The Brat Win in Virginia

Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Gingrich explains Brat win in Virginia

“What the Republican establishment and the Chamber of Commerce don’t understand is that there’s a large element of America that wants a fight,” said former Speaker Newt Gingrich. “If you’re a conservative, you think Barack Obama is literally destroying the country you love. And you watch your leadership and they seem unwilling to take him head on, and also unable to outmaneuver him.”

That fury will ensure a gridlocked capital for at least the rest of this year and perhaps for the remainder of Mr. Obama’s presidency. It also raises new doubts about Washington’s ability to conduct the most basic functions of government, suggesting the possibility of another round, or rounds, of brinkmanship on funding the government and measures to keep the country from defaulting on its debt. …NYT

Of course, this won’t happen if there are enough grownups in the Republican party to stop it. Oh, wait. That’s a question. Are there enough grownups in the Republican party? Can you name them?

Oh, and do you believe Hillary is the right person to take this on?

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More questions: Is the result of the Virginia election about a tea party win or something else? Here’s something to ponder: Charles Blow asks, “What does it say about America as a society and as a class of voters when so many sit home, and allow the voices of so few to carry so much weight?”

In case you’re struggling with the math here, Ezra Klein of Vox broke it down this way: in 2012, 381,000 residents of the Seventh District “voted in the congressional election. Two hundred twenty-three thousand of them for Eric Cantor.” He continued:

“Cantor’s loss last night came at the hands of about 5 percent of his constituents. It came at the hands of about 9 percent of the total number of people who voted in the district’s 2012 congressional election. It came at the hands of about 16 percent of the people who voted for Cantor in that election. And though Cantor’s defeat is national in its effects, less than three-hundredths of 1 percent of the people who voted in the 2012 House elections voted against Eric Cantor last night.” …Blow,NYT

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The choice made by a small number of Virginia voters has, thanks to Eric Cantor’s erstwhile leadership position in the House, set up a nasty regional and political battle within the already-torn Republican party.

From phone calls to text messages to e-mails to secret meetings, fault lines quickly developed inside an already fractured caucus that has grown increasingly conservative since the 2010 elections swept Republicans into control of the House.

After an emotional meeting with GOP lawmakers, Cantor threw his “full support” behind his longtime lieutenant, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), a genial 49-year-old with close ties to many members of the huge 2010 class. A strong fundraiser, McCarthy represents the conservative establishment within the party.

Immediately, he faced a threat from a pair of conservative Texas chairmen — Reps. Jeb Hensarling, head of the Financial Services Committee, and Pete Sessions, head of the Rules Committee. A onetime member of ­leadership, Hensarling has emerged as the choice of conservatives who have cheered his battles with Boehner and Cantor over issues such as flood insurance laws and reauthorization of the ­Export-Import Bank.

Should McCarthy win, a similar battle is set to play out to fill his No. 3 slot in leadership. That battle is likely to carry regional overtones, pitting Southern members against those from the Midwest. …WaPo

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The Republican’s “big tent” is beginning to look like a “Toy Story” prop.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss means Congress will soon say goodbye to its only Jewish Republican.

And not only that; it also means there will likely be no Republicans in Congress who profess to be anything other than a Christian. …TheFix

The “Christian” label has achieved a pretty bad reputation in America already. Now — thanks to its association with some of the worst excesses in our political system — it has sunk to about the level of “plantation owner” in mid-19th-century Massachusetts.

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

Author: PRAIRIE WEATHER