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.