Thursday, September 1, 2011

Eric the Dread

It could always be worse.  Eric Cantor could actually be your congressman. Contrary to urban legend, Cantor does indeed have among his constituents people who can't stand him.  And the feeling is mutual. Just yesterday, he unleashed both public and private security on two separate groups of voters just to avoid having to talk to them.  He didn't even grace them with his famous lip-curling sneer.

Next Time, Take Out Some Earthquake Insurance!

The first episode occurred when a small group of women wearing identical "Can'tOrWon't" tee shirts entered one of his district offices for an appointment. Cantor was a no-show. While they were trying to get him on the office phone, the cops showed up, saying they were responding to a complaint of a disturbance.  The women left and the officers made sure they did. Check out the video. You tell me if this group posed a terrorist threat. Of course, the way they insist on calling him "Can't-or" probably does nothing to endear them to the sensitive Eric.

Later on, when another group of constituents showed up for a private town hall at a Richmond Holiday Inn, Cantor had hired bouncers already on hand for this Tea Party  invitation-only affair to eject the crashers.  Here they are,  demonstrating in the parking lot.  (Think Progress has more. The progressives had actually booked space in the hotel and were later asked to leave by the Holiday Inn. Now there is talk of a national boycott against Holiday Inn.)

Last year, there was the beating of a Democratic constituent by a Cantor thug bearing a striking resemblance to a character from "The Hills Have Eyes."

What a way to end a summer of Cantor love.  His trifecta of heartless rebuffs in the name of some phoney fiscal ideology to victims of a tornado, an earthquake and a tropical storm all in the space of just a few months not only alienated every decent person on the planet, it even made New Jersey Governor Chris Christie mad. One of the nastiest GOP governors who ever lived thinks Cantor is way beyond mean and nasty.  All this, on top of his temper tantrum success at dominating Debt Ceiling Crisis Theater and not holding a single public town hall for his whole August vacation. He brings a whole new meaning to the term "Recess Bully".

Young Gun Eric has been shooting some major blanks.  He appears to be suffering from the hubristic and usually fatal disease of Republican Overreach. Never having won an election with less than 59 percent of the vote, his confidence knows no bounds.  As one blogger put it, Cantor is best understood when you view him as a lobbyist posing as a legislator.  He is all about the money.... for himself and for his oligarchic compatriots and for his fellow reps.  He got where he is today, and his party tolerates his repulsive whining and demands, because he knows how to get money.  Piles and piles and piles of it.
 He was a protege of former House Speaker and convicted felon Tom DeLay, and was one of his most ardent supporters until it no longer served his own interests. He slavishly called DeLay "Boss". And then there was the star-crossed friendship with lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff, who once named one of his famous deli sandwiches after Eric Cantor.  Eric joked about it at the time, bragging about how he changed it from a tuna stacker to a roast beef on challah because that "exuded Jewish power." Then Abramoff was indicted -- and suddenly Eric denied even knowing anything about the alleged sandwich. (Larry David used the sandwich saga as the basis of an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm", even though, Cantor-style, he has always denied the connection). Just to make sure people believed him, Cantor achingly announced he was giving all his Abramoff cash to charity.

We all complain about the stenographic mainstream media dutifully parroting the wit and wisdom of the nefarious politicians, but Cantor more than has them in the bag.  His state's "paper of record", the Richmond Times-Dispatch, is owned by a media conglomerate directed by Cantor's very own wife Diana, a former Goldman Sachs vice president. Every time the newspaper runs an article (usually favorable) about the congressman, it adds a caveat at the bottom, revealing the relationship and at the same time denying any conflict of interest.  All in the name of being fair and balanced, naturally.

Some of the stories are truly hilarious, and they usually fall into the category of Eric or his staff excusing the latest gaffe, explaining the latest lie, or waxing indignant that someone even dared to call Wonder Boy a hypocrite.  My favorite is when Cantor tried to weasel his way out of explaining how his wife accepted a TARP bailout for a bank she also runs.  Her taking the money was purely accidental and a con game perpetrated on her by the government!  They fooled the poor woman, by golly.  A staffer called it "a freak coincidence" that Mrs. Cantor's bank received a $267 million bailout from legislation her husband helped push through.  She said she had no idea where the money came from, and certainly never lobbied for it.

But once in awhile, there's a slip-up and Diana Cantor's paper prints the truth. Somehow, "Politifact Virginia" managed to hack into the paper's website (or so Eric might have us believe) last October and award him with their top "Pants on Fire" liar rating when he said that "in the past two years the Democrats have spent more money than this country spent in the last 200 years combined." 

 And Politifact was duly aghast, writing: "That's wrong no matter how you slice it! And it's not just wrong -- it's ridiculously wrong. We rate the claim Pants on Fire."

The AP awarded Cantor its "hypocrite of the week" honors when he became majority leader this year and promptly increased spending on his own staff by 16 percent, at the same time he was positioning himself as a deficit hawk.  All told, Cantor has raised staff salaries by a total of 81 percent since he was elected to Congress.

Another memorable headline in Cantor hypocrisy says it all: "Stimulus Dollars Have Not Produced Jobs, Cantor Says, While Hosting a Jobs Fair With Companies That Received $52 Million to Create Jobs." (ThinkProgress).

Feeling depressed, angry, bored by all of this? Take heart.  Out of the miasma of the Virginia swamps arises one E. Wayne Powell, a former military intelligence officer and progressive Democrat who is mounting a serious challenge to our favorite crooked politician.  Nobody has ever seriously challenged Cantor before. The man is entrenched in the corrupt system. But Powell is starting early, has tons of support and is raising money. And he doesn't look like a Spineless Democrat!  He looks like he could easily take on Cantor's hired thugs.  I eagerly anticipate the debates Eric will cancel out of his customary cowardice, and his inevitable McCarthyesque downfall, and a reprieve from more egregious nastiness to come out of one politician in 10 years than in more than 200 years of the entire history of American politics. Let Politifact check that claim out, and I can guarantee they'll award it the golden halo of veracity. 

Powell the Powerful: Knuckle Sandwich Maker?

Update 9/1:  There is yet another Democrat vying for Cantor's seat.  His name is David Hunsicker, a combat Air Force veteran who flew missions in Vietnam and a progressive whose first priority is jobs -- and who's also an advocate of Medicare for All.  You can learn more about him here.


4Runner said...

There's gotta be some humor here. Sure enough, over at Left Coast Voices they've posted some anagrams of Repub names. Eric Cantor evolves into Cancer Riot and Erratic Con.

Kate Madison said...

Terrific commentary on Error Controll, Karen! I am sending it to a good friend in Richmond and will post her response--when she gets out of the ER after reading this.

Virginia is beyond the dogs these days. I remember when it was a fairly decent place (I lived in NoVa for 30 years). As soon as the Cheneys moved in and Bush started dancing at the end of his puppet strings, things got ugly. Eric Cantor is a part of all that. And worse.

It has occurred to me that it may take a couple of generations for the South to stop fighting the Civil War with profiteers like Cantor--and maybe not even then. Or maybe this is just another version of Reconstruction?

Boo fucking hoo.

Anonymous said...

I remember when I was afraid of George Allen. Today, I thought he'd be an improvement over Cantor. Have I lost my mind?


Valerie said...

Excellent post, Karen. People like Cantor are so blatant! But then again, they are relying on the MSM to give them lots of cover. Thanks for shedding light. And best of luck to the two Democratic challengers. Either one sounds like a massive improvement.