If you are like me, and you are in more ways that you would like to admit, sometime last night you opened your computer machine and exclaimed to you basset hounds/cats/significant other, “Holy shit, Eric Cantor lost!”
Then you probably giggled uncontrollably for hours on end, pausing to read the headlines again, and then giggled some more before going back to watching Law & Order: SVU reruns.
Today, as many of his pals in the House are saying Kaddish for him while calling him “my friend,” the postmortems are rolling in as pundits pick through the wreckage trying to figure out what the hell happened.
Let us count the ways.
Less than a week before voters dumped the House majority leader, an internal poll for Cantor’s campaign, trumpeted to the Washington Post, showed Cantor cruising to a 34-point victory in his primary. Instead, Cantor got crushed, losing by 10 percentage points.
In an email to National Journal, McLaughlin, whose firm has been paid nearly $75,000 by Cantor’s campaign since 2013, offered several explanations: unexpectedly high turnout, last-minute Democratic meddling, and stinging late attacks on amnesty and immigration.
Then McLaughlin cited the “Cooter” factor – the fact that former Rep. Ben Jones, a Georgia Democrat who played Cooter in The Dukes of Hazzard, had written an open letter urging Democrats to vote for Brat to help beat Cantor.
Also, the sun got in his eyes and he used Megan McArdle’s dyspeptic calculator.
Cantor had previously supported a “Dream Act”-like proposal to provide a path to citizenship for children who were brought to the United States illegally. “One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents,” Cantor said in a speech a year ago. “It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home.”
In his long-shot campaign, Brat attacked Cantor on that stance. “Eric Cantor is saying we should bring more folks into the country, increase the labor supply – and by doing so, lower wage rates for the working person,” Brat charged.
Pete Wilson did not single-handedly kill the Republican party in California by alienating the Mexicans just so some pisher across country could start making nice to them.
About 72 percent of registered voters in Cantor’s district polled on Tuesday said they either “strongly” or “somewhat” support immigration reform that would secure the borders, block employers from hiring those here illegally, and allow undocumented residents without criminal backgrounds to gain legal status
Because he didn’t have to worry too much about getting re-elected every two years, his political ambition was channeled into rising through the hierarchy of the House leadership. Rise he did, all the way up to the #2 spot, and he was waiting in the wings to become Speaker of the House.
The result was that Cantor’s real constituency wasn’t the folks back home. His constituency was the Republican leadership and the Republican establishment. That’s who he really answered to.
David Wasserman, a House political analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said another, more local factor has to be acknowledged: Mr. Cantor, who dreamed of becoming the first Jewish speaker of the House, was culturally out of step with a redrawn district that was more rural, more gun-oriented and more conservative.
“Part of this plays into his religion,” Mr. Wasserman said. “You can’t ignore the elephant in the room.”
It is important to remember that conservatives love Israel because they need it to let the End Times roll. The Jews? Not so much. They’re just landlords, and nobody likes their landlord, particularly the one who killed their Lord & Savior the first go-around.
And Cantor poured money into the race from the beginning.
Wary of allowing Tea Party groups to turn his district into a top battleground, Cantor unleashed an early and heavy barrage of negative ads against Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College who previously lost a race for the state legislature.
Cantor spent more than $1 million on the primary and attacked Brat for serving on an advisory board for former Gov. Tim Kaine at a time when the Democrat was pushing tax increases.
In an interview last night, Brat said those early attacks using his name gave him a million dollars worth of advertising he couldn’t afford himself. Well played, Eric Cantor consultants.
Let us add to the cornucopia of reasons why Eric Cantor will soon be out of a civil service job and forced to make millions as a lobbyist in an effort to keep himself knee-deep in ribeyes.
Eric Cantor is a dick.
One need only spend a few minutes watching Cantor on TV to realize that the only way he could be more dickish is if he was driving a black BMW while wearing Google Glasses. He’s smarmy in a passive aggressive way and one can imagine that same genteel southern accent may have once been used used by a landowner as he explained to a sharecropper that he’s going to need a bigger cut to cover the cost of a broken shovel.
Here is the great Charles Pierce explaining Cantor’s style:
Ever since the spittle-drenched results of the 2010 midterms swept him into being the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Cantor has demonstrated a remarkable ability to combine complete ignorance of practically every major issue with the unctuous personality of a third-string maitre d’ at a fourth-string steakhouse.
Here is Eric Cantor explaining that the GOP opposes a minimum wage increase because of … Obamacare.
Wow. What. A. Dick.
There are a lot of politicians who are dicks. Ted Cruz, with his face built for punching, comes to mind, with even the League of Dickish GOP Senators not liking him. But Cruz comes from Texas which is the repository of not only a lot of America’s oil, but also contains our National Dick Reserves keeping him safe since Cruz is the id of Texas made flesh.
Virginians in Cantor’s district no doubt chose one from column A and one from column B from the I Hate Eric Cantor menu above before ordering him out of the House. But years from now, when discussing his political demise, the details will seem a little fuzzy, the specific reasons lost in the mists of time. Eventually someone will say, “Why exactly did we vote him out?” the answer will be, “Well, he was kind of a dick.”
And everyone will agree.
And then go back to watching Law & Order: SVU reruns.