August 4, 2008

Eric Cantor For Vice President?

McCain is showing interest in Rep. Eric Cantor and Politico reports that McCain is in the process of vetting him:

John McCain's presidential campaign is vetting Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) as a potential vice presidential candidate, a campaign adviser told Politico on Saturday.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is a top running mate prospect for Barack Obama, opening up the possibility of an all-Old Dominion, Kaine vs. Cantor vice-presidential debate.

Cantor, 45, has provided records to McCain's running mate search team the adviser said.

With a Southern lilt and a talent for raw politics, Cantor is one of the nation's most prominent Jewish Republicans; he has impressed the McCain team by becoming a prolific fundraiser for the campaign.
There is a conservative grassroots movement to encourage McCain to pick Cantor as his running mate with a website and a Facebook group created for that purpose. The Facebook group almost makes it sound as if Cantor is the anti-Obama:

In a year when the Democrats are about to elect a recently unknown Senator who captured the imagination of liberal Democrats, we (a group of unaffiliated Americans) are dedicated to providing a platform for conservatives to promote one of their own. We believe Eric Cantor will provide a dynamism that does not exist in the Republican campaign. We urge you to join this effort to make our voices heard.
Arutz Sheva notes Cantor's strong statement on Jerusalem (without ever noting Cantor is Jewish):

"Jerusalem is not merely the capital of Israel but the spiritual capital of Jews and Christians everywhere. It's the site of the First and Second Temples, which housed the Holy of Holies, and it's the direction in which we Jews face when we pray. This glorious City of David is bound to the Jewish people by an undeniable 3,000 year historical link."

Jerusalem, Cantor said, "is Israel's lifeblood. No one understands this better than Israel's enemies. That is precisely why they still engage in a systematic campaign to erase the historical link of the Jews to this great city. For if Israel were severed from Jerusalem, the Jewish state would lose its sense of legitimacy and its will to fight; only then could Israel be destroyed."

It seems the conservative grassroots and Jewish republicans are united in this regard--the only question is whether Cantor would help the ticket; how would he help McCain?

According to Politico, in the article above:

A young fiscal conservative who could help keep Virginia from tipping blue, Cantor could also be an asset in battlegrounds such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. He has shown appeal to the party's base as well as to independents, and would be an unconventional choice at a time when McCain is looking to add excitement to his campaign.
Powerline sees similar positives--and also the big negative:

Cantor has a lot of advantages. He is admired by conservatives, is from Virginia, and would connect McCain to the high-energy conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives. Cantor would be an effective spokesman on energy, taxes and other issues that are important to the party's base. Still, he has to be viewed as a long shot, if only because he is virtually unknown to the general public.
Ed Morrissey has a more detailed analysis at Hot Air:

Cantor could boost McCain on a number of fronts. Cantor has rock-solid conservative credentials and is a favorite of the Republican base. He would also provide a little history as the nation's second Jewish candidate on a major-party ticket, after Joe Lieberman in 2000, and the first Republican. McCain could hope to make major gains in the Jewish vote, especially given the uncertainty surrounding Barack Obama and his long association with Jeremiah Wright and Trinity United, with their pro-Palestinian rhetoric. Cantor is also young, just 45 years old, and an energetic campaigner.

Cantor also has some drawbacks. McCain would want him to help hold Virginia, but Cantor passed on a shot at John Warner's Senate seat this year. Some believed that Cantor could not win a statewide election, as Virginia had become too moderate overall for Cantor to compete against Mark Warner. Cantor has never held executive office either, which apparently matters less this cycle than it usually does for presidential elections. He's been in Congress longer than Obama by four years, but that's usually not considered enough seasoning for a running mate, again at least until this cycle.

One other drawback exists. Cantor would have to give up his re-election bid for his Congressional seat, and the GOP may not have a candidate ready to replace him. If McCain loses, the House GOP loses an important voice in national politics for at least two years and an important seat in the House, too.

Morrissey also has a post today about a conference call today on energy where Cantor spoke on behalf of McCain--and says the Cantor did well.

I did see somewhere a post on another blog that Cantor would not be able to help win Virginia for McCain, but I have another issue. I see why conservatives would like Cantor--and of course why Jews would. However, just how effective would Cantor be as an advocate for Israel? 8 years ago, people questioned how effective Lieberman would be since as a Jew he would be open to charges of dual loyalty. If that was true 8 years ago, imagine in today's climate how some (many?) would jump at the opportunity to make such an accusation with with the backing of Mearsheimer, Carter and others.

That is not a reason not to back Cantor as VP, or not to vote for a McCain-Cantor team come November, but the only reasons to consider are the political ones--whether Cantor would help the ticket.

by Daled Amos

Posted by daledamos at August 4, 2008 4:52 PM
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"He's been in Congress longer than Obama by four years, but that's usually not considered enough seasoning for a running mate, again at least until this cycle".
If nobama could be considered a legitimate candidate for PRESIDENT with so few years in the senate, certainly no one can question whether Cantor has been in congress long enough to be a vice-presidential candidate. I'd just love for obama supporters to dare to try to make that case.

Posted by: Laura at August 4, 2008 7:27 PM

Unfortunately this has no chance of happening.
I know someone "in the know" and they told me that this is merely a misdirection by the McCain camp to keep Obama from choosing Webb for his VP. It would be great to have someone on the ticket who is so strong for Israel. I may have even campaigned for them.

Posted by: dj at August 5, 2008 2:03 PM

It would have been an interesting contrast--having a young congressman as a VP would tend to emphasize the absurdity of Senator with minimal experience and accomplishment running for president.

Posted by: Daled Amos at August 5, 2008 2:51 PM

Webb has already loudly declared he's out, though it's plausible that Kaine is still in.

Posted by: Bruce at August 7, 2008 1:33 PM
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