Eric Cantor’s Gingrich Act


    Cross posted at Daily Kos

    Republicans, being fairly simple creatures, aren’t all that difficult to predict.  Often you just have to look at the history of their forebears to figure out where they’re going.

    So if you want to know what’s up with Eric Cantor and what to expect next with him, just read up on the path to power taken by Newt Gingrich.  Newt, back in the eighties, was the aggressive young back-bencher willing to stab his leaders in the back in the name of ideological purity – and, more importantly, in the name of stealing their office space.  (Et tu, Newt?)

    Poor Bob Michel, then House Majority Leader, and President George H.W. (“Read my…uh, never mind.”) Bush, felt the force of Newt on a rampage, and paid the price for being between him and power.  Newt had already been on the rise, particularly with his successful act of forcing Democratic Speaker Jim Wright from office.  When Bush reneged on his pledge not to raise taxes – in order to, y’know, reduce that deficit that Republicans claim to care so much about – Newt saw his opportunity and pounced, going after Bush with a vengeance, thereby contributing to Bush’s loss to Clinton in 1992.  

    Alas, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and so Macbeth – I mean, Newt – continued his march by rallying GOP troops triumphantly behind his Contract on America, with his crushing victory in the Congressional elections of 1994.  All good for him, until, like an uglier version of Napoleon, he pushed his luck too far, shut down the government, and got his sorry butt run out of town.

    Is any of this starting to sound familiar?

    Eric Cantor has skillfully, if cravenly, positioned himself at the head of the parade known as the Tea Party.  Unlike other pretenders to that throne – Michelle Bachmoron, on a hopeless quest for the presidency, and Jim DeMented, stuck in a Senate where more reasonable people outnumber him – Cantor is right now precisely at the center of the action, telling the President of the United States, to his face, to go bugger himself.  

    As Speaker Boehner starts acting like the soon-to-be-deposed leader of a Third World Country, sullenly waiting for his head to be lopped off, Cantor is suddenly the one speaking for his party.  At this point, the palace coup seems all but inevitable, because the shift of legitimacy and power has already occurred.  

    This was all foreshadowed, particularly once Cantor came out last year, along with Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, with the book “Young Guns”, claiming the mantle of Republican leadership, as a group of up-and-coming right wing revolutionaries.  This was the book in which they mentioned John Boehner a total of 3 times, all in passing, while calling the Republicans “the party of Rubio, Jindal and Daniels.”

    Perhaps it’s not over until the orange guy cries, but as far as I can tell, it’ll be over soon.  Boehner will be excoriated for the unforgivable act of trying to prevent the US from going into default and having its credit rating downgraded to Lindsey Lohan status.  There will be a vote of no-confidence, he’ll resign and skulk off the scene, a broken man, and sometime later be found burnt to a crisp in a Cincinnati tanning salon.

    Cantor will take his place, raising Ryan, McCarthy and his other stooges with him, and be on the cover of every magazine from Time to Cracked – until, like Newt, he brings down the US government, and leaves his wife for a young staffer, and is forced to step down in disgrace, and is forgotten about until he decides it would be a good idea to run for president because he’s smarter than God – except that, at that point, everyone else will have dismissed him as a hopeless fruitcake.

    Ah, history – so interesting and entertaining.  Too bad we don’t learn a damn thing from it.


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