Watch Your Back, Reince

A little humor to distract us from the ISIS advance.

Former RNC chair Michael Steele and current chair Reince Preibus hate each other’s guts and constantly take pot shots at each other.  Preibus was Steele’s #2 at the RNC before he helped oust his boss and take his job in 2011, so you can see where Steele is coming from.  Last year, Steele classily referred to Preibus as “numb nuts.”

So now Steele is running around claiming “there’s a lot of interest” in almost former Majority Leader Eric Cantor, becoming RNC chair.

Yes, there’s definitely “a lot of interest” from Steele.

Your New Majority Leader

Ok, so Eric Cantor says he will stop being Majority Leader on July 31.  Who replaces him?

Technically next in line is the #3 in the House, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California.  Cantor says he’s supports him, which may or may not be a good thing for McCarthy.

Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, a Boehner loyalist, says he’s running.  And the Tea Party is lining up behind another Texan — Jeb Hensarling.

Not Ready for Early Morning

So soon-to-be Virginia Congressman David Brat went on Chuck Todd’s show this morning.  It didn’t go well…

Asked “should there be a minimum wage in your opinion,” Brat replied, “I don’t have a well-crafted response on that one.”

Turning to foreign affairs, Todd asked if we should arm Syrian rebels.  Brat had no clue, whining, “Hey, Chuck, I thought we were just going to chat today about the celebratory aspects.”

Since the media describe Brat as an “economics professor,” you may wonder why he can’t answer a question on the minimum wage.  Actually, he teaches Ayn Rand.  So he’s a fiction professor.

Arrogance, Not Immigration

As we write Eric Cantor’s political obituary, the cause of death should be arrogance, not immigration.

When I heard Cantor was out,  I immediately thought of Scott Brown defeating Martha Coakley for Senate in Massachusetts.  Coakley ran a lazy campaign, taking victory for granted in the deep blue state.  She famously asked if she should have stood in the cold, shaking hands at Fenway Park.  Um, yes, Martha, that is exactly what you should have done.  Like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, voters don’t respond well to being ignored.  Come election day, they will boil your bunny, metaphorically speaking.

Cantor spent too much time being majority leader and too little being congressman from the seventh district of Virginia.  Now he will be neither.

Yes, David Brat got a boost from right-wing radio hosts like Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, but they also regularly tout candidates who flop.

Yes, Brat got a boost for running on an anti-immigration platform at a time when right-wing media are focused on the flood of unaccompanied young people coming across the border and overwhelming authorities.  But down in South Carolina, Sen. Lindsey “Butters” Graham, who supports immigration reform, won without even having to face a runoff because he took his primary seriously and protected himself in every way he could think of.  By contrast, Cantor brushed Brat off like an annoying mosquito.

Butters will be back next year because he ran full of fear, Cantor won’t be back because he ran full of himself.

Blame Cantor?

From “How Eric Cantor Gave Us an Endless Series of Fiscal Crises,” Elspeth Reeve, The Atlantic Wire:

“The person who deserves the most blame for the sequester… is not President Obama or John Boehner, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. That’s not just because the Virginia Republican wanted to delay a big deficit bill until after the election, when he thought he’d be working with President-elect Mitt Romney, but because Cantor can’t decide whether the best course for his own career is to side with Boehner and more moderate Republicans or with the Tea Party radicals.

“He can’t decide whether to help Boehner negotiate with the White House to pass actual legislation or to undercut Boehner to get conservatives’ support. In the summer of 2011, Boehner had been negotiating with Obama on a grand bargain to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit. Cantor helped kill it.

“From the ashes of the grand bargain rose the sequester.

“Cantor wavered again between helping Boehner and undercutting him in the back during the fiscal cliff negotiations at the end of 2012. Cantor endorsed Boehner’s ‘Plan B,’ which would have permanently extended the Bush tax cuts for those making less than $1 million a year…. But conservative Republicans revolted because there weren’t spending cuts included. Cantor seemed to draw a lesson from this. As the House got ready to vote on a Senate deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for those making less than $400,000, Cantor announced he wouldn’t support it.”

I’m no fan of Eric “Lean and Hungry” Cantor.  But you can’t blame one guy for the disfunction that the House GOP is causing right now.  He couldn’t stop it if he tried.  Cantor is like Mitt — a man of tremendous personal ambition, but not much ideology.  He’s more a victim and prisoner of the Tea Party than a true believer like, say, Michele Bachmann or Louis Gomert or Steve King.  To remain Majority Leader, Cantor must also be a champion of the Tea Party because there are so many of them.  But he does it more out of fear for his future than out of fanaticism.

A Little Holiday Cheer Courtesy of Andy Borowitz

From “A Holiday Letter from John Boehner,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker:

Dear American People:

It’s Speaker Boehner here, writing my first and last ever holiday letter to you.  Why am I doing this after all of these years, you might ask?  Well, I won’t mince words.  I’ve started drinking a little early this Christmas.

You see, this will be my last Christmas as Speaker of the House, all because a cabal of Tea Party miscreants in the House of Representatives doesn’t think I’m a ginormous enough asshole for their taste.  Who’s more to their liking?  Virginia’s own Eric Cantor.  As a waiter might say at an all-you-can-eat shit buffet, “Excellent choice.”

What will life be like under Speaker of the House Eric Cantor?  Well, he’s the guy who recommended cuts in disaster funding just hours after tornadoes hit Joplin, Missouri.  Nice.  And it was his “never met a dick-measuring contest I didn’t like” pathology that helped create last year’s debt-ceiling crisis.  You can’t put a price tag on a performance like that.  Well, actually you can:  it cost the country nineteen billion dollars.  Starting to miss me already, aren’t you?  Fuck you.

So have a very Eric Cantor Christmas, America, and as that smug four-eyed sociopath drives the entire nation off the cliff, don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Now leave me alone, God damn you.  Damn you all to hell.

Happy Holidays,

Speaker Boehner

Boehner Forced to Cancel Tax Vote

Boehner got the votes to maintain defense spending and cut programs that impact the poor.

But the vote on the second part of his plan, the vote to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone except those making more than $1 million a year, was first delayed and then cancelled.

So he couldn’t get the votes.

An embarrassing moment for the Orange One.  A happy moment for Eric “Lean and Hungry” Cantor.