Saturday, January 10, 2009

Profile: Eric Cantor in 2012

Contender: Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor

Official Site

Wikipedia Page

2008 National Journal Ranking: 61st most conservative

Why he's important: His job whipping up Republicans into a 188 wall against Barack Obama's stimulus was nothing short of extraordinary. Since then, he's resisted daily accusations about "obstructionism" with frequent media appearances articulating a clear message of jobs, jobs, jobs.

Called out Nancy Pelosi for politicizing the first bailout bill, and in doing so, received the wrath of Barney Frank. A fellow Republican congressman remarked that "it was because of Eric that we kept our cool" during the chaos preceding the bailout.

Ideology: To the right. He's pro-life, having received a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee and 0% from NARAL. He passes social right litmus tests by supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man/one woman, and was given a 0% rating by the Human Rights Campaign. He's pro-business. In 2003, he received a 100% rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and a 0% rating from the AFL-CIO. He's voted to eliminate the death tax, make the Bush cuts permanent, and reduce the capital gains tax. He's tough on drugs but has voted to expand services for criminal offenders' to reenter society successfully. He's not a conservationist. In 2005, voted to deauthorize "critical habitat" for endangered species, and received a 0% rating from the League of Conservation voters.

[For more, see On the Issues, Eric Cantor]

Why he can win: As House Minority Whip, he's quickly becoming the face of the new GOP. He's young, hails from an important state, and is eager to embrace new technology and Republican ideas. As a Jew with strong ties to the community, he could seize states with key Jewish constituencies if Obama is seen as weak on Israeli-Palestinian relations. The Washington Post recently called him "the GOP's rising star to rehabilitate the party".

Why he can't win: Congressional leaders often become too politically polarized to successfully navigate the bipartisan waters of general elections. Cantor will carry both the good and bad that come with 4 years of growing name recognition as he tussles with Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and House Dems. With his youth and smile, he seems like someone who'd have sufficient charisma to capture the White House, but despite his southern accent, is somewhat bookish as a public speaker and doesn't exude a hades-dump of warmth.

Odds and Ends: A funny video of some punk asking Cantor whom he'd support in a war between Israel and the United States. The last 20 seconds of the 1 + minute interview are priceless. Cantor's a good sport for putting up with it.

For more GOP 12 Candidate Profiles...

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
South Dakota Senator John Thune
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson
Florida Governor Charlie Crist
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker
Former Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne
South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint

More coming soon...


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