Cantor is just the beginning

Some catching up to do after a few days away…

Apparently, there was an event over the weekend in which the forces of light overcame the legions of darkness. Or maybe it was the 7th district GOP convention doing its best Monty Python imitation. While I agree with what Jim wrote here, and D.J. McGuire wrote here, I can’t help but be amused by the following quote in Tony Lee’s write-up of the affair:

[Pat] McSweeney said Saturday’s outcome has energized Brat’s supporters who outnumbered Cantor’s allies and has convinced doubters that a victory for Brat is at least still “plausible” in June if Brat can raise enough money and ride the momentum provided by Gruber’s win to his advantage.

He also said Saturday’s victory would have a long-term impact.

“The Tea Party and conservative insurgents now realize that they are no longer insurgents, but have prevailed,” McSweeney told Breitbart News. “They will make an effort to neutralize the impression that they are angry, negative people by urging the establishment folks to stay involved in working with the conservatives to build the Party. They will concentrate on pushing a positive policy agenda.”

An intramural party scrum will not affect the outcome of the 7th district primary. Mr. Cantor will win, but his margin is an open question. Anything less than 60 percent all but guarantees him a challenge in 2016 from the camp currently advising Mr. Brat. Very likely, with the new district leadership, they will attempt to put the race to a nominating convention (though the Virginia code would seem to indicate otherwise…more fun for lawyers ahead).

And now regarding what Pat said…

He is absolutely right that the new 7th district leadership will have to “neutralize the impression that they are angry.” That will be a tall order for some — on both sides. Overcoming hurt feelings, warnings of doom and mutual anathemas would be a chore for anyone. As for the idea of pushing a “positive policy agenda,” yes, that does need to happen. It has always been necessary, regardless of who is in charge. But I also believe D.J. McGuire is correct when he wrote:

…based on emails and comments I have seen, it looks like Saturday was all about personalities. That saddens me. There are good reasons to be upset with Eric Cantor (chief among them, the bank bailout), but it appears much of the GVRB is about settling scores and assuaging grudges.

The task ahead is to see who will step forward and be the grown-up who wants to get things done. So far, the field is full of two-year olds.

And boy, do they have a laundry list of grievances:

“We’re not convinced that the fight over the nomination method going forward has been settled. We expect to have that fight next year and in 2016 and 2017,” McSweeney said. He noted that Ed Gillespie, who is running for Senate this year in what is possibly a trial run for a gubernatorial campaign in 2017, and Cantor “represent what remains of the old Bush machine in Virginia” and the “outcome yesterday will give Gillespie heartburn.

Mr. Gillespie, take note: they are coming for you, too.

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