Soon-to-be-former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was soundly defeated in his primary on Tuesday, which marked the first time a House Majority Leader has ever been beaten in a primary. The Washington media (who basically ignored Cantor's challenger, Dave Brat, but ok let's trust them now) claim this defeat was all about immigration. Activists on the ground, however, point to Cantor being completely out of touch with his district, representing the interests of Wall Street rather than the 7th District of Virginia. Indeed, Eric Cantor was the definition of a big government Republican who loved crony capitalism, especially the Ex-Im bank, which provides billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies to struggling companies such as Boeing, which made $4.5 Billion last year.
So now, the race is on to elect a new Majority Leader. And who is the front-runner? Eric Cantor's hand-picked successor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. Are House Republicans serious? Voters just sent a chilling message to the Washington establishment that more of the same will get you sent home, but sure elect another big government Republican to House leadership. The Washington Examiner explains the absurdity:
defeat presents House Republicans with an opportunity to signal - ahead of the 2014 midterm elections - that they're listening to conservatives. But by elevating McCarthy, who is next in line as whip, they'd be sending the opposite message - that they're determined to crush conservatives.
Several groups placed McCarthy's voting record well to the left of Cantor's for 2013. The American Conservative Union rated McCarthy at 72 percent compared with 84 percent for Cantor; Heritage Action ratings place Cantor at 53 percent and McCarthy at 42 percent; and Club for Growth had Cantor at 68 percent and McCarthy at 53 percent. Moving away from conservative groups, the National Journal rated Cantor the 80th most conservative member of the House while McCarthy was 170th.
McCarthy voted for a Hurricane Sandy relief bill that included spending that was unrelated to providing emergency aid, fought for the farm and food stamp bill, fought reforms to the federal sugar program, and backed an extension of the corporate welfare agency known as the Export-Import Bank.
It would be bizarre if instead of going in a new direction after this stunning defeat, House Republicans just rallied around Cantor's own pick. It's especially demoralizing to conservatives whose energy the GOP will need this November.
Way to go House Republicans! Instead of listening to the voters, who just sent Eric Cantor, who by the way spent more money at DC steakhouses than Dave Brat spent on his entire campaign, packing, let's put another big government Republican in leadership!
What is comforting, however, is that Cantor's defeat reminded some (but apparently not enough) lawmakers that ultimately they answer to the people. If House Republicans didn't get the message this time, then I am confident the voters will keep cantering over them until they get the message. The only question is, who will be next?
Note: While Campaign for Liberty does not endorse candidates for office, we can and do endorse candidates for intra-Party elections. Expect an endorsement from C4L if a true liberty conservative jumps in the race for Majority Leader.
Tags: Eric Cantor