Cantor Can He?
Democrats are garnering some attention for their concerted effort to designate Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia as the poster boy for obstructionist Republican legislators who say “no” to President Obama’s policy agenda. In a previous post, I mentioned that Cantor, who serves as Minority Whip in the House, is the only member of the Republican leadership who seems to have any political juice at the moment. Even Obama ribbed him a bit at a recent White House summit on entitlement reform, telling Cantor that (against all odds) he would doggedly try to earn his respect on policy ideas over the next four years.
Given the moribund state of Republican leadership in Congress, there are several reasons for Cantor’s seemingly sudden appearance on the radar screens of most national political elites, observers and reporters. Although Cantor has been in Congress since 2000, he just assumed the position of Minority Whip in January. So, he represents a fresh face and political presence, especially for the media. His prior gig as Deputy Minority Whip just didn’t give him the same level of visibility. And, because he is telegenic and only two years younger than President Obama, he will inevitably be cast in the role of generational foil to the president. He is a perfect fit for the oppositional narrative currently being written between the two parties.
All of that said, I don’t necessarily think this sets Cantor up for a presidential bid in 2012. I still believe that opponent is most likely to come from the ranks of current or former Republican governors. Cantor will more likely use his role as both movement conservative and legislative tactician to serve as a key institutional adversary to Obama. You should be prepared to see a whole lot more of him on television over the next four years.


Posted On: 03-13-2009 22:37:27 by jay welsh
I'm surprised no one has noticed his uncanny resemblance to a certain mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper who fights a never ending battle for truth, justice and the American way...and who also has a habit of changing clothes in phone booths. His politics, including wrapping himself in the American flag, are also similar. Not terribly deep, I'm afraid, but on point. jbw

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