Could it be Cantor?

posted at 1:00 pm on August 28, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The Fayetteville Observer reads a few tea leaves in the veepstakes and suggests that Eric Cantor may become the dark-horse finalist for John McCain’s running-mate.  Cantor has not yet appeared on the convention schedule, which would seem strange for such a dynamic member of the House GOP’s leadership.  He also represents a Virginia district, which could prove crucial to holding the state for the Republicans in November:

Rep. Robin Hayes is predicting that Sen. John McCain will pick Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia as his running mate.

“It sure looks like a great possibility to me,” Hayes said Wednesday. “Eric is a tremendous friend, incredibly bright young man. He has wonderful credentials, and I think would be a very good, complementary candidate to John McCain.”

Hayes made his comments during and after a meeting with educators at Jack Britt High School. Rumors about Cantor have been spreading in recent weeks and began to grow stronger on Tuesday, Hayes said. Several media outlets are reporting that Cantor has come under serious consideration.

Cantor is a fourth-term Virginia congressman representing parts of Richmond and several counties to the northwest. He is chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. Cantor also holds a seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has direct jurisdiction over taxes, trade, Social Security, Medicare, prescription drugs for seniors, health care and welfare reform.

Cantor has impeccable conservative credentials, and his selection would go a long way towards energizing the Republican base for the election.  He has an engaging speaking style and has no problem with political infighting.  As a debater, he could be expected to match up well with Joe Biden, but more importantly, he could fire up crowds on the campaign trail for McCain.

However, a Cantor choice has weaknesses, too.  It would make this an all-Congress match, when executive experience could make an impact with voters.  His work in the private sector is limited to a decade of law practice and the family real-estate business.  More importantly, though, Cantor does not have any proven statewide constituency that suggests he could hold Virginia for McCain, although it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Still, it seems curious that the GOP would not have Cantor already scheduled for a slot in St. Paul.  If they’ve held him out for any other reason than a shot at the ticket, I’d be curious to know why they have one of their clean-up hitters sitting on the bench for the big game.

Update: It’s not Crist:

At a morning press conference to announce his selection to fill a vacancy on the Florida Supreme Court, Crist was asked if he planned to be in Ohio tomorrow.

“I plan to be in Florida,” Crist said.

I didn’t think it would be Crist, anyway, but this seems to confirm it.


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Compared to the democrats, speculation about the GOP VP pick has been infinitely more interesting (if about as contentious).

What this tells me: the GOP has a much deeper bench of interesting, or potentially interesting, candidates than the Party of Boxer, Waters, Pelosi and Reid. (“one of these four is just like the others…”)

sulla on August 28, 2008 at 2:08 PM

These “minor league” picks – Cantor, Palin, Jindal – that many GOP activists are recommending for the VP nomination are relatively untested in campaigns and in large-scale governance.

Big S on August 28, 2008 at 2:02 PM

I’m not arguing for putting a relative neophyte in as McCain’s VP, but Obama is still junior varsity, himself – and he’s a JV bench-sitter, really. The guy has crazy crowds that cheer when he drools. That doesn’t make him able to handle any spotlight.

BHO has crazed, supportive crowds. That’s about it. As a speaker, he’s nothing great. The crowds will, eventually, snap out of it – just as people had reacted to bell-bottoms and platforms.

progressoverpeace on August 28, 2008 at 2:09 PM

By the way if anyone expects to get the Jewish vote from this, guess again. I’m a rare Jewish Republican and unfortunately if the Dems brought out Farrakhan as their nominee he’d still get 60% of the Jewish vote.

gash on August 28, 2008 at 1:08 PM
There are a few of us here, but your point is well taken. Cantor doesn’t bring in the Jewish vote, but not even moshe rabbeinu could do that.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on August 28, 2008 at 1:32 PM

:) He could part the Red Sea but no way could he flip Spielberg and Streisand.

gash on August 28, 2008 at 2:10 PM

Could it be Cantor?

Nope. Not a chance.

SaintOlaf on August 28, 2008 at 2:10 PM

upinak: One can dream.

texette on August 28, 2008 at 2:11 PM

FYI… got to the new blog Allah has up. And swallow REALLY HARD! :(

upinak on August 28, 2008 at 2:12 PM

And on a Rovian note, I think a Cantor pick would give Jewish voters an opportunity to see how the Left REALLY feels about Jews. Get out the popcorn (or should I say evil Jewish sandwiches?) and let the fun begin!

Infidoll on August 28, 2008 at 1:34 PM

Great point, exposing the left’s antisemitism is long overdue.

gash on August 28, 2008 at 2:14 PM

I’m not arguing for putting a relative neophyte in as McCain’s VP, but Obama is still junior varsity, himself – and he’s a JV bench-sitter, really. The guy has crazy crowds that cheer when he drools. That doesn’t make him able to handle any spotlight.

BHO has crazed, supportive crowds. That’s about it. As a speaker, he’s nothing great. The crowds will, eventually, snap out of it – just as people had reacted to bell-bottoms and platforms.

progressoverpeace on August 28, 2008 at 2:09 PM

I disagree, but only because I think you’re thinking too much like a Republican. Democrats have made warm fuzzy talk the basis of much of their foreign and domestic policy over the past few years, and there are few talkers as qualified as Obama to fulfill their hopes and dreams. Also, even if he hasn’t really done anything of substance, he’s made enough people think he has.

Big S on August 28, 2008 at 2:15 PM

Palin is a boring woman…she brings no experience.

tomas on August 28, 2008 at 1:24 PM

Why is she so boring? Because she is a wife, mother to 5 children and governor of her state? What is your idea of someone not boring, Britney Spears?

thevastlane on August 28, 2008 at 2:16 PM

FYI… got to the new blog Allah has up. And swallow REALLY HARD! :(

upinak on August 28, 2008 at 2:12 PM

?

RushBaby on August 28, 2008 at 2:16 PM

Big S on August 28, 2008 at 2:02 PM

Zero wasn’t called up because of his grace under fire. He was called up because he’s got no paper trail to speak of and he’s as malleable as putty. He’s the ultimate leftist puppet. Unfortunately, his puppet masters are starting to find out that he does have some sort of background that can only hurt him and when he’s not in front of the teleprompter he’s a bumbling fool.

That’s why they’re managing him and trying to avoid debates, making sure he’s only doing the scripted stuff.

pistolero on August 28, 2008 at 2:18 PM

And on a Rovian note, I think a Cantor pick would give Jewish voters an opportunity to see how the Left REALLY feels about Jews. Get out the popcorn (or should I say evil Jewish sandwiches?) and let the fun begin!

Infidoll on August 28, 2008 at 1:34 PM

Great point, exposing the left’s antisemitism is long overdue.

gash on August 28, 2008 at 2:14 PM

Please, as a Jewish person and all the other HA Jews out there know for a fact that most Jews will deny, deny, deny the left-wing antisemitism.

I mean they all hang out at DailyKos, Democratic Underground, seriously wishful thinking at best.

Lance Murdock on August 28, 2008 at 2:19 PM

FYI… got to the new blog Allah has up. And swallow REALLY HARD! :(

upinak on August 28, 2008 at 2:12 PM

link kplzthx

sulla on August 28, 2008 at 2:20 PM

I think Romney would help with the Jewish vote as well, because his election would set the precedent that a Vice President can come from a religious minority, and it won’t be held against him in the privacy of the voting booth. You don’t have to be a traditional Christian.

RBMN on August 28, 2008 at 2:21 PM

upinak on August 28, 2008 at 2:24 PM

Oh you meant new post. I’m all, NEW BLOG?!?

RushBaby on August 28, 2008 at 2:26 PM

upinak on August 28, 2008 at 2:24 PM

Thanks, upinak.

sulla on August 28, 2008 at 2:32 PM

I disagree, but only because I think you’re thinking too much like a Republican. Democrats have made warm fuzzy talk the basis of much of their foreign and domestic policy over the past few years, and there are few talkers as qualified as Obama to fulfill their hopes and dreams.

You’re looking at the wrong hopes and dreams, here. Obama’s identity is the fulfillment, not his style. He’s just not a good speaker. Rock bands get the same responses when they mention the name of the city on stage. That’s all we see with BHO. His supporters acknowledge this with their reluctance to even discuss any issues.

Also, even if he hasn’t really done anything of substance, he’s made enough people think he has.

Big S on August 28, 2008 at 2:15 PM

You’re missing the point. He hasn’t convinced anyone that he’s done anything of substance. His supporters know that he’s never done anything. They just don’t care.

BHO is the latest, biggest winner in the national affirmative action lottery. That’s all. Like other lottery winners, chances are that he’ll be broke in 5 years … unless McCain manages to do what I fear he’s itching to do and blows the whole election.

progressoverpeace on August 28, 2008 at 2:32 PM

RushBaby on August 28, 2008 at 2:26 PM

Sorry I am TOTALLY Doped up. Did you know benedryl and Sudafed is NOT cool to take together!

I might be seeing the “One” on my wall and people may worship my hallusination.

upinak on August 28, 2008 at 2:36 PM

upinak on August 28, 2008 at 2:36 PM

Sorry to hear you’re sick. Medicine-head can be worse than the symptoms they’re supposed to treat. Feel better soon!

RushBaby on August 28, 2008 at 2:39 PM

http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/08/pawlenty_clues_sked_cleared.php

Pawlenty schedule has been cleared for today and tomorrow.

Not looking good.

Enoxo on August 28, 2008 at 2:39 PM

Cantor, whose 7th VA district directly borders six of the ten others, would be a defensive choice to keep Virginia red by appealing to the down-state voters to get to the polls. It might be a winning strategy for our 13 Electroral Votes, but it might not be enough to get into the White House.

I’m not expert on media markets, but from a look at Cantor’s district, I’d say he’d probably been spent the decade campaigning in media markets on or near the edges of his district — Richmond, Roanoke, Fredericksburg, Charlottesville. It is exactly these areas, plus the more lightly populated south and southwest, that lean Republican.

Obama has Northern Virginia (8th and 11th) tied up because of the “D” next to his name, and the Tidewater (2nd, 3rd, 4th) was always going to split because of the many military bases around Norfolk, plus young families, plus wealthy penisularians. A Cantor pick would be about winning the half of Virginia’s population (1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th) that will determine the race in the commonwealth.

raybury on August 28, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Intrade has a 22 point spike for Romney today-up to 66. As much as I would like it to be Romney I doubt it will be, but the smart money is saying Romney.

Goodale on August 28, 2008 at 2:49 PM

I might be seeing the “One” on my wall and people may worship my hallusination.

upinak on August 28, 2008 at 2:36 PM

If you start seeing hallucinations of Obama I suggest seeking medical aid immediately. It may be a sign of a more serious condition.

*eats*

Grue in the Attic on August 28, 2008 at 2:55 PM

Ed is turning me into John F’n Kerry. I was for Cantor before I was against him (i.e. before Ed convinced me to be for Romney).

Mark30339 on August 28, 2008 at 2:59 PM

Whomever the pick, be assured that the Dems will proclaim him or her the weakest possible choice…while behind the scenes they cry for their mommies.

Doug on August 28, 2008 at 3:05 PM

Everyone appears to overlook that VP candidates are usually announced in their home state whenever they are not announced at the convention. Ohio is a toss-up state like Virginia (but with more ACORN vote fraud). The only VP possible on McCain’s list from Ohio is John Kasich.

Hannity just said that he’ll have the leaked VP choice before he goes off the radio air at 6pm EDT.

chsw on August 28, 2008 at 3:18 PM

Hannity just said that he’ll have the leaked VP choice before he goes off the radio air at 6pm EDT.

chsw on August 28, 2008 at 3:18 PM

I think that’s bad strategy. Let Barry have his fun night at Invesco. He’s tanking all by himself….

funky chicken on August 28, 2008 at 3:38 PM

Three words: United States Representative He’s a conservative.

Four more words: Chief Deputy Minority Whip I am a liberal.
Big S on August 28, 2008 at 1:09 PM

Fixed.
fossten on August 28, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Heh! I missed this guy fossten lately..

saus on August 28, 2008 at 4:39 PM

Man, I’ll be glad when he makes the pick, even if it’s Barney Frank, just so the “who’s-the-best-VP?” threads stop and we can switch to “I-can’t-believe-he-picked-that-person-as-VP!” threads.

zmrzlina on August 28, 2008 at 5:53 PM

It could still be Kasich. I’m really disappointed in McCain right now.

eaglesdontflock on August 29, 2008 at 9:37 AM

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