Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Cantor Ascends to Majority Leader

Highest-ever-ranking Jewish legislator has rough first day

Print Email
Rep. Eric Cantor yesterday on Capitol Hill.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Today, the 112th Congress opens and Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor assumes apparently the highest position ever held by a Jewish legislator. Under the new Republican majority, the 47-year-old Cantor, formerly the minority whip, becomes House Majority Leader and second-in-command to the new Speaker, John Boehner, who will take the gavel from Nancy Pelosi. (In case you were wondering, no, this does not put Cantor in line for presidential succession.) Cantor is the only Jewish Republican in this Congress, though Tea Partier Nan Hayworth (R-Kiryas Joel) says she considers herself an honorary Jew on account of being married to one.

Last night, the Republican Jewish Coalition threw a party for Cantor at D.C. power hangout The Capital Grille, complete with an ice sculpture and photo ops with GOP presidential hopefuls John Thune, the South Dakota senator, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Also there: The man who, despite Cantor’s formal role, arguably remains the most powerful Jew on the Hill, Sen. Joe Lieberman.

Cantor told the crowd that his rapid rise was proof that, in America, “It doesn’t matter where you come from.” (In his case, Richmond, Virginia, where his widowed Russian grandmother once ran a grocery.)

He apparently got a warm response, which we hope he savored, because this morning’s press wasn’t good. First, the National Journal spotlighted Cantor’s “departure” from Republican insistence that it will not touch national security funding as it endeavors to cut the budget. Then the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein wrote a scathing item ripping apart Cantor’s claim that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office misrepresented the costs of the Democrats’ signature health-care bill—which Cantor and the rest of the Republican leadership plans to try to repeal. Cantor’s spokesman, Brad Dayspring, quickly stepped in and clarified that his boss certainly did not mean to cross the line between criticizing the Democratic health-care bill and criticizing the hardworking CBO. “He said nothing of the sort,” according to Dayspring. He never seems to.

Cantor’s Historic Moment [Capitol J]
Cantor Won’t Rule Out Cuts to National Security Budgets [National Journal]
Repealing Health-Care Reform Would Cost Hundreds of Billions of Dollars—and Eric Cantor Knows It [Ezra Klein]
Related: Introducing Nan Hayworth—Almost the Second Jewish Republican in Congress [Mitz Vote]

Print Email

COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters@tabletmag.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Cantor Ascends to Majority Leader

Highest-ever-ranking Jewish legislator has rough first day

More on Tablet:

Klinghoffer at the Met

By Paul Berman — John Adams’s masterpiece is about an American Jew murdered by Palestinian terrorists, but the real opera is off stage