Monday, September 1, 2014

Eric Cantor to be replaced by Kevin McCarthy, who's just like Eric Cantor

Kevin McCarthy, the new House Majority Leader. Win McNamee

"Truly, what divides Republicans pales in comparison to what divides us as conservatives from the Left and their Democratic Party," Eric Cantor said in his speech announcing his intention to step down as House Majority Leader.

Cantor was right about that. And that's why House Republicans today voted to replace Eric Cantor with someone who is, for all intents and purposes, like Eric Cantor:

McCarthy, for the record, was Cantor's pick for the job:

It's hard to come up with ways in which Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who previously served as House Republican Whip, differs from Cantor. They both want to cut taxes. They both voted for the Ryan budget. They both want to repeal Obamacare. And, for all the talk of Cantor's defeat being about immigration reform, McCarthy has basically the same position on immigration reform: he's abstractly for immigration reform, but he's not going to bring any solution to the problem up for a vote.

Which is probably as it should be. When the conservative columnist Ramesh Ponnuru dove deep into polls of tea party supporters, he was comforted by what he found. "Tea party advocates already believed the same things that regular Republicans did. They basically were regular Republicans, just, if you will, more so. The differences between the tea party and 'establishment Republicans' have largely concerned style and attitude rather than program and ideology."

There was a lot of talk about what Republicans should learn from Cantor's primary defeat. But Cantor is one of very, very, very, very few incumbent Republicans who lost his primary fight. The Republican Party would be making a big mistake if it decided to sharply change course based on 36,000 hard-to-read votes in a primary election in Virginia's 7th District. McCarthy's elevation shows they're not making that mistake.

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