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elbanditoroso's avatar

Has a politician ever fallen faster than Eric Cantor, who has turned into a body in the Republican morgue in less than 48 hours?

Asked by elbanditoroso (22224points) June 12th, 2014

I’m not trying to start a political discussion here – rather more of a historical one. Cantor went from a position of great importance to roadkill very, very quickly. And it was because of politics.

I can think of a couple politicians who turned into dirt pretty quickly -

Andrew Weiner and his text messages

the Congressman caught in the airport bathroom trolling for gat sex

Eliot Spitzer and his affair while governor

and even Bill Clinton

but none of those guys fell so far so fast.

Isn’t politics fun?

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21 Answers

Strauss's avatar

This is the fastest I’ve seen anyone fall in politics without being the result of any type of scandal, and I’ve been observing US politics for some 50 years.

josie's avatar

Pretty rapid descent indeed.

To be fair, Cantor is in a different category than reprobates like Weiner and Spitzer. He doesn’t leave in disgrace.
I met him once, and he is a good guy.

He just got too wound up furthering his political career, and forgot about the folks who got him there in the first place. They didn’t like that. Sic Semper.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@josie “He just got too wound up furthering his political career, and forgot about the folks who got him there in the first place. They didn’t like that.”

I don’t know if this made the national news, but it got heavy media coverage here in Virginia.

On the morning of the primary, Cantor wasn’t in Richmond campaigning and shaking hands with constituents. He was in Washington, meeting with lobbyists. We can only guess that he was so arrogant, and so certain of an assured victory, that he felt no need to be present at his own election. Instead, he used the time to promote his agenda and expand his influence.

Well, he lost by a whopping 17%, and he showed up in time to give his concession speech.

Strauss's avatar

@josie Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis to which I add Sic transit gloria mundi.

He was one of the faces of the dysfunctional congress.

zenvelo's avatar

It’s not so much the fastest as it is that it is from such great height. Majority Leader ousted by his own party? It means the Party has no real national leadership to speak of, and there is no national consensus on what the GOP represents. The Tea Party wing has had its moments of victory, but it has been hit or miss.

marinelife's avatar

It was quite a flameout, wasn’t it? Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy unless it was Boehner.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Cantor’s fall is earth shattering. It would be fun to laugh at a guy devoured by his own pet, except for the fact that a more dysfunctional Republican party serves NOBODY’s interests. It’s an “ill wind that blows nobody good”. The tparty has achieved what was believed all but impossible in unseating a solidly entrenched and very powerful incumbent. The resulting crisis in the Republican party may well render the country ungovernable. It appears that all of those doomsday adds pimping gold may prove correct, as a jaded populace looks on aghast at the spectacle of the lunatics taking over the Republican asylum.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

The inspiration for Filter’s industrial metal masterpiece “Hey Man Nice Shot.”

Warning: hydrostatic shock.

dappled_leaves's avatar

At least now he’ll have the time to do nothing at his own leisure, instead of having to cram in all that nothing during the hectic congressional schedule.

blueknight73's avatar

Within a month he will be working as a lobbyist

mazingerz88's avatar

@dappled_leaves You read my mind. : )

JLeslie's avatar

What I can’t get over is I keep hearing in the media that he was too moderate. Seriously? Cantor is too moderate? Holy shit. I never would have called him moderate. Maybe he is more middle groundish on one issue, but I could never consider him a moderate. Then we have to call Bush too moderate.

Losing badly in this election doesn’t mean he is done forever in politics. He was elected over and over again, who knows what will happen on the future. I do have to agree though that this loss was steep and seems so sudden and unexpected in my mind. I can’t think of another politican with this type of steep descent without some sort of huge scandal surrounding them.

mazingerz88's avatar

Just can’t think of anything he accomplished, any public service while in office. All posturing. Nothing shocking then about his downfall. I could be wrong of course.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m just thinking about this more. Is it really a big deal that another right winger won? Cantor was pretty far to the right on a lot of things from what I know of him. All I saw on TV about this loss was he was more moderate than the other guy on immigration. Immigration is a big problem in northern VA according to my mom. I don’t know exactly how north Cantor’s district goes or what it is like as far south as Richmond. My mom who is liberal on most things and a life long democrat sometimes votes for politicians tougher on immigration, including sometimes republicans.

In terms of the republican party I just see it as they changed one right winger for another. Maybe a few voters liked also that Brat is Christian? I am not saying they are antisemitic, but the Republican party is heavily Evangelical the more south you go. The Evangelicals like Jews too, the whole religious thing and support of Israel plays well, but who knows, maybe it did affect the vote this time.

Strauss's avatar

This is yet another step of the sunny small-government optimism of Ronald Reagan-type conservatives giving way to the party’s moralizing southern-fried wing, with its disdain for immigrants, gays and economic solutions not composed wholly of tax cuts.I don’t think it is the issues themselves that enabled Brat to defeat Cantor, as much as the fact that Cantor had expressed a willingness to compromise with the President on some (just a few) issues.

Of course, immigration did play a role in dooming Cantor’s re-election. But it wasn’t just because Republicans in his district don’t want a reform bill or “amnesty.” It was also because the issue helped confirm in the minds of activists that Cantor was what they most feared — a deal-maker.

Add to this the fact that when Brat announced his candidacy, it was to a small group of Tea Party activists, according to this article. It could have been Cantor’s willingness to rewrite the house version of the STOCK act.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Getting back to the original question about politicians with amazingly fast falls…

During November 1998, Bob Livingston was nominated as the Republican candidate for Speaker of the House, effectively making him Speaker-elect. Republicans held a narrow majority, which all but assured Livingston’s election.

After the Monica Lewinsky revelations, Livingston aggressively attacked President Clinton and demanded his resignation and, later, impeachment. Eureka – it became public knowledge that Livingston was having an extra-marital affair of his own. Livingston had no choice but to resign as Speaker-elect and vacate his seat.

This story isn’t identical to that of Cantor, who had a meteoric rise and was voted-out by his constituents. Livingston had had a long and successful tenure in Congress and had earned his way to the top. But, within just a few months, Livingston went from being the next Speaker of the House to losing his political office. It’s the end of Livingston’s career that seems comparable.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul – I had forgotten him. That was an enjoyable moment in Republican history as well.

JLeslie's avatar

If we include scandals there are more we can mention. Presidential candidate Gary Hart comes to mind. I assume there have been quite a few on local levels that we could list.

LostInParadise's avatar

How about Nixon and Watergate?

Strauss's avatar

@LostInParadise, Although Nixon’s fall from grace was certainly spectacular, I don’t think his rise to the presidency would be called meteoric by any definition of the word. He was elected VP under Eisenhower in 1952, after spending some time in both the US Senate and House after 1947. He lost to Kennedy in 1960, and waited until after Johnson’s presidency to run again in 1968.

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