Tag Archive: Eric Cantor

Brat, A Self-Made Phony Yet An Honest Representative of the Right

Hypocrisy, exaggeration and deception are part and parcel of democratic politics, but all lies, I have learned, are not equal, nor should they be received that way. Some lies are much more deceptive, cunning and misleading than others, as are the liars that tell them. A good example is currently winding its way through the web and blogosphere, and it concerns the current darling of the Tea Party, David Brat.

Brat’s unexpected primary victory against Republican Party Bigwig/Congressman Eric Cantor is huge news, and rightfully so. As a Tea Party favorite, Brat’s victory serves as a warning to more moderate Republicans that so-called free market, laissez-faire Tea Party values still hold credence with Republican voters.

The Tea Party and its Republican supporters live in a sort of “way we never were” cloud where America is (or should be) rightfully a white, Christian country comprised of English-speaking hard workers who, in their noble, honest self-sufficiency are not in need, nor desire, any welfare-state handouts like Medicare, Social Security or almost anything else state-sponsored or supported. They see themselves as the once marginalized but now awakened  “Silent Majority” whose time to stand up – unapologetically so – for American values and identity has arrived. According to Tea Partiers and many Republicans, people who get a “boost” from government programs are cheating an otherwise fair and square system which rewards hard work and honesty with The Good Life.

So wasn’t I surprised when I read that in his official campaign biography, Brat makes an astounding claim:

“[Brat] tested his rural values against the intellectual elite while at Princeton and against the powerful elite at American University.”

Okay, so from a reasonable reader’s perspective, the assertion here is immediately understood. Brat attended college as a sort of noble underdog undergraduate at Princeton University. The image is quite clear of a young conservative man standing up for good American Christian values in the profane, ivy covered halls of Princeton University…perhaps passionately defending the rights of the unborn against the Abortionist professors of that esteemed institution. Perhaps he made an entire U.S. government class gasp when he publicly proclaimed his stance against affirmative action or immigration or on some other hot button issue. So here’s the kicker:

It never happened.

Brat never gained admission to or graduated from Princeton University. He lied. He misrepresented himself and tried to convince his readers, supporters and others that he earned something that he did not.  

In reality, Brat apparently – though I still think this needs to be confirmed – attended Princeton Theological Seminary. Is the seminary geographically located in the town of Princeton? Why yes, it is. Is it known by anyone, past or present, as being part of Princeton University? No, not by a long shot. In fact, its students and graduates either call it by name or refer to it as “PTS.”

This is no small omission, and he shouldn’t get a break on it. America is indeed the land of fudged resumes, and of people reinventing themselves – sometimes twice over. But what we have here is a candidate who represents a movement that, like I mentioned earlier, is obsessed with merit and straightforwardness, and Brat, in his claims, honors neither. He’s a fraud and wannabe. His claims are an insult not just to Princeton alumni, but rather, to any and all of us who ever worked and earned a four-year college degree anywhere. Its especially stinging for those of us burdened with tens of thousands of dollars in college loans that the Tea Party demands we repay regardless of the cost to our families and the national economy. He’s a fake, a phony. He’s pathetic.

But curiously enough, I will concede that Brat is a fine representative of the entire Tea Party movement, and that of the Republican Party as well. Because if you do really believe that you’ve earned everything in your life, and that you owe nothing to your society or nation or community, then you’re about as much as a hypocrite as he is. The truth is that most if not all Americans have received immense benefits, both directly and indirectly, from the various levels of government over the course of their lifetimes. Whether it was attending public school, driving on an interstate highway, breathing in relatively clean air, gaining a benefit from an unadulterated medication, cashing a Social Security/Medicare check or sending an email – we have all proven to be welfare kings and queens. We have all advanced at some point in our lives from the imperfect largesse of the Federal and State governments.

And you don’t need a Princeton degree to figure that one out.  

The Tea Party in Virginia, New Jersey and Congress

Many were shocked today to learn that in Virginia the prominent Eric Cantor, a conservative Republican and House Majority Leader, was defeated in the primary by a Tea Party candidate. In Republican dominated congressional districts such resurgence of the Tea Party, which is not a Party, has nothing to do with tea, and is only vaguely related to a historic Boston event, should not be surprising. In the wake Cantor has stepped down from his leadership position.

In New Jersey we saw the Tea Party’s influence in the Primary races. In CD 3, where incumbent  Jon Runyan (R) resigned effective the end of this session, “establishment” candidate Tom MacArthur (R) received 15,261 votes, but Steve Lonegan (R) supported by Tea Party and other arch-conservatives, garnered 10,314 votes. In CD 7 Leonard Lance (R) won 15,609 votes in the primary narrowly beating the frequent Tea Party candidate David Larsen who received 13,105 votes. In CD 11, another Tea Party supported candidate Rick Van Glahn received a respectable 7,700 votes against incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen’s 15,379 votes. While writing this diary, I am listening to incumbent Scott Garrett (R) (CD5) on his “Telephone Town Hall Meeting” where he takes calls from constituents, so far all friendly. Garrett had no opponent in the primary because he is beloved by the Tea Party, as well as banks and financial institutions.             .

The War on Women Continues

Right now, the Violence Against Women Act is being held up in Congress because Eric Cantor believes that Tribal authorities have no right to pursue justice for Native American women who are victims of rape by non-Native rapists.  Currently, in a fact I was made aware of by Chiefs I know personally here in NJ, American Indian women fall through terrifying cracks in our justice system in the United States because of problems with jurisdiction. When I was made aware of this  a few years ago, I could not believe it was not on the news every night. The situation is appalling.  Not only are these women subject to internal domestic abuse due to the harsh conditions so many must endure, they have to deal with being raped by non-native men who cannot be brought to justice in court. It is unthinkable and most Americans I know would be outraged by this – if only they knew it was happening.  

House Leader too scared to face Occupy Philly, pollster sees movement having an impact

Just across the river, #2 House Republican Eric Cantor canceled a planned appearance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School – on the topic of the “growing gap between the rich and poor” no less. Why? A planned protest from Occupy Philadelphia, which has drawn many South Jerseyans to its cause.

“The Office of the Majority Leader was informed last night by Capitol Police that the University of Pennsylvania was unable to ensure that the attendance policy previously agreed to could be met,” Cantor spokeswoman Laena Fallon said in an e-mail.

So – because the University couldn’t ensure that the 99% were going to be kept out, Cantor couldn’t speak on the topic of – the gap between the 1% and the 99%.

But, hey, since Cantor thinks the protestors are “mobs” maybe he is scared to show up.

The news comes on the heels of a national poll finding that 58 percent of Americans are now “angry” at government, and 37 percent support the Occupy Wall Street movement, significantly more than recent polls have found support the Tea Party. This poll led Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray to tweet yesterday that “Something’s happening!” Exactly where this movement goes, who knows – but it seems to be shifting the national debate and seeping into the consciousness of even powerful leaders like Cantor.

Real Americans and Fake Patriots

Ironically but not surprisingly, Sarah Palin and a good number of those on the right like to address their crowds, who have increasingly been playing dress-up as “patriots” (and not in the Tom Brady kind of way), as “Real Americans™”.  They talk about “the tree of liberty”, “patriotism” and any number of cherry picked or out-of-context quotes from the Founding Fathers or the Bible.  Yet when it comes to actions, what we see from her, Scott Garrett, Chris Christie, Eric Cantor, many on the right (and a growing number on the “left” as well) is just the opposite of what a “real American” is.

Real Americans don’t vote for $50 billion in Iraq “reconstruction” like Eric Cantor, Scott Garrett and so many Republicans did with no strings attached, yet demand more cuts here in America to help those in need after devastating earthquakes and hurricanes.

Fake Patriots like Chris Christie and so many Republicans talk about cutting Medicare and social security benefits for those who desperately need them, cloaking it as “reform”, while turning their nose up at raising the social security wage limit to address the most regressive tax in this country.

The one where $60 billion in waste and fraud is ok by Republicans

Last week, I wrote a post about how House Republicans like Scott Garrett and Eric Cantor were using this past week’s disasters (earthquake, Hurricane Irene) and used them as a sick opportunity to take cheap shots at those who were the most in need and vulnerable.

Of course, I’m referring to the self righteous calls for more cuts to desperately needed programs to help those who aren’t super rich in order to pay for cleanup of the massive and widespread damage.

No time for politics

Keith Kazmark is running for mayor in Woodland Park. – promoted by Rosi

Unless you’ve been in hibernation the last week, everyone has seen the magnitude of the damage caused by Hurricane Irene.  The flooding has been historical.  People are displaced, losing their belongings and dealing with the realization of a prolonged rebuilding process.  In my hometown of Woodland Park it has been especially bad, as we sit right inside the Passaic River Basin.  

For the last week, I’ve been working in my role as a member of the Woodland Park Office of Emergency Management to help my neighbors in any way I can. Piling sand bags, assisting our first responders to evacuate people from dangerous areas and helping residents deal with the malaise of PSE&G and power outages.  It hasn’t been an easy process, but we are coming together as a community to get through this disaster.  

But when I hear statements injecting politics into this disaster like we saw from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, I can’t contain my frustration.  

Cantor’s reluctance to fund the Federal Office of Emergency Management is beyond comprehension.  

Priorities

Hopefully, everyone is safe, with power back on if it was lost or all water bailed out (as I spent most of yesterday doing) or all tree branches picked up (as I still have to finish myself).

Before the storm hit, a number of Republicans in Congress felt the need to throw around some gasoline and wave a matchbook at their constituents:

House Republicans demanded earlier this year that new disaster relief be funded by cuts elsewhere, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office said Thursday the Virginia Republican continues to believe that.

Rep. Scott Garrett agreed. Garrett, R-N.J., said through a spokesman it was the “responsible thing to do.”

“With $16 trillion in debt and budget deficits as far as the eye can see, the last thing we should be doing is spending money we don’t have,” Garrett spokesman Ben Veghte said.

Rush Holt on Budget

promoted by Rosi

On August 1, while John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and their colleagues were threatening to shut down the government, Rush Holt gave a speech describing the budget debate as:

at its heart, a debate between two visions for America. One side envisions rebuilding our country, investing in jobs and education and infrastructure, and rising from the Great Recession as a stronger and more resilient Nation. The other side accepts a pessimistic vision of a weakened America with a shrunken government-a Nation hampered by deep cuts to the safety net and hobbled by a refusal to invest in our future.

I couldn’t agree more. And, like the Honorable Representative from the 12th District, I hold with the former.

Here’s the full text, after the jump, of his August 1, 2011 speech. It will be in the Congressional Record as soon as it is updated – assuming, of course, that funds will be budgeted for updating and maintaining the Congressional Record.  

Socialists v Stalinists

The Washington Post reported, on August 6, 2011, that John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and the “Young Guns,” their Republican comrades in the House of Representatives, PLANNED as far back as January, 2009 to use the debt ceiling to create a political crisis. It seems to have worked. The Republicans held fast, Obama and the Democrats blinked. The rating agency Standard & Poors, S&P, downgraded their rating of the credit-worthiness of the United States of America, President Obama’s core supporters seem to be abandoning him. And the stock markets are plummeting – the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1000 points in 3 days.