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.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:
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.
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."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?
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."
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.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.
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.
Posted by daledamos at August 4, 2008 4:52 PM