Cantor Did Indeed Lose On Immigration; And Integrity
Posted 06:35 PM ET
Principle: As we warned, Republicans were playing with fire by taking their base for granted on immigration. But the surprising primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was about integrity and leadership, too.
When the House's second most powerful Republican loses his party's primary, it obviously isn't over unrepaired potholes in suburban Richmond. Virginia's 7th District just delivered a national message, a loud wake-up call to House Speaker John Boehner and all of Washington's GOP leaders.
Cantor didn't lose over a single issue, of course. But immigration has become an unexpected touchstone; a Republican who lets Democrats intimidate him on amnesty for illegal aliens can almost always be found unreliable on other issues as well. This was the case with Cantor on spending, debt, entitlement reform, tax increases, defunding ObamaCare, foreign aid, corporate welfare, regulation, reining in Big Labor and reducing federal power in favor of state governments.
A one-issue rebuff would not force someone to quit his leadership position, which is exactly what Cantor immediately announced, effective at the end of July.
His impressive opponent, Randolph-Macon College economics professor Dave Brat, won with about $200,000 against Cantor's $5.4 million. But Brat had something more valuable than money.
"I always tell the truth," he said recently when asked what voters should know about him. In Washington "everyone's insulated," but "I will be the voice of the people, and I will be accessible."
Cantor, by contrast, absurdly chose to depict an opponent — who was boosted by talk radio hosts Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, plus firebrand conservative columnist Ann Coulter — as a liberal. Voters are just tired of being lied to — on politics and policy and principle.
Which brings us back to immigration. The willingness of Cantor, Boehner, the admirable Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and other GOP leaders — often scheming in secret — to make amnesty-based change a must-do item this year defies rational analysis.
Supposedly there's support for such legislation among GOP voters. But the polls — usually conducted by Democrats — that prove it use skewed questions, promising a miracle law that "would secure our borders, block employers from hiring undocumented immigrants." Then, if "a long list of requirements is met over more than a decade," illegals are set on "a path to citizenship."
We were promised all this in 1986's immigration law. Amnesty happened at once; border security and hiring safeguards never did. Democrats know lots of immigration, legal and illegal, means more votes for them. And, ultimately, the end of the GOP as we know it.
Now we have an unprecedented crisis: disease and sexual abuse at the Mexican border as tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors exploit a breakdown of U.S. rule of law that can be blamed wholly on the White House.
If Boehner and other powerful Republicans won't hold the president to account on that latest in a long list of scandals, they shouldn't be surprised when their own party's voters hold them to account.