Professional Political Bloviators everywhere are rushing to weigh in with their post mortems about Eric Cantor’s epic primary loss last week. Some say it was the Tea Party showing its political muscle others such as the White House say it wasn’t immigration reform, still others say it was just Cantor was out of touch.
Of course it could be there was another reason, a sign from God that the political world was about to stir in the Nation’s Capitol that I would like to proffer. Last month several blocks from the convention center in Downtown Washington there was a curious building collapse next to the Cloakroom Strip club. The collapse of the building sent the cooks and several scantily clad “employees” out into the street.
OK, did that have anything to do with Cantor’s loss? Most likely not, and if it was a message from God, the patrons of the traditionally progressive activist hole at the next door Busboys and Poets would never have figured out it was divine providence or the possible judgement of the Almighty. Perhaps the better philosopher to sort out the carnage of the House GOP leader would be former LA Laker star James Worthy, who, in a beer commercial he once cut, said “How you celebrate says a lot about the victory itself.”
Or in the case of Eric Cantor’s staff it wasn’t about a victory, but how they accepted defeat. The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported that once the boss delivered the news to a stunned crowd in Richmond, Cantor’s staff “self-medicated” in Washington by heading down to the Capitol Hill Neighborhood bar – The Tune Inn. “the commiserators wiped away their tears and immediately opened their wallets – ponying up $500 and $1,000 apiece in order to cover the $6,500 required to have the bar to themselves from 6 p.m. ’til closing.”
It’s no secret that Washington, DC has the highest rate of alcoholism of any major American city but here it is the supposed professional do-gooder – know-more-than-the-rest-of-us political class totally taking themselves out of any kind of touch, if there was any left. You could say from this, that the voters of Virginia’s 7th Congressional district just at a basic level wanted sober representation in Washington. What kind of group of joe sixpacks are even left in Barack Obama’s America, that could drop $6,500 on a nightly bar tab? Not many.
The stories of the decadence of Cantor’s organization also ran in Politico after the loss. In an article entitled “Why Eric Cantor chose Bobby Vans” – “in the 2014 cycle, all federal candidates have spent just over $9,000 on Chipotle, and $1,229 at Ruby Tuesday, according to numbers compiled by CQ Moneyline. In the same span, they have spent more than $400,000 at Bobby Van’s.”
Bobby Vans is noted for being an elite steakhouse and the Politico article continued with a quote from Lisa Spies a former Romney fundraiser “It’s rare that you would see a fundraiser at a Ruby Tuesday or a Chipotle. You’ve got to spend money to raise money.”
And what happened with all of that money? It bought Cantor negative notoriety that he was bought and paid for by all of these corporate Chamber of Commerce donors all fronted by former Romney people, failed GOP consultants and apparent yes men who gave him bum numbers to lounge around at Starbucks in Washington that Tuesday morning while his district was getting ready to send him a pink slip.
Eric Cantor made the decision that he was not going to be hanging out at Chipotle’s and Ruby Tuesdays like the primary voters of the 7th District. It cost him dearly. Frank Underwood, the Kevin Spacey character in the show House of Cards had it right when he was hanging out in a very dive Rib serving joint. I have my own dive joint in Washington – Crown’s Fried Chicken – that serves me my $6.59 double hamburgers. Perhaps the rest of the GOP leadership should show up there before they too meet Cantor’s fate.