Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Eric Can't

I'm no political pundit, and I have no clue what goes on in the backwaters of the reddest parts of Virginia; but in thinking about the crushing of Eric Cantor and dancing on his grave that happened in yesterday's Republican primary there, I have a few random thoughts trying to congeal in my head.

1) I've always considered Eric Cantor the epitome of today's R party negativity and dishonesty. He pretty much put his name on the strategy, from day one of Obama's presidency (literally: day one), of deliberate obstruction of everything the president proposed, no matter the merits or impact on our country.

2) If Eric Cantor, who never missed an opportunity to diss the president and to stand in the way of immigration reform (yep, he did, and yet some say it was his "weakness" on the matter that did him in) isn't conservative and obstructionist enough for today's Rs, then that party really is heading over a cliff.

3) FWIW, when Cantor won his previous primary he got around 200,000 votes. The guy who just beat him got around 30,000. Whatever that means, it seems important is some way or other. [Correction!! Don't know where I got that 200,000 number. Maybe it was in a general election. Last time around he got around 37,000 votes. There actually was increased turnout in this primary compared to 2012 but it still was around 12% of registered voters.]

4) If the guy who beat Cantor is the new ideal of the R party, if the backing of such thoughtful luminaries as Laura Ingraham is what it takes to get elected, what must potential R presidential candidates be thinking? After all, that guy, it turns out, is okay with these guys. How much further to the right can they go? How much more simplistic and unworkable must their proposals become?

5) I've been saying for years that today's R party has gone insane, that its policies and prevarications are the entire opposite of what a viable future demands. Assuming that there remain some true conservatives out there -- thoughtful ones, ones who consider themselves part of a complex fabric and who still believe in give and take and that the most workable solutions are a distillation of good ideas from all sides, carefully boiled down with more in mind than personal power and whatever it takes to get money from oligarchical donors -- then I'd have to say this bodes very ill for them and the future of what's left of their points of view.

6) This result may be a cause for great joy among the hardest of the hard core, the people who consider Ms Ingraham an icon of intellect and a pointer toward the truth; but -- and I hope to hell I'm right about this because if not, well, we're so far beyond hope in this country that the only thing we'll need is shovels -- I'd have to say it's a harbinger of good news for Democrats and, by obvious implication, for the country. People in whatever gerrymandered district from which Eric Cantor oozed into the political world are, one must assume, perfectly happy with theocracy, science-rejection, ending public education, denying climate change, and barring the doors to immigration. But if they represent the "thinking" of a majority of Americans... well, the thought is just too horrifying to contemplate. Because if they get their way, these guys will be winning the spelling bees of the future. And by "future" I mean the end of America.

7) The inevitable response of R party leaders to this, namely feeling the need to court the hardest of the hard core -- Open Carry patriots and militias and Cliven Bundy analogues among them -- will, or at least ought to if there's an ounce of hope for the rest of us, red and blue and purple, make a Republican presidency virtually impossible. And if I'm wrong about that, rational people may as well update their passports.

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