The Washington political establishment took a whupping last night when Virginian voters staunchly defeated Eric Cantor in the Republican congressional primary. Cantor’s defeat is one of the biggest upsets in congressional races in a generation.
The obituaries on the Tea Party were premature. Washington pundits will have to stop touting Cantor as the future Speaker of the House & presidential timber.
There were numerous policy issues aside from Cantor’s perceived arrogance:
* Cantor had championed the National Security Agency’s illegal wiretaps on Americans. His opponent, David Brat, had criticized these abusive searches.
* Cantor had championed waterboarding and “enhanced interrogation.” So Cantor was in favor of freedom – or at least free enterprise – except that the government should be allowed to torture people it suspected?
* Cantor scorned any Republicans who did not favor perpetual war. Cantor was a leader in threatening war against Iran.
* Brat signed a pledge to repeal ObamaCare, which Cantor refused to sign.
* Cantor’s campaign against Brat was widely seen as dishonest. This epitomized how Cantor had done so much to undermine his credibility with Virginians.
Cantor’s defeat is one of the most encouraging political developments in 2014. Perhaps it is optimistic to see his thrashing as a sign that voters are contemptuous of politicians who get too cozy with Leviathan. We’ll see.