By Lynn R. Mitchell
“I was thinking about this prisoner swap. I kind of wish that President Obama would have thought this through a little bit more. Instead of sending five Taliban MVPs over there, he could have just traded one Eric Cantor.” –Laura Ingraham, conservative talk show host
What is she thinking? She is suggesting one of the most powerful leaders in United States government — the second most powerful Republican, no less — be traded to the Taliban, even if in jest.
I thought Laura Ingraham was smarter than that but she appears to have gotten caught up in the anti-Cantor frenzy in the 7th Congressional District of Virginia. The remarks came during a Dave Brat appearance in Henrico ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primary between Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Dave Brat.
Here’s the question: Why are the tea party-libertarian forces going after a solid RED seat of a solid REPUBLICAN in a purple state that has been losing to the Democrats the past few years and has turned over leadership of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and two U.S. Senators to the Dems?
Rational, pragmatic writers are questioning not only primarying Eric Cantor but also the badgering from anti-Cantor activists. Matt Bai wrote (see The tea party is after Eric Cantor. Seriously):
In a lot of ways, Dave Brat is your typical tea party-style insurgent running in a Republican primary this year. He’s an economics professor at a tiny college, a striped-tie, free market enthusiast who decries debt and immigration. He has the backing of the crankiest conservative bloggers and radio hosts, one of whom, Laura Ingraham, appeared with him at a rally this week.
But Brat isn’t running to unseat some mush-ball moderate or no-name state legislator backed by the local chamber of commerce. No, Brat’s opponent in next Tuesday’s primary is Eric Cantor, the congressman from Virginia’s 7th District and the second most powerful Republican in the House. Which highlights a question that’s becoming more germane as this season of Republican disunion drags on:
Just how conservative do you have to be before these conservative activists will leave you alone?
For reasons why Virginia is fortunate to have the Majority Leader of the United States Congress from our state, see Brian Kirwin’s excellent post (“I Support Eric Cantor”) that says:
It is a profoundly telling statement on the sorry state of the Virginia blogosphere that one of the most controversial statements a Virginia blogger can make is that he supports the highest ranking elected Virginia Republican in the country.
I support Eric Cantor. I look at those who want to throw him out of office with a look of “What are you? Nuts?”
Eric Cantor is Second-in-Command in the House of Representatives, a stone’s throw away from Speaker of the House. Know when the last time a Virginia Republican was Speaker of the House of Representatives?
Never! Never ever.
The last Speaker from Virginia at all was a Democrat in 1845, and that was a time when the Speakership rotated every term.
Pardon me if thinking the possibility of the first Republican Speaker of the House from Virginia in the history of the world would be a good thing, but apparently supporting such a possibility makes me a turncoat, a RINO, part of the Establishment, and other assorted names usually hurled by those who lose elections.
For that matter, guess how many House Majority Leaders have been from Virginia? One.
And whackos on the far right think it should be the top order of business in Virginia to oust Virginia’s top Republican.
No Virginian has ever served as Minority Leader, so perhaps that’s the real goal of the anti-Cantor dweebs.
Luckily for the sane among us, the bark of those bloggers is worse than their bite. They’ll back a gadfly and print their sad press releases day after day and applaud their $5 contributions from people whose circular intellect proclaims them to be smarter than the 80% of Republicans who think they’re crazy.
I’m a Republican. I write for Bearing Drift. I don’t get a dime of consulting fees from Eric Cantor, although I happily would if he ever had an opponent worth worrying about. As usual, he doesn’t.
And when Rep. Cantor is the House Majority Leader, my job as a Republican is to make sure Republicans keep that majority, give him a Republican Senate to work with him, and a Republican in the White House. I work to defeat Democrats.
Wasting time firing pea shooters at the backs of our own Republicans is a sad waste of time, energy, money and life.
Matt Bai concluded his column with this:
If Eric Cantor isn’t anti-government, anti-spending, anti-Obama enough to insulate himself from grass-roots rebellion, then you’ve got to ask yourself: Who is?