Cantor is now planning a 4:30 PM ET press conference at which he is expected to announce he will resign as majority leader by July 31. It's unclear whether he will resign from Congress as well, but it hardly matters: The big story is cemented in stone, and that story is that the GOP has gone so utterly insane that one of its most hardline conservatives lost a primary because Republicans thought he was too liberal.
Brat, the professor who beat Cantor, gave an interview to MSNBC earlier this morning, and while he tried to dodge, he revealed himself to be about as ultra-right as it gets. But the amazing thing is that as right-wing as Brat is, at a functional level, he's not really all that far from where Cantor stood.
And it's a reminder that for all the talk of some Republicans about how they want to take back their party from the clutches of lunatics, they don't actually have the courage to stand up and do anything about it. Take Rep. Peter King, for example. Like clockwork, King went on television to denounce Cantor's defeat and to worry that it would embolden his party's far right. King said it was important for sane Republicans to stand up and not be bullied in the wake of the defeat:
“We can’t allow Eric’s defeat last night allow the Ted Cruzes and the Rand Pauls to take over the party, or their disciples to take over the party,” the moderate New York Republican said on MSNBC. “Because this is not conservatism to me. Shutting down the government is not being conservative.”Sounds great, except Republicans—Peter King among them—already shut the government down. They did it in October, back when nobody in their right mind thought that Eric Cantor was in trouble. The irony, of course, is that guys like King went along with the shutdown instead of siding with Democrats to prevent it because they thought that by shutting the government down, they would teach right-wingers a lesson about the futility of napalm conservatism.
Ha! The only "lesson" they taught is that they are afraid of right-wing hardliners and will do everything in their power to avoid directly confronting them. They didn't discourage the right: They encouraged them. And now the cowards are paying the price. Serves them right.