Eric Cantor

Republicans surge and election turns into rout

The Republican party has succeeded in routing the Democrats and taking the Senate. They also have retained control and extended that control of the House.

They needed 6 seats to take the Senate and grabbed 7. The Atlantic reports:

Republicans took the Senate majority in a commanding sweep on Tuesday, winning nearly every contested race across the country, gaining governor’s mansions and adding to their majority in the House of Representatives. For weeks, pundits had debated the semantics of what would constitute a “wave” election, but when it came, it was unmistakable.

Republicans unseated Democratic incumbents in Senate races in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Colorado, and were leading in Alaska early Wednesday. They easily held onto GOP-controlled seats in Georgia, Kansas, and Kentucky. In New Hampshire, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen barely held on against Republican Scott Brown. In one of the night’s biggest surprises, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, who was thought to be safe, was up only half a point over his Republican challenger early Wednesday. The Louisiana election, in which Democrat Mary Landrieu finished slightly ahead of her Republican challenger, Bill Cassidy, was set to go to a December runoff, which Cassidy is favored to win.

Though Pennsylvania’s abysmally unpopular Republican governor, Tom Corbett, was defeated, Republicans took over governor’s mansions in Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts, and were leading by a hair in Colorado. Controversial Republican incumbents Scott Walker (Wisconsin), Rick Snyder (Michigan), Sam Brownback (Kansas), Paul LePage (Maine), Nathan Deal (Georgia), and Rick Scott (Florida), all of whom had appeared vulnerable in pre-election polls, all held on to win reelection.

Ebullient Republicans, many of whom had run relentlessly one-note campaigns focused on the unpopular president, touted the results as a rejection of President Obama and Democratic policies. “This race wasn’t about me or my opponent,” Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky senator who easily won reelection and stands to become the new majority leader, told a ballroom full of supporters here. “It was about a government people no longer trust.”

Much speculation now focuses on McConnell, who has been blamed for singlehandedly stopping most of the Obama agenda for the past five years. (Ironically, the conservatives who want the Obama agenda stopped give McConnell little credit for doing so.) But McConnell now faces a choice about whether continued obstruction will serve his party’s interests. In his victory speech, he mentioned no specific policies but rather struck a conciliatory note.

“Some things don’t change after tonight,” he said. “I don’t expect the president to wake up tomorrow and view the world any differently than he did when he woke up this morning, and he knows I won’t either. But look, we do have an obligation to work together on issues where we can agree. Just because we have a two-party system doesn’t mean we have to be in perpetual conflict.”

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Who said the Tea Party are finished and washed up? They just nailed Eric Cantor

Political pundits had written of the Tea Party long ago, saying they were washed up and finished as a political force.

And then they rinsed Eric Cantor, the number two Republican in the House of Representatives:

Shortly after eight on Tuesday night, Twitter went a little nuts, and so, presumably, did Eric Cantor, the second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. The Associated Press, CNN, and other news organizations had just called the Republican primary race in Virginia’s Seventh District for David Brat, a hitherto little-known economics professor who is associated with the Tea Party wing of the G.O.P. Cantor had become the first House Majority Leader to lose a primary renomination.All over Washington, commentators were called out of dinner; Fox News broke into the O’Reilly Factor; and political reporters struggled to come up with a correct historical analogy. Since virtually no one—or, at least, no one in the world of political forecasting and punditry—had predicted Brat’s victory in the primary, it would be presumptuous, at this stage, to say anything definitive about its causes or its consequences. But here are a few things that can’t easily be contested.

In the 2012 G.O.P. primary, Cantor, who has aggressively courted Tea Party voters, tacitly promoting himself as a conservative alternative to Speaker John Boehner, defeated his opponent, Floyd Bane, by 79.4 per cent to 20.6 per cent. Evidently, Brat, who teaches at Randolph-Macon College, in Ashland, Virginia, wasn’t the sort to be put off. According to the Wall Street Journal, his works include “God and Advanced Mammon: Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?” and “An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand.” He entered the race at the start of this year, and was determined to make an issue of Cantor’s ties to the Party’s Washington-based establishment. Writing for the Daily Caller, a conservative news site, in February, Brat said:

Congressman Cantor’s profile has been erratic even by Washington standards — flitting from eager establishmentarian coat-holder to self-glorified “Young Gun” and back again. His loyalties, both upward and downward, have shifted in his eager embrace of the Ruling Class. Washington’s only genuine article of faith: maintaining control regardless of how that control affects the life of the folks back home.

Brat fastened onto what was perceived by elements of the G.O.P.’s grass roots to be Cantor’s willingness to compromise on immigration reform and offer some form of amnesty to immigrants who had entered the country illegally. (In Washington, the House Majority Leader was sometimes portrayed as a barrier to such a reform.) This issue galvanized Brat’s campaign, and brought him to the attention of conservative media figures such as Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, who both expressed support for him. Just this past weekend, Ingraham appeared alongside Brat at a political rally in Virginia, and jokingly suggested that President Obama should have traded Cantor, not five Taliban leaders, for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Brat, meanwhile, kept hacking away on the immigration issue, saying, “A vote for Eric Cantor is a vote for open borders. A vote for Eric Cantor is a vote for amnesty.”

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GOP gets its funds cut for breaking the no dickhead rule

The donors aren’t happy with the shenanigans by the Republicans in Washington and are pulling the pin on their funding.

On a Monday last month, Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, met with some top GOP donors for lunch at Le Cirque on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The donors, a youngish collection of financial industry types and lawyers, had some questions for Walden, a mild-mannered lawmaker from eastern Oregon known for speaking his mind.

Why, they asked, did the GOP seem so in the thrall of its most extremist wing? The donors, banker types who occupy the upper reaches of Wall Street’s towers, couldn’t understand why the Republican Party—their party—seemed close to threatening the nation with a government shutdown, never mind a default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised later this month.

That excuse isn’t going to wash with the money men, who think the GOP are being dickheads.  Read more »