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Eric Cantor For RNC Chairman?

eric-cantor-flag-loses-primary

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele suggests that just-defeated Congresman Eric Cantor could be on the short list to succeed Reince Priebus at the RNC:

Eric Cantor, next Republican National Committee chairman?

Former RNC chair Michael Steele thinks it’s a possibility after the House majority leader wasdefeated Tuesday in a Virginia Republican primary.

“With the upcoming presidential election, there’s a lot of interest in Eric Cantor serving as national chairman of the RNC,” Steele said Saturday on MSNBC’s “Up With Steve Kornacki.”

“In fact I think he’d be interesting because he started dialogues on poverty and some other issues that were sort of outside of what Republicans have traditionally talked about. So he could bring a very interesting voice into that space,” he said.

I haven’t seen any indications that Priebus would decline to stand for re-election when his term is up, but assuming he doesn’t I’m not sure that Cantor would be the right person for the job First of all, the idea of a candidate who lost his own party’s nomination becoming the head of the party is just, well, odd from an imaging point of view. Second, Cantor likely wouldn’t have the backing of the Tea Party wing of the party, which has injected itself into the Chairman’s race several times since 2010. It seems unlikely that they’d find Cantor, who many of them viewed as a squish on issues like immigration and the debt ceiling, as an acceptable choice to replace Priebus.

The bigger issue here, though, is that it has occurred to me for quite some time now that both major parties have turned the National Committee Chairmanship into something that it really shouldn’t be. Until very recently, the only real job of the party chairman was to raise money and oversee the quadrennial Presidential nomination process. It was quite rare to see the RNC or DNC Chairperson on television as a “talking head” for their party, and that was because that was never supposed to be their role. They are fundraising people, not policy people. In the past, their appointment was typically something that was left to party insiders, and in the case of whichever party happened to be in control of the White House, the party chairperson would typically be someone hand-picked by the President himself. These people are supposed to be their party’s CEO, not its Press Secretary. They don’t need to be showing up on cable news as much as Priebus and Debbie Wasserman Schultz do and, indeed, it’s more often the case that a party chairman ends up saying something that causes political headaches for his or her party (Steele himself was an master at this during his tenure at the RNC).

There was a time when party chairpersons were seldom seen and rarely heard from. Maybe we ought to return to those days and everyone should stop putting so much emphasis on who the Chairperson is at a given point in time.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    He’s certainly more intelligent than the semi moronic Reince Priebus who makes Michael Steele look good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Mr. Prosser says:

    I don’t think Cantor has the personality to run a “big tent” party. He has a reputation as a conniver and back stabber and the inability to go along to get along. According to Jacob Heilbrunn there is a rumor Cantor hasn’t yet called Brat to congratulate him on winning the primary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. Crusty Dem says:

    A great personality, a strong intellect, a history of strong leadership, a legislative record, a winning experience, Eric Cantor isn’t burdened with any of these. He’d make a perfect GOP chair!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  4. C. Clavin says:

    Wasserman-Schultz is a member of the House…so your comparison to Preibus falls flat.
    It would be typical if a floundering party to look to a failure in hopes of success. Look at Romney and Palin. Two past losers (one is also a quitter) still looked to for guidance for winning.
    And I think the smarmy Cantor is the perfect candidate for the white old Christian guy party…wait…he’s not a Christian? How’s that gonna work?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  5. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Plus his expertise in polling will be value added.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. Barfour says:

    Sure, pick a loser as your leader. I’m sure that will work just fine. Someone who do not understand the concept of leadership, someone who do not know what public service is about, someone who did not see his own loss coming until it hit him in the face. You know why Cantor lost? He and his fellow Republicans have been constantly demonizing the President, Democrats and everyone who disagrees with them and they know that they have constituents who are dumb enough to believe their BS. So, what are you going to do or tell them when you inevitably have to compromise? You open yourself up to a challenge and defeat from extremists. Public service and leadership requires that you tell the truth, advocate the interests of your constituents and point out legitimate differences you have with others, not what Republicans have been doing in the last decade or more. Republicans and America need leaders who really understands the concept of leadership and know what public service is about. Eric Cantor is not that leader.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. CSK says:

    Well, it would give the Tea Party conniptions, which is always an entertaining spectacle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    @Barfour: Both Steele and Priebus were losers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. James Pearce says:

    I think it’s unlikely that Cantor will ever be chairman, but it’s not surprising that the idea is floating around. There’s even a term for this kind of thing: Wingnut Welfare.

    As a party, the GOP is extremely undisciplined on everything but messaging.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. superdestroyer says:

    The last thing that the Repubicans need is one of Sheldon Adelson’s Butt-boys to be in charge of the RNC. When Brat has began to show the Repubilicans that there is a way to have a conservative and populist message, the last person who should be the face of the Repubican Party is a cheap labor, open border, crony capitalist.

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  11. Tillman says:

    Until very recently, the only real job of the party chairman was to raise money and oversee the quadrennial Presidential nomination process. It was quite rare to see the RNC or DNC Chairperson on television as a “talking head” for their party, and that was because that was never supposed to be their role. They are fundraising people, not policy people. In the past, their appointment was typically something that was left to party insiders, and in the case of whichever party happened to be in control of the White House, the party chairperson would typically be someone hand-picked by the President himself.

    Well in general the “insideryness” of our politics has become, uhh, more transparent as time has gone on. We eliminated backroom, closed-door dealing, we eliminated pork barrel spending, we got rid of earmarks…once you embrace all-out transparency as a political strategy to appease people, you reap varied results.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Eric Florack says:

    As I’ve said, Cantoe has long been part of the problem.
    This is not a good move for the GOP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: How fascinating that every time you mention Cantor you have to tie him to Adelson. Not the Kochs, not any of the other billionaires who are doing exactly what Adelson is doing.

    Hmmm, I wonder what both Cantor and Adelson have in common that you despise so much…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  14. anjin-san says:

    An ironic footnote to Cantor’s story is that he is reduced to whining about Laura Ingraham being mean to him. Maybe he can start palling around with Anthony Weiner. Bevis and Buttead do life after Congress.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    As I’ve said, Cantoe has long been part of the problem.

    Because it’s not enough to just be a raging asshole, you need to be crazy too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. James Pearce says:

    @anjin-san:

    An ironic footnote to Cantor’s story is that he is reduced to whining about Laura Ingraham being mean to him.

    Unsurprising. I remember during one contentious vote years ago, he stood before a microphone and, in the whiniest voice possible, proceeded to complain about how Nancy Pelosi derailed the vote by saying mean things about Republicans.

    I think Boehner was at his shoulder with a tear in his eye.

    And they wonder why they keep getting primaried…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. Gustopher says:

    What about Sarah Palin? Why not her for RNC chair? She would be awesome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    Sheldon Adelson gave for $5 million to Cantor’s PAC. Adelson is the ultimate in crony capitalism is that he wants the government to provide regulatory protection from competitors while also providng him with cheaper labor. The Koch borthers have not made open borders and unlimited immigration the issue that Adelson has.

    Did all of the Republicans who want to be president have to go kiss the ring of the Koch borthers much like recently happened when they all flew out to Las Vegas to pander to Adelson? Every report seems to imply that Adelson has the deepest pocket and is the most selfish when it comes to which policies he supports.

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  19. Grewgills says:

    It would signal a push back against the tea party by the establishment, so on that front it would be good. Other than that it seems like a stupid move, so all ahead full!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: Um, no. The Kochs could buy and sell Adelson a hundred times over. And while it’s true they don’t share your obsession with icky brown people polluting your precious bodily fluids, they give hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure that no new environmental regulations or taxes on their businesses are passed and to roll back the existing ones. They are far more dangerous than some loony casino magnate. But then, Adelson is Jewish and that’s probably half way to Meskin in your book…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  21. beth says:

    Well if it upsets Superdestroyer and Florak that much I’m all for it! He can’t be more of a jerk than Prebius, can he?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  22. beth says:

    @superdestroyer: They do have retreats where they kiss the Koch brothers’ rings. They’re just more classy and low-key about it, less Vegas and flashy. Adelson wants people to see the potential candidates kiss his butt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    Sheldon Adelson is the ninth richest man in the world according to Forbes http://www.forbes.com/profile/sheldon-adelson/ where as the Koch brothers are sixth on the list. http://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/morning_call/2013/03/koch-brothers-land-at-no-6-on-forbes.html However, I doubt that the Republican establishment is going to kiss the ring of someone who ran for vice president as a libertarian and who fund the Cato Institute.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. gVOR08 says:

    …I’m not sure that Cantor would be the right person for the job.

    Doug once again demonstrates his mastery of understatement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. al-Ameda says:

    I haven’t seen any indications that Priebus would decline to stand for re-election when his term is up, but assuming he doesn’t I’m not sure that Cantor would be the right person for the job First of all, the idea of a candidate who lost his own party’s nomination becoming the head of the party is just, well, odd from an imaging point of view. Second, Cantor likely wouldn’t have the backing of the Tea Party wing of the party, which has injected itself into the Chairman’s race several times since 2010. It seems unlikely that they’d find Cantor, who many of them viewed as a squish on issues like immigration and the debt ceiling, as an acceptable choice to replace Priebus.

    So far the Tea Party has had a free ride – free to throw bombs, free to be “purists”, free to incessantly whine about Republican Party leadership, free to complain that their agenda had not been pimped by GOP leadership – free from responsibility for anything.

    I think it’s time for the GOP “establishment” or “leadership” to turn something purportedly important over to these malevolent pissants – select (elect) one of them to be the Minority Whip, or even, yes, to be the RNC Chair. It’s put-up-or-shut-up-time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0