|Having drunk the kool-aid, and realizing that it doesn't work, Rep. Cantor looks ill.|
Oh, there were so many choices for titles to a post about House majority leader Cantor getting offed by the even nuttier right. I was pretty close to going with "Meet the New Brat, Same as the Old Brat," but I don't yet know that will prove true.
What is true is that I'm happy as ever to have fled Virginia's 7th Congressional District. Not quite a month ago, I wrote about those of us who have joined the Virginia Diaspora, citing among other factors that Eric Cantor, former Reagan Youth stalwart and petulant obstructionist extraordinaire, was being challenged from the right. Apparently, pundits wrote off the challenge, even though the tea party and Brat brigade had recently ousted Cantor's henchmen in the state GOP convention, under-cutting the now Establishment incumbent. He managed to keep that one fairly quiet, but losing by 11 points in a primary getting national attention is not something that can be ducked. 24 hours after the election, he's already conceded the power he once had.
Which would be cause for rejoicing, if there weren't a pretty solid chance that David Brat, blindered economist, weren't now a very good bet to win the 7th District's seat in Congress. I'd like to think that the Henrico suburbs that voted for Obama might shy away form a Tea Party wing-nut, but odds are they will once again vote against their own self-interest and elect the guy. I'd love to believe that Brat won by virture of Democrats voting in the GOP primary, sabotaging the Republicans by nominating a guy too far right to win in the general election, but I know enough old-minded Virginians (the ones who show up during working hours on a mid-week primary, the ones who feel threatened by the Socialist Negro) to believe that they were the ones that made the difference. They got rid of the sharp dressing guy who compromised once, and installed a more conservative, more dogmatic, more Christian man.
None of the breathless coverage today veered into the fact that Cantor is a Jew in the GOP South. And to be honest, Richmond is the rare southern city that has been fairly accepting of its Hebraic residents (one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the US is there, and Jeff Davis even appointed Judah Benjamin to cabinet posts), but the modern voters seem happy to go Old testament on this one, turning him out into the desert as a scapegoat. It's no longer sufficient to be for corporations and big money, the modern Republican candidate must establish his bona fides as an utterly dogmatic right-winger, never giving an inch. The emphasis on Jesus and God from the new Brat, comforting to so many Virginia Christians who imagine themselves oppressed, could have much darker echoes as the radical right gropes its way toward control of the Reichstag.
Hopefully, that dark a future is mere speculation. The bare facts, however, are bad enough. Faced with an economy in which the 0.1% reap all the benefits, and have bought Republican obstruction to anything the Democrats propose--in short, an economy guaranteed to further impoverish nearly everyone--well over 50% voted the punish the guy who they vaguely sense may have compromised somewhere along the way, replacing him with an even more strident anti-government zealot.
Will the Virginians who voted Brat in at the primary hand him a seat in Congress? Probably.
Will they one day realize that votes like that amounted to handing over their hard-earned money to oligarchs, the only ones who can afford clean water and filtered air? Probably not. They'll blame a Black man, or a Jew, or a Socialist (or a Woman, should Hillary or Elizabeth get the Democratic nod). Even if they realize that they were in fact fooled again, it will be too late.