This is what drives me crazy about major newspapers. “Just one thing, Jeff?” You’re right! This is just one of many things that makes me wanna spit out my morning coffee.
You see, last month, in light of Mitch McConnell and “regular” Republicans fending off all but one primary challenger, those dailies deftly announced they were ready to sign that Tea Party DNR order.
But today, in light of House Speaker to be Eric Cantor’s “shocking” defeat at the hands of a vastly underfunded candidate, they’re suddenly saying the death of the Tea Party has been greatly exaggerated.
Did they think we weren’t listening? It’s kinda like the original Star Trek series where they never quite found the time to hire a continuity supervisor. Wait! Wasn’t that crewman dead last episode, didn’t Spock have a beard, and when did the Romulans develop warp drive?
So now the paper pundits are making pronouncements like Cantor wasn’t conservative enough, he was weak on immigration, and he budged on the budget ceiling. Baloney! The average moderate Republican voter doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about any of those issues.
The only way the right tail of the bell curve voters can wag the dog and pull off an upset is if the turnout is very low. But yesterday, Virginia’s 7th District Republicans voted at 28 percent higher clip than they did in 2012. And 2012 was a presidential cycle!
And Cantor didn’t go down by a slim margin, he fell by a full 10 points. So this defeat had nothing to do with what he said, did or supported, and everything to do with what he didn’t do.
Here’s why Cantor lost and why Hillary Clinton will be the next President.
1. He didn’t run a ground game.
While Tea Party opponent David Brat and his team were knocking on district doors and getting the word out, Cantor was harder to find than Waldo. He didn’t even bother sending emissaries to major district political events.
Brat understood he was running for the 7th Congressional District Republican nomination. Cantor thought he was running for Speaker of the House.
How many times have I said this? Effectively hitting the streets against an opponent who chooses not to do so can mitigate the most massive money advantage. Shaking hands counts!
2. He forgot who put him there.
One of the best moves Illinois State Sen. Jim Oberweis ever made was hiring former State Sen. Chris Lauzen’s constituent care expert, Kim Murphy. Because if an elected official, or their agent, responds to a voter concern with a sympathetic ear, they have a supporter for life.
Meanwhile, many GOP D.C. regulars referred to Cantor’s staffers as “the biggest bunch of a**holes on the Hill.”
3. He didn’t run scared.
Moping around your campaign headquarters while you curse the cruel fates for an impending loss won’t get you anywhere (and it’s really annoying), but neither will believing you have it in the bag.
An internal May poll put Cantor up by 30 points and his people thought no one could close that gap. When the campaign finally disavowed themselves of the yes men and paid attention to the real pollsters, who warned of a turning tide, it was too late.
Borne of previous 60 point victories, Cantor thought he couldn’t lose and that’s exactly why he did.
4. He mentioned his opponent.
When Cantor finally decided to unleash the television dogs, instead of gilding his own lily, he attacked his little known adversary which gave Mr. Brat immediate credibility. How is it politicians fail to grasp the notion that, if the number two House Republican believes you’re worthy of attention, then there must be a good reason for it?
Brat certainly got a boost from rightwingnuts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, but they only play to the core crowd who would’ve voted for him anyway. Unless you’re running against a nationally known candidate, no House Majority Leader should ever mention his opponent by name.
Again, incumbent Cantor got his butt kicked by a full 10 percent, which is a clear indication of general discontent and not who was conservative enough.
Ah! But completely overlooking the fact that Lindsey Graham trounced his closest Tea Party opponent by 42 points in a six way race on the same day in bright red South Carolina, national Republicans will immediately extrapolate Cantor’s loss to its inevitable illogical conclusion.
Believing that immigration and the budget ceiling were his downfall, they’ll lurch even further to the right than they already are. Can you say “another government shutdown?” I knew you could.
Silly me! I keep waiting for someone to tell the Tea Party that raising the budget roof incurs no more debt, it only pays the interest on the debt Congress has already approved. And who controls the House? You think we have economic problems now? Just wait till we default and the Yuan becomes the world currency!
But I digress.
Incited by those sky-is-falling newspaper pundits who change their minds faster than Lady Gaga changes outfits, all of the GOP lemmings will rush to the right side of the boat. And as it’s on the verge of capsizing, who’s the happiest politician in the whole U.S.A.? That right! Hilary Clinton.
She’s already making plans to redecorate the West Wing.
Even Karl Rove knows Republicans cannot win the White House if they let the Tea Party drive the mini-van. And by failing to understand the reality of Cantor’s defeat, the GOP is about to hand over the keys once again.
John Lennon was right. Instant Karma really is going to get you.