Bad sign: Cantor's vanquisher surprised MSNBC host isn't just celebrating his victory

After losing his primary to economics professor Dave Brat, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) revealed that he does not intend to run again as a write-in candidate. In December, the House Majority Leader will retire from Congress. Brat, running in a district with a Cook Partisan Voting Index rating of R+10, is highly likely to represent Virginia’s 7th in the 114th Congress.

And while tea party groups and talk radio hosts are celebrating the downfall of a Republican member of Congress who came to symbolize the “establishment,” there are indications that this enthusiasm is misplaced.

In the wake of his victory, Brat joined MSNBC host Chuck Todd on Wednesday where he received a gentle grilling and was asked for his position on a variety of policy matters. Brat seemed entirely unprepared to have to speak on issues of substance. In fact, he suggested – perhaps (hopefully) jokingly – that he thought Todd invited him on the program merely to celebrate his victory.

“Where are you on the minimum wage?” Todd began, starting off with a question right in this economics expert’s wheelhouse.

Brat railed against unspecific distorting effects on the market before he was prompted to say whether or not he thought a minimum wage should even exist? “I don’t have a well-crafted response on that one,” Brat replied.

…Okay. So, how about foreign policy?

“Would you be in favor of arming the Syrian rebels?” Todd asked.

“Hey, Chuck, I thought we were just going to chat today about the celebratory aspect,” Brat replied. “I’d love to go through all this, but my mind is just, uh, I didn’t get much sleep.”

“I love the policy questions, I’m happy to do more, but I just wanted to talk about the victory here,” he continued.

Sure, sleep deprivation will dull anyone’s wit. But any competent Republican campaigner should be able to endure the rendition tactics depicted in Zero Dark Thirty and emerge aware of the fact that MSNBC is not the place insurgent tea partiers go for softballs.

Maybe Brat was, as he said, merely exhausted from a long night following his primary victory. However, as The Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow noted, “he’s going to have to get it together real quick now that he’s been thrust into the national spotlight.”

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Jazz Shaw 1:01 PM on December 09, 2022