Saturday, August 02, 2014

Cantor's Parting Shot

Soon to be a former Congressman, Eric Cantor wrote a piece for the Richmond Times-Dispatch explaining his decision to quit serving as the elected representative of Virginia’s 7th District. It was published on Aug. 2.

Cantor opened his OpEd piece in this way: 
It has been the highest honor of my professional life to serve the people of Virginia’s 7th District in Congress. That is why it is with tremendous gratitude and a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from Congress, effective Aug. 18.
Cantor went on in this cloying fashion: 
During this time of transition for me and my family, it is my foremost desire to ensure that representation is maintained for the people of the 7th District. For this reason, I have asked Governor McAuliffe to hold a special election on Election Day, at no additional cost to taxpayers, so my successor can be sworn in immediately in November. It is vitally important that the constituents have a clear and strong voice during the consequential lame-duck session of Congress.
Then Cantor continued with several paragraphs of boilerplate Republican talking points. But, his heavy heart notwithstanding, at no time did the man who was first elected to serve in the House of Representatives in 2000 explain why he resigned. After all, if he truly is so concerned that the voters in his district have representation he could have just finished the job he was elected to do without issuing instructions to Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Apparently, after being a boss, to stay on the job for four months as a lame duck didn't suit Cantor much. Instead, he appears to have taken a page from Sarah Palin’s book and walked away from his job at his own convenience, in order to get a head start on a new career of chasing money. How surprised will anyone be should that career include lobbying Congress from a K Street office?

So the clock starts ticking on the one year the law requires between Cantor's leaving Congress and directly lobbying his former colleagues. Apparently he can become a paid adviser to lobbyists and he’s allowed to call on federal agencies for clients as soon as he pleases. Maybe he'll wait until after Labor Day to assume that role.       

While I understand that some conservative ideologues may have been happy with Cantor’s voting record, over the years, but I doubt all that many of his constituents will really miss Cantor’s transparently self-serving ways, his weasel words or his trademark sneer.

So to be fair, Eric Cantor, 51, is leaving elected office exhibiting the same style he has used in his public life all along. Whether McAuliffe will choose to follow Cantor's parting shot strategy to call a special election remains to be seen.

Update (Aug. 6): Jeff Schapiro tells it like it is.

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