Goodbye, Eric Cantor! We won't miss your smarmy smirk at all. Of all the nasties the GOP has served up in recent years, you are the nastiest. You smiled as you lied. You smiled when you cut food for poor children.
Your fatal mistake has been the same one Karl Rove made, the mistake that cost him his vision of running a nationally all-powerful GOP majority for decades to come. His mistake? He dined with the Devil.
You did it too. And with second helpings.
The old saying is that "If you dine with the Devil, use a long spoon". The kicker is that there is no spoon long enough. If you once take the wrong people on board to advance your cause, you're stuck with them and the eventual outcome they can bring down on your head. It's the story of Dr. Frankenstein but without Gene Wilder.
In Rove's case, he embraced the born-again Christians and fired them up into carrying the GOP on their shoulders, engaging them (and exploiting them) by emphasizing anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage as the marching tunes. The far-right Christians, however, were not going to be led indefinitely by the likes of Karl Rove. By 2006 some of them said, "Enough with politics. We are about religion." Others said, "There's more to being a Christian than being an anti-something, like being concerned about poverty and the environment." In 2010 another segment morphed into being Tea Partyers. And they beckoned the like-minded anti-government kooks to join them. Rove lost control of his Republican party.
But even more devastating, the GOP had lost its legs. By shoving off the grass-roots precinct work to the churches, Rove allowed the GOP volunteer ranks - traditionally very strong - to just wither away. That's why he couldn't believe on election night 2012 that Romney had lost. He thought the troops were working the field in Ohio but they weren't. His GOP grass-roots had shriveled away, and the Tea Party troops do their own work, not the bidding of the GOP.
Eric Cantor not only embraced the far right as Rove had done, but he also fed it and stoked it. He became its self-appointed head in the House, even scheming against the attempts by his supposed partner, Speaker John Boehner, whenever Boehner tried to achieve some good things for the American people. Cantor even went so far as to literally travel very far - all across the country, in fact - to raise money for Tea Party candidates. He was theirs. They were his. At least he thought so.
But before he was a self-designated Tea Partyer, he was a Jew. He seems to have forgotten that basic identity. Jews don't become Republicans and certainly don't became radically conservative Tea Partyers. The moral convictions of the Jews and their historical experience have placed them at the heart of the Democratic party. It is a fundamental of Judaism to take care of the weak and helpless. It's called being a human being. That is not at all compatible with being a Tea Partyer with the mantra of "Every man for himself!"
It is also an historical fact that many Republicans don't like Jews. Insofar as Republicans have been the party of the country club and the Ivy League dining clubs, Jews have been outcasts. Yes, there were exceptions. There are Jews who have had Republican friends. But not any more. Those Republicans fled the GOP a couple of years ago.
It is quite possible, therefore, that Cantor lost his primary because today's Republicans hate Jews. David Wasserman of Charlie Cook's highly regarded "The Political Report" stated yesterday, as reported in the New York Times, that Cantor lost for this reason, calling his Judaism and the hatred for it "the elephant in the room". Wasserman, like other analysts, has been searching these past 12 hours for reasons Cantor lost his primary when establishment GOP elsewhere have been beating back Tea Party challengers. Indeed, the talk this year has been that the Tea Party is done for, burnt out. Wasserman notes that Cantor had also been fine-tuning his district to make it ever more conservative, thus inadvertently making it ever more anti-Semitic.
However he did it, Eric Cantor managed to lose to an unknown who was funded with pocket change from under the sofa cushions.
My mother's favorite saying was "The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine." In other words, "You'll get yours, Mac. Just wait and see."
In Cantor's case, the mills ground quickly. Perhaps it was quick because Wasserman is right, that Cantor's being Jewish helped finish him off. So much for double-dipping when dining with the Devil. Cantor's was a double baddy, compounded by his betraying his own people and their ethic when he sat down to dine with the Tea Party-dominated GOP.
My mother had another saying: "God will not be mocked."
Apparently Jews have to be especially careful whom they invite to dinner. Maybe Cantor is lucky a lightning bolt didn't find him, though to judge from the screaming headlines, it did.
Goodbye again, Eric Cantor. The crowd with the torches has just carried you away!