Alright, I’m sorry, it isn’t breaking news at all that Eric Can’tor is a bonehead, empty suit, etc. But it’s usually on policy issues where he’s particularly idiotic, not necessarily on Machiavellian political maneuvering. Except, now it turns out that Can’tor’s a bonehead in that way too.
As Scott’s excellent rundown of tomorrow’s Illinois primaries shows, the contest between Reps. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill, and Don Manzullo, R-Ill., will be a very important test of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s clout – and, even more importantly, his political judgment.
Cantor took the unusual step of taking sides in the Republican primary contest endorsing Kinzinger, an up-and-coming freshman, over the crusty conservative Manzullo, who has been an occasional thorn in leadership’s side. Raising the stakes of the gamble, a super PAC tied to Cantor (YG Action Fund) spent $50,000 worth of radio ads endorsing Kinzinger – in the group’s first advertising foray.
The problems with this move, as the National Journal article explains, are multifold. In sum: 1) “if Manzullo wins re-election (there is no Democratic candidate running in the district), he’ll probably be even less of a reliable Republican vote – and fully steamed at his own party’s leadership for trying to oust him;” 2) “the optics of spending money against a member of your own party is never good, especially when GOP leadership has been critical of conservative outside groups for occasionally targeting too-moderate incumbents;” and 3) “if Cantor was going to take the bold step of endorsing against a colleague, he should’ve gone all in” (“The super PAC’s five-figure radio buy on Kinzinger’s behalf was enough money to draw significant attention, but not significant enough to make a real dent in the race.”).
Brilliant, huh? Yep, that’s our Eric Can’tor!