Dave Brat

Don’t feel sorry for Eric Cantor: Ex-House leader stands to do well working as a lobbyist

Former House leader Eric Cantor couldn’t wait to quit Congress after the 11 years he spent in the leadership were unpredictably brought to a close after his loss to economics professor Dave Brat.

He couldn’t wait to get his hands on the money the private sector wanted to offer for his expertise, either. At least that’s now former colleagues and aides have been suggesting.

According to Politico, the move to simply quit Congress four months short of his official departure plays well into a possible shift into the private sector. By leaving now, Cantor doesn’t have to offer any details to the public on what companies he’s been considering to work for.

Close allies and friends claim he was ready to move on the day after his loss.

Sadly for us, people like Cantor often move out of Congress to continue to work on shaping policy, but from the outside. Whereas in 1974, about 3 percent of retiring Senators found a job with some lobbying firm, about 50 percent of Senators today are able to successfully quit Congress to become lobbyists.

The presence of a Senator in a firm’s lobbying team is valuable because, over time, former lawmakers are able to use their contacts, meaning more access to means of tilting policies toward what the firm’s clients have in mind.

The man who ended Eric Cantor: Dave Brat’s unusual traits as professor make him a promising congressional candidate

Dave Brat

Robert Thomas is an alumnus of Randolph-Macon College, Class of 2011, where he completed his B.A. in Economics/Business and Philosophy. He currently resides and works in Arlington, VA and is pursuing an M.A. in Philosophy with a concentration in Ethics and Public Affairs at George Mason University.

Dave Brat’s name has been splashed across national media headlines ever since his upset primary victory over Eric Cantor. Most of the coverage has focused on speculation about the reasons for his electoral success, what it means for national political trends, and its impact on the House Republican leadership structure.

By contrast, little ink has been spilled and few keyboards have clattered with discussion about what to actually expect from him as a prospective congressman, and what he might achieve within the House. Maybe a firsthand perspective can help fill that gap.

Over the course of four years as a student at Randolph-Macon College, I had a chance to get to know Dave Brat well before his appearance on the national political stage. He was my professor in my studies in economics, my supervisor in my work as a student assistant with the Department of Economics and Business, and, alongside his colleague Ed Showalter, my coach as a member of Randolph-Macon’s team in the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges’ annual Ethics Bowl competition.

Across those four years and many experiences, I came to know him well and to respect him deeply.

As a professor with distinct conservative and libertarian leanings teaching courses on subjects like economics and ethics, it was a rare moment when he didn’t have a clear position on the topic of the day’s lecture, but he always pushed students to understand competing points of view and the arguments behind them.

Big Business Republicans are going to outspend grassroots conservatives every time; but there’s a way we can defeat them.

Phone Banking

Soon-to-be-former Congressman Eric Cantor spent more campaign cash at steakhouses than Dave Brat spent during his entire primary challenge. And leading up to the May 21 pre-primary filing deadline, Cantor outraised Brat by a stunning 25-to-1 margin.

For those who bemoan big money in politics, this is an unexpected lesson in the power of the grassroots over campaign cash. The steakhouse statistic isn’t the reason why Cantor lost, but it is indicative of the culture of entrenched incumbency. Most Members of Congress — both Democrat and Republican — believe to some extent that they are entitled to their position.

Perhaps that’s the nature of power.

Unfortunately for grassroots conservatives, victories like Brat’s are not the norm. Open Secrets has tracked incumbent re-election rates since 1964, and 9 times out of 10, these guys get re-elected with very little opposition. There are very few instances where re-election rates dip below 90%, and most of them are on the Senate side.

And as Molly Ball reports in The Atlantic, “No sitting majority leader has lost a primary since the position was invented in 1899.” The fact that fewer and fewer House seats are competitive in a general election means that to defeat most of these incumbents, someone will have to take them out in the primary.

Eric Cantor is rewarded by Wall Street cronies: Ex-House leader lands a cushy new job at an investment bank

Don’t you shed a tear for Eric Cantor. The recently defeated and now retired ex-House Majority Leader has, as predicted, landed what sounds like a pretty sweet gig working for Moelis & Company, a Wall Street investment firm:

“Eric has proven himself to be a pro-business advocate and one who will enhance our boardroom discussions with CEOs and senior management as we help them navigate their most important strategic decisions,” the firm’s founder, Ken Moelis said in a statement.

Cantor is signing on with the boutique investment bank as a vice chairman and managing director, the company said. He will also be elected to its board of directors. The firm said Cantor will “provide strategic counsel to the firm’s corporate and institutional clients on key issues. He will play a leading role in client development and advise clients on strategic matters.”

The Cost of Incumbency: Eric Cantor is soliciting donations from Republican lawmakers to bailout his campaign account

Eric Cantor

Raising money for your campaign is difficult. A serious candidate for Congress must spend hours on the phone, prostrating him or herself before high-dollar donors for a few thousand dollars. It’s an incredibly humbling process.

It’s even more humbling if you’ve already lost the election for which you’re raising money. Candidates sometimes go into debt before an election, hedging their bets that they’ll make it across the finish line. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t.

Eric Cantor lost his Republican primary in early June to a long-shot, grassroots-backed economist. But not before he’d hedged his bets against Dave Brat. POLITICO reports:

Eric Cantor’s stunning primary defeat is leaving his campaign in a financial bind.

The Virginia Republican’s political operation has asked his House GOP colleagues to cut checks so he can wind down his once-powerful campaign committee, as well as pay his campaign staffers and cover any other related costs stemming from his stunning defeat last month.

Under federal law, Cantor would also have to repay any funds meant for the general election spent during his unsuccessful primary campaign battle against fellow Republican Dave Brat. Since he lost and has no general election in November, Cantor would be required to return those general-election contributions to the donors.

Several lawmakers and GOP aides said Cantor needs to raise upwards of $150,000 to shut down his campaign committee, perhaps far more.

Big Business is freaking out about the building wave against cronyism

Big Business and the Wall Street class are still trying to figure out what to make of outgoing Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) stunning loss to Dave Brat and what it means for the national political landscape now that it appears the Tea Party movement is experiencing a resurgence, as The New York Times explains:

His loss at the hands of David Brat, a Tea Party-inspired economics professor who campaigned on throwing corrupt Wall Street bankers in jail, railed against crony capitalism and insisted that immigration reform would only reward lawbreakers, spurred business leaders to mobilize to preserve their clout in Congress. Already uneasy over what they see as an especially hostile strain of anticorporate populism growing within the conservative movement, and threatening the traditional corporate-friendly centers of power inside the Republican Party, many businesses fear the loss of some of their strongest champions on Capitol Hill.
What has concerned many businesses with a stake in federal policy is a growing anger on the right from people who can sound more Occupy Wall Street than Tea Party.

“You could even make a case that there’s a lot in common between the Tea Party types and the Elizabeth Warren liberals,” said Gregory R. Valliere, the chief political strategist for the Potomac Research Group. “The impact of what’s happened is going to make Republicans in the House apprehensive about appearing to be too cozy to business.”

Thank you, Eric Cantor: Outgoing Congressman vows to vote for Brat, and that’s important.

Dave Brat, Republican

Though not a glowing endorsement, outgoing Congressman Eric Cantor vowed to vote for Dave Brat in the November election, an important step in unifying Republican Party elements in the wake of Cantor’s bruising primary defeat last week.

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Cantor said, “I want a Republican to hold this seat. Of course. Of course. This is about making sure that we have a strong Republican majority in the House.”

For Virginia conservatives, this is strikingly different than what happened during the 2013 gubernatorial race when moderate elements led by former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling withheld support from conservative Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Bolling’s criticism of Cuccinelli led former Cantor aide Boyd Marcus to endorse crony capitalist Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who won the gubernatorial election by a thinner-than-expected margin.

The 2013 race, like the Brat vs. Cantor primary, was yet another battle between pro-market, liberty-oriented Republicans and Big Business, cronyist Republicans.

All too often, conservatives are expected to rally behind the Republican nominee when a moderate wins (a la, Romney 2012), but moderate Republicans are labeled “statesmen” when they defect and endorse Big Business Democrats or remain silent.

The Washington Establishment is “concerned” Dave Brat’s win could “empower” conservatives… and they should be.

Peter King concerned

Wouldn’t you know it, Establishment Republicans like Congressman Peter King are “uncomfortable” with the success off grassroots-backed conservatives like Dave Brat, who shocked Washington on Tuesday night when he defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by a pretty wide margin.

Brat ran a truly grassroots campaign against Cantor’s crony capitalist tendencies.

His success has reinvigorated Tea Party-endorsed Republicans, according to The Hill:

Tea Party-backed senators eyeing White House bids in 2016 are encouraged by the victory of an underfunded challenger to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), a grandee of the GOP establishment.

Their glee comes as mainstream Republicans are wringing their hands about what the historic upset means for the future of their party, fretting that it could signal a larger Tea Party uprising.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) argued David Brat’s 11-point win showed that conservative principles can triumph over fundraising might and special-interest backing.

Cruz declared the surprise development demonstrates “the conservative base is alive and well.”

Rubio praised Brat as “very impressive” and noted the similarities between their views.

Paul pointed to the role played by “liberty” voters who are leery about government surveillance.

Denial: Cantor’s political establishment friends can’t grasp that his loss was about cronyism

Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is trying to dismiss the notion that soon-to-be former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost on Tuesday night because of his connections to big business:

Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, noted his group wasn’t involved in the Cantor primary, and said the Chamber has yet to lose in any of the races where it has spent money this year.

“We have lots of allies,” he told Bloomberg Television. “Look, you can try to make this the story of the year, but it’s not going to last very long.”
But Donohue pushed back against the notion that the Tea Party defeated Cantor.

“The Tea Party had nothing to do with this,” he said.

“They weren’t in, they didn’t put any money in, they didn’t have any people there. It was sort of an attractive professor in a very, very conservative district in Virginia. And everybody was surprised.”

Today in Liberty: House GOP set elect new leaders on June 19, gun control group caught lying about shooting numbers

“Governments constantly choose between telling lies and fighting wars, with the end result always being the same. One will always lead to the other.” — Thomas Jefferson

— House Republican leadership schedule for June 19: And they’re already taking shape. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who was dealt a stunning and overwhelming loss on Tuesday, will step down from his post at the end of July. That move is expected to open up two top leadership spots — Majority Leader and Majority Whip. Things are moving quickly, but current Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) seem to be emerging as two main candidates for Majority Leader ahead of the June 19 conference election. Whatever happens, however, House conservatives could be serious players in what is a delicate process, and that could be good news for Hensarling.

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