Where in the world does any country, business, or undertaking of any kind take advice from its competitors? Does Macy's take advice from Gimbel's? Liberal arrogance knows no bounds. The Democrats should look around. Their perfect president is unraveling before Republican eyes.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cantor is the Poster Boy of the too-clever-by-half school. Based on reports today, Team Cantor knew trouble was brewing some time ago. An honest Cantor would have stood up and stated:
1. I acknowedge we have ignored the vast majority of the population that wants the border under control because . . . .
2. We have a GOP donor base that is about as single-issue as can be, and they're demanding amnesty first, even though we can't trust Obama to do much else, and
3. I also acknowledge you suspect I will pass something that sounds tough, send it to a conference with the repulsive bag of excrement the senate passed months ago, fold like a cheap suit, drop the non-amendable outcome back in the house, pass it with 90% Dem votes, and STILL run on my 'conservative' record. Therefore . .
4. I pledge that nothing will come to the house floor until the executive enforces existing law.

I still wouldn't trust him at that point, but at least I'd feel like there was some clarity.

What he actually did instead was call in his dem partner in the above scenario, and have him feign outrage at Cantor's opposition to Dear Leader.

I don't have the words to express my disgust at such a tactic.

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Since I haven't heard mention of LLIII's organization being involved in this particular election, I assume that Cantor's defeat was a grass roots uprising of 'another' type. Not that there's anything 'wrong' with that......
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Seemingly plausible scenario: there will be a 3-persons' race - Brat, Cantor and some dem. Guess who will win?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
In the Virginia 7th, the Dems dredged up a candidate, Jack Trammell, to run against Brat in the general election. Virginia law will not allow Cantor's name to be printed on the general election ballot, but if he takes his still deep war chest and mounts an aggressive write in campaign, he just might split the Republican vote enough to give the Dem a prayer. I see our scumbag pseudo Libertarian Robert Sarvis will be back on the ballot this fall to suck off votes from the Repub running against our Senator Mark Warner, (Drone, VA) Sarvis cost Ken Cuccinelli the governor's election last fall, giving us Clinton acolyte and cancer cell Terry McAuliffe. Sarvis was financed chiefly by one of Obumbler's biggest bundlers, Texas software billionaire Joe Liemandt.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just watched Cantor's press. He seems to rule out his participation in November.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Sometimes things do change. Surprise, surprise."

Change you can REALLY believe in.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Change you don't have to believe in -- because you'll actually see evidence of it!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
BTW - Is the PJ Media site especially screwed up the past few days or is it just me?
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've been using the Epic browser for the last couple of months, and I haven't had any problems accessing this site.

Epic is Chromium-based, and I generally like it, except that embedded videos don't work on some sites, including PJM. I haven't been able to figure out why.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
It isn't just you. I tried four different browsers last night and couldn't access Wretchard on any of them. Updating Firefox didn't help. At the moment I'm reading BC on Opera. Chrome allows me to read the first page but not the comments; if I try to access the comments, I get a prompt that says "Bad Request: Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand." I haven't been able to read BC on Chrome for the past month.
I'm beyond disgusted with PJM.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I haven't been able to raise BC on IE 11 since the middle of May, but I installed Chrome just for BC and it works fine.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I found the latest update to Pale Moon and Firefox solved all the browsing problems.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh no --it ain't just you.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's not forget Dave Brat in in this story. He is one impressive dude.

http://davebratforcongress.com/about-dave/
"Dave’s journey led him to Princeton where he obtained a Masters in Divinity and on to American University where he earned a Ph.D. in Economics."

Not that the credentials mean anything, but this guy appears to be a fusion of religious conviction, free market economics and deep respect for the Constitution and America's founding principles. Eric Cantor may not be the worst politician in D.C., but Brat appears to be operating on a whole different level.

A friend of mine from that district is a big supporter of Brat and put him on my radar screen several months ago. After taking a cursory look at his bio, I promptly forgot all about him. After all, what chance did he have against Cantor?
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Atop all that you said, he has the 'direct focus' --direct speech, direct listening, direct, face-value apprehension.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
In the future I suspect we'll look back on Obama in appreciation, if certainly not gratitude, of the way he and his ilk finally went too far. They probably could've gone on forever but they had to take it over the top and start the awakening of the public. Now, I hope, the pendulum is swinging.

"Beware the wrath of a patient man.''--John Dryden

(and the public, too ...)
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
However spectacular this is, it is only a small (and possibly reversible) upset to the establishment.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
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