Eric Cantor calls for GOP unity
By: James Hohmann
December 7, 2013 03:42 PM EST
HOT SPRINGS, Va.—House Majority Leader Eric Cantor pleaded for Republican unity here Saturday as he prodded his party to offer more solutions that make voters feel like they have their backs on “kitchen table” issues.
The congressman, who represents a district around Richmond, told about 500 party activists during a lunch at The Homestead resort that the GOP does not need to compromise its core principles.
“If we want to win, we must begin to offer solutions to the problems that people face every day,” he said. “We have not done this recently and it has allowed the Democrats to take power, it has allowed them to pursue their politics of partisan division, and even worse … it has allowed them to enact their leftist agenda.”
At the first gathering of GOP leaders since Ken Cuccinelli’s defeat in last month’s governor’s race, Cantor argued that there is no “sugarcoating” the losses and the “very real challenges” facing the party.
“The last time our party failed to hold any of the five statewide offices in Virginia was in 1969,” he said, noting that this is when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. “So these recent defeats have inflamed a lot of tension and as a result, we’ve been seeing a lot of finger pointing and a lot of blame and feelings of resentment. Now we’ve got to commit to ending that. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t win elections.”
His 25-minute speech came during the annual three-day Republican Party of Virginia “Advance.”
Cantor said that showing Republicans care about their plight does not mean sacrificing conservative values.
“If we take our conservative principles and bring them directly to the kitchen table, if we speak directly to the people and explain why our conservative solutions work and why liberal ideas are set up to fail, there is no beating our Republican Party,” he said.
“When our party is not united, and when we fail to offer a plan that connects with people and the problems that they’re having, we lose at the ballot box,” he added. “And, when we lose at the ballot box, we get policies like Obamacare.”
The party lacks a clear figurehead with the impending departure of outgoing Gov. Bob McDonnell from the scene, and Cantor may try to fill some of the leadership vacuum. In his speech, he spoke about the need to talk with voters all over the state: dry cleaners in Arlington, parents in Midlothian and seniors in Abingdon.
“If we show them we’re with them, we can win elections,” he said.