If I were a politician, I hope I’d be ruthless.
If I weren’t, I’d be a certain loser. Everyone I ever met it in that profession was far from a choirboy. The village priest is not likely to be able to stand up to the likes of, say, Harry Reid, which is only about a couple of degrees short of standing up to Saddam. I wish it were otherwise, but that’s the truth. You don’t have to be David Axelrod or Karl Rove to know that.
That famous remark attributed to Truman — “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen” — is famous for a reason.
So, egotistical as I may be, on the very few occasions people have talked to me about running for office, flattered as I may have been, I have just rolled my eyes. I have to be honest. I couldn’t take it.
But speaking of rolling my eyes, that’s what I did when I read an article here on PJ Media about Eric Cantor, alleging the minority leader’s campaign people were threatening (not actually doing, as far as I know, but threatening) to bankrupt Republican coffers in Cantor’s Virginia district to weaken his Tea Party primary adversary.
In other words, as they say in Casablanca, I was “shocked, shocked” to learn there was hardball being played by a professional politician.
(Well, minor league hardball anyway, because that’s what it was here. Actually I’d be really shocked to learn that hardball wasn’t being played by politicians from any party — Democrat, Republican or Whig. I wish Romney had played more in 2012. We wouldn’t be in the pickle we’re in.)
Which leads me to a larger point. Coming into this epochal political season, how do we judge politicians and candidates?
Eric Cantor is an interesting case. (Full disclosure: I know him personally and like him.) Nevertheless, although he was Obama’s original bete noire/persona non grata in the Congress (remember that?) and he pioneered something called the YouCut program to bring the public actively into what most of us want, a serious cut in government spending, I am aware that many members of the Republican base are dissatisfied with what I might call his lack of militancy. Undoubtedly, there’s some truth to that, although it’s mighty difficult to judge the ins and outs of what’s possible inside Congress from the outside.
On the other hand — and you knew this was coming — there’s a reason to support Eric Cantor, even consider him a necessary man. That reason is foreign policy, specifically the Middle East, Israel-Palestine and Iran. There is no question that Cantor has been the most important supporter of Israel and opponent of a nuclear Iran in the U.S. Congress for the last decade at least. He also has a senior enough position to have had an impact, though not enough, I fear.
This is hugely important in our time (yes, it’s no secret I’m Jewish — you can factor that in if you wish), even more important than Obamacare, the IRS scandal and all the other excrescences of the current administration for the idiotically simple reason that nuclear war cannot be walked back. You cannot un-bomb an atomic bomb on a city or clean up a dirty nuke once released in a shopping mall.
With a secretary of State who sees Israel on the verge of becoming an apartheid state and with negotiations with the mullahs being held in secret by our government, we need people like Cantor to yell “Basta!” (We certainly need more than that, but we better have that anyway.)
So this leads me back to the general question of how do we judge. One word: carefully. Whether a candidate is a Tea Party member or a so-called RINO would never be my first consideration, or even my fifth. I would look at the person as completely as possible and weigh all the particulars I can find.
Also I would keep in mind there is no such thing as a “perfect Republican” or a perfect anything else. Every human I have met has strengths and weaknesses in varying degrees and can be used for different purposes. Seeing people in groups is reactionary. It is, as we know, what Democrats do.