I had a long talk with Tammy Parada, campaign manager for 7th CD independent/Tea Party candidate Floyd Bayne. The original focus was on the incident Monday with a Rick Waugh grassroots supporter getting kicked out of an Eric Cantor event at a coffee shop in Louisa, then getting manhandled and arrested. The conversation then veered off into a broader discussion of the campaign. First, some thoughts from Bayne’s campaign on the incident itself.
*Point blank, the Bayne people feel that Rick Waugh’s campaign has done absolutely nothing wrong in this campaign, that they are simply exercising their right to free speech and trying to get Eric Cantor to engage in a discussion, and that Cantor’s been smearing them. In fact, Waugh has “not gone over the line in any way,” he just wants Eric Cantor to engage and debate him.
*As far as the media narrative that Waugh has been disruptive or lawless is concerned, Bayne’s campaign believes that’s just “ridiculous.” They also feel, however, that it’s not surprising, given the power of Media General, where Eric Cantor’s wife sits on the board of directors.
*The Bayne campaign believes that Cantor wants to deflect attention from the “true conservative” in the race (Bayne) and towards the Democrat (Waugh), because Cantor’s a RINO who’s terrified of a real conservative running.
*Regarding the coffee shop incident, the Bayne campaign believes that the Waugh supporter was not connected to Waugh’s campaign in any way and was not disrupting anything.
more on the “flip”
More broadly, the Bayne campaign believes that Eric Cantor can’t defend his voting record, that his conservative rhetoric doesn’t match reality, and that’s why he refuses to address people in a public arena or to be accessible in any way. In addition, the Bayne campaign believes, Cantor is in league with the media, the Republican Party establishment, and also the Richmond Tea Party to keep Bayne – “the only conservative candidate” – out of the media, so his name recognition stays low. In short, Bayne’s campaign believes, Cantor is “afraid of another conservative running,” won’t discuss the issues, and is smearing Waugh while directing the Media General media outlets to ignore Bayne.
The Bayne campaign’s view of Cantor is that he’s an “empty suit,” a “neocon,” has “done nothing to control spending,” but is now using Bayne’s rhetoric “to seem conservative.” However, Bayne’s campaign points out, no true conservative would have voted for FISA, Real ID, No Child Left Behind, Amtrak subsidies, Medicare Part B, PEPFAR, and many other programs. Cantor may be cozying up to the Tea Party now, but the Bayne campaign points to Cantor’s previous statement that the Tea Party didn’t have any place in government. Broadly speaking, Cantor’s “whole policy platform is a dud,” YouCut’s a “charade to make people think they have access to the Congressman,” and that Cantor’s trying to make himself into “the victim.” According to Bayne’s campaign, “this is all theater.”
Getting a bit conspiratorial here, but the Bayne campaign believes that the Cantor campaign is following them around, in grocery stores and gas stations, even tampering with the locks on their doors. Bayne’s campaign believes that vandalism against Waugh’s vehicle was probably carried out by someone from the Louisa County Republican Party or the Cantor campaign itself. In recent days, the Republicans have even put a “$6 bounty on each of our signs,” and “we’ve lost 300 signs in just 48 hours.”
Finally, the Bayne campaign feels that it can win next Tuesday, pointing to the 70% of district voters who say they are conservative. That seems extremely optimistic to me, but I sure hope they’re right. In my view, Eric Cantor is a menace, and he’s also ambitious, probably shooting for the White House sometime soon. That’s a frightening thought, and I’d much prefer that he be derailed now than that he get any closer to his objective.