The Brat Upset

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.

Recent items of interest by Belmont readers based on Amazon click-throughs.


Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway
Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality
The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries
On the Psychology of Military Incompetence
We Were Liars
The Idiot Vote: The Democrats’ Core Constituency
Troubleshooting & Repairing Audio & Video Cassette Players & Recorders
Fellowes 9-Foot Heavy Duty Indoor Extension Cord – 99595
Gardman R616 Fold Away Garden Kneeler and Seat
Spirit Horses
Storm Over The South China Sea
The War of the Words (The World of Information)

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
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