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Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Gage Skidmore via
Gage Skidmore via Flickr

On Tuesday, voters in Virginia’s 7th congressional district deemed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) just not conservative enough for re-election. Challenger David Brat, a little-known economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, handed Cantor a stunning 56 to 44 percent defeat in the Republican primary, and is now being touted as the Tea Party’s best underdog story.

Given Cantor’s long record as a hard-hitting right-winger, however, one must wonder how extreme you have to be to win GOP support these days.

A member of the House since 2001, Cantor has long represented the far right’s interests in Congress. His name became almost synonymous with ultra-conservatism and, in many ways, Cantor paved the way for the Tea Party’s rise. And while Brat is now being heralded as the “Tea Party candidate,” and Tea Party groups are celebrating Cantor’s defeat, they seem to be forgetting that the man they call a “moderate” was a member of the Tea Party before the Tea Party was cool.

In fact, a walk down memory lane shows that when it comes to being conservative, it’s hard to outflank Cantor. Now that his reign as majority leader is coming to an end, let’s revisit some of Cantor’s most memorable right-wing moments — which still failed to land him another term in Congress.

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  • Daniel Jones

    The reason Can’t-or-Won’t got nixed by his own putrid backers is that he got name recognition.
    Specifically, he became someone that could actually be blamed for the sins of the extreme right.
    So now they’re electing a new nonentity, while guiding Can’t-or-won’t into a cushy consultation or money laundering post.

    • johninPCFL

      He’ll end up heading a PAC and keeping a few million $ for himself while following the teabagger tradition of spending none of the donated money on actual candidates.

  • jointerjohn

    Despite the pandering he lost their support because the TP right are absolutists. With them it is all or nothing, no shades of gray in anything. In time all candidates will realize it is impossible to gain and hold their support, it simply can’t be done with such a bunch of rigid ideologues. If the republican party is to survive they will have to give this crowd the boot, and they all know it. They also know that when they do that they will be a minority party again for a few years while they rebuild a middle-right base to winning strength, and the gerrymandering they did in 2011 will make that even more difficult. Two choices now for that party and neither of them is good.

  • charleo1

    “I’ve got a tiger by the tail it’s plain to see. And I won’t be much when she gets thru with me!” Buck Owens. It was a meeting that was to change the Republican Party forever. As thousands of jubilant supporters celebrated the election of a new President. The Country that Nov. was in the throes of a great financial crisis. No one one knew how deep, or how long it might last. The Country in a few weeks would also begin it’s 7th year of our longest war, with no end in sight. It was in this atmosphere then, that in that Washington restaurant, Republican leaders, including Cantor, decided to do whatever was necessary to scuttle the Presidency of Barack Obama. A part of that decision was to bring into their inner circles, and hook up with this disparate lot of far Right Wackos, conspiracy theorists, anti-government malcontents. Many carrying their dreams of armed insurrection, and retribution for places such as Waco, and Ruby Ridge, festering in their heads. To first absorb their energy and then, unwittingly, to become them. It is in this form of comeuppance then, that that, self serving, Party before Country, decision would come to cause the political demise of one of their own’s rising stars. And likely a whole lot more, before this is done. No, it is not quite, “Sic Semper Tryannis.” But damned close, in my opinion. More like, “Curae leves, loquutur isentes, stupent.” Small griefs speak, but great griefs leave us dumbfounded, and speechless. As the defeat of Cantor, has left the GOP.

  • Jack Hughes

    As Cantor has now learned, there’s nothing more pathetic than shamelessly pandering to kooks and know-nothings — and still losing.

    For Tea Party theocrats, Cantor just wasn’t of the right tribe.

  • Independent1

    Unfortunately, Cantor did a lot more than pander to some groups, he agreed, along with a number of other GOP legislators, to do everything he could to sabotage the American economy on the day that Obama was inaugurated back in 2009. See this:

    UPDATE: Eric Cantor Plotted to Sabotage US Economy in Secret Meeting with Hensarling & Luntz

    In Robert Draper’s book, “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives” Draper wrote that on inauguration night, 2009, during a four hour, “invitation only” meeting with GOP Hate-Propaganda Minister, Frank Luntz, the below listed Senior GOP Law Writers literally plotted to sabotage, undermine and destroy America’s Economy.