It is time for new, fresh blood. But a caveat emptor warning is in order.
House Minority Whip Roy Blunt announced this morning that he’s stepping down to make way for Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor:
He gave a nod to his expected successor, Mr. Cantor, saying the Virginia Republican “has done a great job. He’s been a good partner in our efforts.”
The whip’s job is to count noses and corral House Republicans’ votes on key issues. Mr. Blunt has held the job since taking over when former Rep. Tom DeLay became Republicans’ House leader in 2003.
Mr. Cantor has been Mr. Blunt’s chief deputy since then, and his ascent was expected once Mr. Blunt gave up the reins.
Cantor is supported by many Beltway Republican types. But other close observers have raised red flags. See Quin Hilyer here and read this especially worrisome piece from last week about his role in the Crap Sandwich debacle:
House Republican Deputy Whip Eric Cantor has spent the last week making calls to fellow Republican House members he believes will survive next week’s election, according to several members who received the call. “He is already lining up support for his next job,” says one member who spoke to Cantor. “I’m not sure what it is, and he doesn’t seem to know, but it’s not going to be deputy job, that’s for sure.”
On the call, according to another member, Cantor apologized for the two economic bailout votes that were forced on some Republicans after the initial vote failed to gain passage. “He said the bailout bill and the votes were a mistake,” a third member said. “He was apologetic about it, which was no big deal to me, I didn’t vote for it. I thought he was wrong. I wish he’d call the folks who are losing right now. That’s what a leader would do.”
… Cantor, however, has failed to distinguish himself with many House Republicans. He angered a number of members after the first bailout bill failed, by claiming the vote had nothing to do with principled objections to the bill, and more to do with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s floor remarks before the vote.
Cantor, as well, is known inside the Republican caucus for playing it safe on both policy and floor politics, something some Republicans don’t believe the party can afford to do given the last two election cycles.
Is this the best they can do? Wouldn’t it help to have someone in charge who was right from the start about the bailout disaster– someone who has the demonstrated ability to oppose new socialist onslaughts, defend fundamental conservative principles, build viable support for alternative proposals that do more good than harm, and expose threats immediately before it’s too late?
I expect too much, I guess.