Cantor exemplifies what Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)just denounced as a "Chamber of Commerce"-style GOP legislator, "the same-old, same-old," standard-issue Republican who has brought the party to a historically low level of self-identification among voters.
Cantor was what passes for a small-government conservative. Which is to say that Cantor was in favor of shrinking the size and scope and government…except for the endless list of exceptions that allowed him to help grow federal spending by more than 50 percent in real terms, and regulatory spending by even more, during the Bush years.
That's from a new Daily Beast column by me. I don't think it's at all clear whether Eric Cantor's primary loss will mean anything in the long run, but I'm always happy to see politicians of his stripe get the heave-ho.
I think it's folly to talk about Cantor's loss as meaning more than the obvious: He perfectly represented the modal Republican in that he talked about limiting government while actively growing its reach in virtually every way. That is a supremely unattractive character to be in contemporary American politics, and it helps explain why Gallup finds just 25 percent of Americans identify as Republicans (the news isn't rosy for Democrats, either, according to Gallup: Just 31 percent of Americans identify with that centuries-old brand).