If House Republicans respond to the shocking primary defeat of Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., by elevating his handpicked successor Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., it would be beyond tone-deaf. It would be pure absurdity.
Though we’ll never know precisely why Cantor was knocked off byDave Brat, an obscure economics professor, it’s clear that in recent years, Cantor lost the trust of the conservative base and became a symbol of Washington. Whether it was on immigration or fighting to shrink the size and scope of government, Cantor was increasingly at odds with conservatives and far too cozy with business interests.
His defeat presents House Republicans with an opportunity to signal — ahead of the 2014 midterm elections — that they’re listening to conservatives. But by elevating McCarthy, who is next in line as whip, they’d be sending the opposite message — that they’re determined to crush conservatives.
Several groups placed McCarthy’s voting record well to the left of Cantor’s for 2013. …
As Red State’s Erick Erickson pointed out, McCarthy even participated in a retreat for liberal Republicans at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla. The event was hosted by the RepublicanMain Street Partnership, which is a group run by representative-turned-lobbyist Steve LaTourette aimed at defeating conservatives. The organization includes big labor unions among its donors.