Skip to main content

Eric Cantor (R-VA) speaks at the Values Voter Summit, 2011.
When in doubt, yell louder.
Eric Cantor is one of those politicians who gives politicians a bad name. You might be in a good mood, you might be having a pleasant morning in which you are momentarily willing again to accept that some person elected to office somewhere via a vote of the people might not be a craven liar whose sole purpose for being elected is because he likes the office furniture, but then the postman delivers a new batch of Eric Cantor flyers and the bluebirds of momentary optimism flying around your head all make a dash for the (closed) window over the kitchen sink. Smack. Smack. Smack.
One mailing has photos of Clinton and Obama, saying the Virginia Republican is “fighting for the truth about Benghazi.” [...]

[O]ne piece brands “our Congressman Eric Cantor” as the person “leading the fight against President Obama’s liberal agenda.” Another says that “conservative Republican Eric Cantor is stopping the Obama Reid plan to give illegal aliens amnesty.”

Cantor also highlights congressional investigations in his mailings. In one piece, Cantor is pictured with his arms crossed in shirtsleeves with “standing up to the IRS” emblazoned on the literature. In another, Cantor mentions that he called for a “special prosecutor in IRS targeting investigation.”

Eric Cantor is in no real danger in his primary. He's not going to be booted in favor of a more-rabid tea party challenger, he's not going to be bloodied, and it would take an act of campaign genius on the part of his opponent, a guy you have never heard of, to even smudge his nose. But he's going all-in on the crackpot conspiracy theories of the day, the IRS "punishment" of sweet conservative nonprofits and the Benghazi something-something-something. (What is the truth about Benghazi? We don't know, we just know it is tremendously damaging to Hillary Clinton, whatever it is.) We can be excruciatingly charitable here and presume that Eric Cantor knows both of these things are crocks of manure—unlike others in his House bracket, he does not seem an aggressively stupid man—which means he fancies himself in on the con.

This is the essential difference between the parties right now, and it's important. It's damn important, and if you're covering politics and haven't figured this out yet it you need to quit your day job and go find one that lets you drink less. Democratic politicians still generally seek to forge rhetoric that evokes the the most popular positions, a muddy version of centrism well in keeping with tried-and-true political game theory—although the insular nature of current Washington often leads them to get both the "centrist" and "popular" parts pointedly wrong, especially where Wall Street or other large contributors are involved. Republican politicians, on the other hand, regularly bind themselves to the most conservative positions, relying on raw base motivation to overwhelm more neutral public opinions a given subject.

You will be hard pressed to find members of the Democratic Party trying to one-up each other for the most liberal position on a topic, and there's certainly no Democratic-sponsored conspiracy theories even loosely akin to the various lunatic assertions from GOP lawmakers on topics such as the United Nations, secret non-Americanship of the president, worldwide hoaxes perpetrated by the powers of "science", Benghazi!, and takeyourpick. Republican politicians, on the other hand, are currently all but required to stake out the farthest right position they can credibly lay claim to. On every topic, mind you, including the Fictitious Ones.

It is a perfectly logical strategy, the natural outcome of a reliance on base mobilization from the Southern Strategy to the Moral Majority to etc., coupled with a now-dwindling, pointedly monolithic base. The party is absolutely dependent on stirring up the emotions of their much smaller base in order to prod them into electoral dominance over a larger, much more diverse non-Republican majority, but that is a strategy that not only lends itself to extremism and the manufacturing of fictitious threats, it all but requires it.

Originally posted to Hunter on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 11:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site