Comedian John Fugelsang and MSNBC host Ed Schultz mocked outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on Friday for planning to leave office on Aug. 18, rather than finish his term.
“He’s pulling the Palin,” Schultz said, a dig at Sarah Palin’s abrupt end to her tenure as Alaska’s governor in July 2009.
Cantor told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) to convene a special concurrent election for his district on Nov. 4, the date of the general election.
Cantor said the second election would allow his replacement to serve constituents in the state’s 7th District to be represented immediately following the results and serve in the “consequential lame-duck session,” rather than begin serving in January 2015, when the House returned from its winter break.
However, Fugelsang speculated that Cantor’s real reason for leaving office early had more to do with furthering his own ambitions, rather than looking out for the voters.
“He can make $174,000 a year in Congress sitting around and doing nothing, or make untold millions being a lobbyist and paying congressmen bribes to sit around and do nothing,” Fugelsang told Schultz. “I think we all know what this is about: he has to wait one year to become a lobbyist, and this gives him a head start.”
Fugelsang also accused Cantor of hypocritcally asking McAuliffe to pay for the election after complaining about “government waste.”
Cantor was knocked off in the June 10 GOP primary by Tea Party challenger Dave Brat, who undermined the incumbent’s base in the district by portraying him as an ally to President Barack Obama when it came to immigration reform.
On Friday, Fugelsang said Cantor’s local voters could tell he was more interested in moving up politically than in serving their interests.
“This guy wanted John Boehner’s job,” Fugelsang said. “Eric Cantor wanted to be Speaker of the House for years. He was like Iago to John Boehner’s Othello, if Othello was orange, instead of Black. And Boehner’s had to deal with this for a long time. If my best friend wanted my job, I’d spray-tan my hangovers, as well.”
Watch the discussion, as aired on MSNBC on Friday, below.