Eric Cantor's layers of defense
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) could become House majority leader if the Republicans win as many seats next Tuesday as many pundits believe they will.
Cantor, whose 7th District runs from Richmond west to the foothills of the Blue Ridge, is a favorite of the GOP establishment and the Richmond business elite. As the Wall Street Journal put it earlier this month, if Cantor wins, he would be in "the second most powerful post in that chamber behind the speaker. And he could be Barack Obama's worst nightmare."
Should that happen, Cantor has vowed to become a truth squad and ethics disciplinarian against Obama and the Democratic Party. Cantor has the endorsement of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which is owned by Media General, where Cantor's wife, Diana, serves as a director (just coincidental, the TD reminds us).
Yet Cantor has been taking a few lumps. The increasingly powerful Tea Party is clearly anti-Cantor, claiming that he's just another big-spending Main Street Republican.
And his refusal to debate his opponents raises questions about his newly found populism. One critic dresses up as a chicken and follows Cantor around as he campaigns claiming that the congressman is afraid to debate.
Cantor also has a tendency to surround himself with layers of defense, as was the case Monday when he appeared at a coffee shop in the small town of Louisa, supposedly to meet voters.
One man attending was John Taylor, a member of the Louisa County Democratic Committee and a backer of Rick Waugh, Cantor's Democratic opponent. Taylor and two others were asked to leave the coffee shop. County police then subdued Taylor, as can be seen in a video shot by his son with his cell phone.
Events like these raise questions about the decorum of the man who would be in such a powerful position on Capitol Hill. Violence at campaign stops, regardless of who may be at fault, is not something commonplace in Virginia politics.
If Cantor says he will meet and debate voters, he should have the nerve to do so. He should not hide behind his party's gatekeepers and a rural police department.
Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon's Rebellion . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
| October 26, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Local blog network, Va. Politics, Virginia, crime, development, economy, education, energy, environment, media, police, taxes
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