Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eric Cantor: The Arrogance Of Power

Perhaps it’s because he rose to the top so quickly. Eric Cantor was elected to the House of Representatives in 2000. After only one term, he was appointed Chief Deputy Republican Whip. This made him a major Washington insider while still in his thirties.

Or, it might be the fact that the Seventh District of Virginia was designed as a safe district for Republicans. Eric has been reelected four times, never getting less than 63% of the vote cast. The district has been represented in the Congress by Republicans since 1971. In the last three presidential elections, the district has voted Republican.

Or, maybe it’s because Representative Cantor has led a charmed life in Washington. Although he was closely connected with the corruption of Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay, Mr. Cantor came away unscathed. See The New Teflon Kid.

I guess it’s not surprising that Eric Cantor radiates an aura of arrogance. He is the golden boy. He is destined to rise to higher positions of power in Washington. And Eric Cantor is not going to let a little thing like an election get in his way. Eric isn’t really running to keep his Seventh District seat. He is running for House Majority Leader. And that election is decided by his fellow Republicans in Washington, not by the voters of the Seventh District.

When the Congress adjourns so that members can return to their districts to campaign, Eric Cantor stays in Washington. He has no need to campaign. Although other incumbent representatives participate in debates so that their constituents can make intelligent decisions on election day, Eric Cantor refuses to debate. As he puts it, he is much too busy in Washington working on creating jobs. He can’t be expected to take time out to debate. After all, it’s not like he can lose.

Of course, when Eric is through creating jobs he does come back to the district. But still, he will not debate. In fact, he is not in the district to campaign, but for a victory tour. Every other candidate (and athlete) waits until the race is over before taking a victory lap. Not Eric. He is so sure that his reelection is a sure thing that he is celebrating in advance.

I don’t want you to think that Eric Cantor doesn’t like to talk to his constituents. That’s not true. He will gladly talk with any constituent so long as he or she is committed to his reelection. Those constituents are bound to further inflate his ego. But he doesn’t want to see or hear from those who oppose him. First of all because anything they might say is obviously wrong. Second because he doesn’t want any of the real voters in Washington to think that he is anything but the most beloved favorite son of the Seventh District.

One other thing—because he is a golden boy and his constituents are mere mortals, Eric Cantor doesn’t expect anyone will notice if he says a few things that are not quite true in his reelection campaign. For example, Eric has the chutzpah to be running against Washington. Here’s a guy who has been a Washington insider for at least the last eight years and he thinks we won’t notice if he portrays himself as an outside reformer. Eric also portrays himself as a fiscal conservative. When exactly did this transformation take place? When he lusted for advancement in the party and therefore voted consistently with the Bush Administration, Eric Cantor voted to cut taxes and to significantly increase federal spending. During the years when George W. Bush was president, Eric Cantor voted to increase our federal debt by an outrageous four trillion dollars. See Eric Canter a Fiscal Conservative?—No Way

But, Eric Cantor is sure that no one will notice the inconsistencies. He is sure he will not only be reelected by his compliant constituency in the Seventh District but also that he will be elected House Majority leader in January. And if that happens, trusted reader, his arrogance will know no bounds. Is there something beyond intolerable?

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