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Eric Cantor: Laura Ingraham attacks cheapened the debate

Eric Cantor: Laura Ingraham attacks cheapened the debate

Understanding the reasons for the loss is the first challenge for establishment Republicans.

Defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) hit the Sunday news programs this morning in a curt manner and seemed to lay some blame for his loss on radio talk show host Laura Ingraham cheapening the debate.

Laura took it in stride.

But is the Republican Party serious about finding answers following the Cantor defeat? Grassroots Republicans and conservatives still express doubt if the party has even learned the right lessons from its 2012 loss.

Salena Zito tries to help the Republican Party establishment today with peeling back the onion on what is going on in America. Zito is correct — there is a rise of populism and Dave Brat tapped into that vein during his campaign against Cantor:

When Eric Cantor lost his primary race Tuesday, it wasn’t because he wasn’t conservative enough for his base. It wasn’t because of the Republicans’ tea party element. It had nothing to do with immigration reform, or some Democrat conspiracy to flood the polls. And it was not driven by right-wing talk-radio hosts or operatives from Heritage Action, Club for Growth, Citizens United or ForAmerica (which claimed Cantor’s defeat was an “apocalyptic moment for the GOP establishment”).
This was a complicated recipe, according to Republican strategist Bruce Haynes.

“There were more than four-and-twenty blackbirds baked into this pie,” Haynes said, adding that ultimately the loss had everything to do with Cantor: He lost touch with his constituency; he became too Washington, too associated with the D.C.-bubble brand; he forgot how to relate and to be that guy from his district.

A common thread weaves Cantor’s race to others, said Haynes, “and it’s populism.”

It is a cautionary thread — yet most people in Washington do not understand this moderate-in-tone populist wave. First, the wave is not going to take out every incumbent, so no “secret sauce” can “fix” it; second, it will have broad impact on both parties; third, it is relatively invisible because it has no name, no brand or party allegiance.

The other thing Dave Brat did very effectively and efficiently was to target voters that were outside of the normal Republican primary cohort:

Adler says Brat’s campaign used rVotes to expand its universe beyond the traditional Virginia GOP primary voters being targeted by Rep. Eric Cantor’s campaign. Adler, who previously told C&E he as an apolitical “computer guy” when VAN was founded, said several Tea Party campaigns had donated their data to Brat to allow him to expand his targeting universe.

“Now, suddenly he had access to hundreds if not thousands of different codes,” said Adler. “Funky stuff like anything from ‘voter owns only American cars’ to ‘known patriot group member’ to ‘voter flies a flag’ or ‘voter has an NRA sticker on their car.’ They were aggressively using the system to microtarget.”

Brat spent only $1,500 for using rVotes — about 1 percent of his total campaign’s budget. Adler said the campaign worked out a deal to buy a full membership, which can run as high as $20,000, if Brat won the primary.

If Eric Cantor — and in turn, Reince Prebius and the rest of the national Republicans — don’t correctly identify the causes of why he lost, they are doomed to be surprised again and again. Not only in GOP primaries but in general elections against better-positioned and smarter Democrat candidates.


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it wasn’t because he wasn’t conservative enough for his base

the problem is the gop keeps believing this BS.

The national GOP machine won’t recognize that it has POd the base. The national GOP won’t admit what is really going on because it doesn’t want to change. Both parties have done enough damage to the country and the public is fed up. The conventional wisdom is that no matter what happens, the public will get over it. Well, that’s not happening. The country is better served by having the most governing be the closest to the people. Central planning doesn’t work and neither does national party driven politics. The public has had it with those who want to keep and maintain big gov. It’s the Constitution, STUPID!!!!!

Big bureaucratic, centralized control never works better for anything, and it sure as hell doesn’t work better in government.

Repeal the 17th Amendment and start moving power back to the states. Actually SHRINK the federal government by about 50%…. not the RATE OF GROWTH of the federal government but the actual size of it.

Those two steps would be a great start.

Insufficiently Sensitive | June 15, 2014 at 2:53 pm

third, it is relatively invisible because it has no name, no brand or party allegiance.

It’s not a bit invisible. Time after time the polls show that most Americans think that immigration laws should be enforced. Cantor – and other Rs and Ds and the MSM – have made a career out of obfuscating that concept into the meaningless phrase ‘comprehensive immigration reform’, and all its associated political babble to dodge giving the voters a clear target.

With Brat staying clearly on the message of following the rule of law, and Cantor dancing around it to ‘please everyone’, the voters finally got a clear target in Cantor and cheerfully pulled the trigger.

Laura Ingraham was absolutely right. She didn’t “cheapen” the debate; she helped to focus it. Cantor’s support for amnesty for illegal aliens (euphemistically referred to as “comprehensive immigration reform”) is certainly part of the reason why Cantor lost, as it should be.

The U.S. has record numbers of people out of the labor force and unable to find jobs, record numbers of people on disability rolls, record numbers of people receiving food stamps (including millions of recent immigrants, both legal and illegal), and a record level of debt. We can’t afford to be enacting public policies that encourage more poor, unskilled (and criminal) foreigners to come and live here illegally. And it’s bad public policy to reward law-breaking in any event, even if we could afford it. As we’ve seen over and over and over again, rewarding illegal immigrants with legal status here simply encourages more and more illegal immigration.

Obama’s illegal DREAM Act-by-executive-order, and support by politicians like Cantor of yet another massive amnesty for illegal aliens, has already caused illegal immigration to skyrocket. We have no jobs for the unskilled, uneducated, non-English-speaking young men and middle-aged women currently flooding across our southern border. And the tens of thousands of poor foreign children that the Obama administration is currently using as pawns will end up costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars a year to educate and feed and support (and that’s on top of the hundreds of billions of dollars in benefits and services that U.S. taxpayers are already paying every year for their millions of illegal alien family members currently living here).

If politicians like Cantor want to support foolish policies like amnesty they can do so, but they shouldn’t then be surprised when political analysts like Ingraham justly criticize them for it, or when fed-up voters boot them out of office because of it.

If Eric Cantor — and in turn, Reince Prebius and the rest of the national Republicans — don’t correctly identify the causes of why he lost, they are doomed to be surprised again and again.

I think we can safely remove everything before the comma.

When incumbents on both sides lose they never think it was about their policy or their conduct.

Almost always it is one or both of those things.

Suppose no one’s going to feel bothered enough to put up a clip montage of Cantor’s attack ads on Brat.

Because those really elevated the debate, I’m sure.

PersonFromPorlock | June 15, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Nah. Time for the ‘pubbies to free their inner suicide and run Michael Bloomberg.

Give it up, Cantor. You didn’t do what your constituents wanted you to do. So they fired you.

Eric: Instead of stepping willingly on that MSM-Liberal nitwit question, how’bout you had responded with: “You stupid media twits want me to trash talk my own folks, huh? Get serious, Mister Host Guy.”

He lost because of immigration, period. It’s not rocket science.

Now, it is harder to poll House district primaries, especially in districts without a history of competitive races. But every single poll from every single firm showed Cantor with a big lead. They were not all wrong, Brat had a late surge.

Why? Several reasons, all of which are Cantor’s fault. First of all, he misused his money advantage by attacking Brat, who had little. This gave Brat free name recognition and instant status as a contender (else why attack him?) he could not have achieved on his own.

Then, Cantor continued his wishy-washy immigration stance, specifically endorsing a Dream Act-like bill “for the kids.”

Laura Ingraham brought her show to Richmond for a rally which generated huge publicity and momemtum.

Finally, news began to break of the flood of young illegals streaming in as word spread that Obama would let them all stay, just over a week before voting. It underlined the Brat/Ingraham argument perfectly.


Cantor held a lifetime ACU rating of 96, the House Republican average is 76.5. So the idea he will be replaced by “a more conservative Majority Leader” is frankly just stupid.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Estragon. | June 15, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    “So the idea he will be replaced by “a more conservative Majority Leader” is frankly just stupid.”

    What is stupid is when supporters of the GOP establishment STILL don’t get it, even while condescendingly ‘explaining’ it all to the rest of us.

    The voters weren’t voting for House Majority Leader, they were voting Cantor out in favor of a another, new conservative House District Representative. It was based on policy and principles, immigration included, but namely the practice of having the same principles after a successful election campaign as one claimed during the campaign. It was a district primary, not a congressional leadersip vote. The GOP will no doubt elevate Kevin McCarthy to ML, to protect the GOP establishment from the wolves at the door collectively called “the base.”

    But we just keep coming. Tick, tick, tick…..

      Estragon in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 15, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      Okay, smart guy: NAME the “more conservative than Cantor” member of the House who could be elected Majority Leader.

        Ragspierre in reply to Estragon. | June 16, 2014 at 10:09 am

        Raul Labradore

        (You might say that’s impossible, but…Brat…)

        Lady Penguin in reply to Estragon. | June 16, 2014 at 10:29 am

        Really, Cantor lost because of “immigration, period.” That’s a laugh and a half and a lie to boot. As a Virginian living in adjacent Congressional District to the 7th, it’s with great pleasure that I inform you and any other deliberately obtuse or trolling folks about Eric Cantor lost. Short answer: he became of DC politician instead of a representative and statesman.

        Now for a longer answer: Eric Cantor and his Young Guns became a household name around the state of Virginia as he tried to strong-arm and muscle his way into local GOP elections. It was called slating, and it’s whole purpose was to suppress the grassroots voter in the party. Do not make the mistake that we’re only talking “tea party” folks, that’s a silly meme the Establishment and Democrats make. No matter, that was just the beginning but it stirred up the grassroots across the state. Taken with the fact that Cantor had been losing popularity for a number of years in his district and the despicable campaign he ran against Brat only added fuel to the fire.

        Cantor simply was the poster-boy for the arrogance of DC.

          Lady Penguin in reply to Lady Penguin. | June 16, 2014 at 10:32 am

          I must apologize for my writing errors. Being incensed about the ignorance and the talking points, I clicked send without proofreading.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to Estragon. | June 16, 2014 at 1:17 pm

        You still don’t get it. You’re conflating the House District primary election with the elction of the next House Majority Leader. Cantor was not voted out of ML, he was voted out of his district’s primary. He’ll resign the ML accordingly.

        “So the idea he will be replaced by “a more conservative Majority Leader” is frankly just stupid.”

        Please name one person who said Cantor has to be voted out so we can have a more conservative ML? his constituents voted him out on some mixture of two major faults: ignoring constituent services and talking soft on immigration during an immigration crisis. His loss had nothing to do with his ML.

        I could care less about polls and ratings. Conservative is as conservative does, and Cantor simply isn’t. He’s an establishment hack with principles made of rubber and values made of tin.

i didn’t know RINOs would whine…

i thought they just snorted?

Ha. Laura Ingraham makes a joke and Cantor says “its not serious and it cheapens the debate”. Death spiral of a rudderless beltway insider.

Henry Hawkins | June 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Cantor whines like a shopkeeper who paid his protection money to the local gang and got burned out anyway. Lie down with dogs…