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?


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


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


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

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  • slamfu

    Cantor losing was a fluke. Last week the Tea Party had just lost a bunch of primaries and were on the ropes. This week they look like they are making a comeback because they won one? I know Cantor isn’t your regular Congressman, but the voting still works the same in his district as any other. The Tea Party is shrinking, the country doesn’t want to hear their child like plans of how to fix things. If this primary loss causes the GOP to focus more on marginalizing them, great. Right now all I see is we traded a somewhat sane GOP member for another anti debt ceiling nitwit who if he gets his way will enact solutions that do far more harm than the things they are trying to fix.

  • I think we make a mistake when we see this a Tea Party victory. This election doesn’t represent a vote for Brat but a vote against Cantor who had a 63% disapproval rating in his district not so much because of ideology or policy but because he had basically ignored the people in his district for years. We also make a mistake when we think that this was about immigration – 72% of the voters in Cantor’s district support comprehensive immigration reform. This election was all about Eric Cantor nothing more.

  • sheknows

    This is an excellent article.
    Gingrich is exactly right about the fight and the fury of that “large element” of American people. A much larger group than anyone had realized I think. The Tea party is anything but a small, right wing faction in the GOP. It is a national movement that is enormous and continues to place it’s people in political positions!

    GWB’s policies actually fostered their rise by destroying our economy and creating so many, many malcontents sick of “big govt.”. These poor , working Republicans have had someone to blame for that of course. A black man who is a Democrat.

    Also scary to realize that such a very small percentage of voters were able to determine this election and that so many stayed home. What does that mean for November?

  • Chris Fulmer

    As noted above, I suspect this was more Cantor’s constituents being upset with his conniving, his obsession with getting the Speakership at all costs, and his too close relationship with big business than any real feelings for Brat. Between now and the election, perhaps a larger number of his electorate will decide he’s more unelectable than first thought. Even with a seemingly safe seat, five months is still plenty of time for Brat to squander the seat if he makes an extremely dumb or insensitive remark or two, or gets caught red handed taking money or favors from the wrong people. After all, far more seasoned politicians have blown their races for seats just as safe in much less time over the years. So probably we shouldn’t really panic until Brat’s actually in office and actually raising dangerous Cain.