Desperate to tie David Brat’s shocking defeat tonight of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia’s Republican Congressional Primary to something other than voter resistance to illegal-immigrant amnesty, some on the left are already implying that Cantor’s Jewish faith had something to do with the result. The fact that the seven-term Congressman has, as far as I can tell, never gotten grief of any kind from either party about his religious affiliation seems not to matter.
After the jump, readers will find a couple of religion-tainted tweets from bona fide members of the liberal media elite, followed by interesting items I found indicating that the left-leaning Jewish community’s aggressive push for “immigration reform” in a district whose voters clearly oppose it may have helped do him in.
Here are the two tweets (HT Twitchy):
Dave Wasserman (U.S. House editor of the Cook Political Report) — “There will be lots of 2nd guessing tmw on Cantor loss #VA07. Surely will focus on debt ceiling/leadership role, but his religion a role too?“
David S. Bernstein (“Contributing editor for Boston magazine, contributing analyst for WGBH, formerly of the Boston Phoenix, covering local, state, & national politics and policy”) — “So the only Jewish Republican in Congress (either house) is about to lose his primary?”
Best responses, one substantive and another snarky:
“Live in district. Never heard religion mentioned as issue. Cantor has just seemed increasingly remote, just another career pol.”
“I’ll take Issues 0% of Voters Noticed for $500, Alex.”
But okay, guys, if you’re going to bring religion into this, it’s fair game to contend that liberal Jewish pressure on Cantor to buckle on illegal-immigrant amnesty which began in February may have helped to make him vulnerable:
Jewish Immigration Advocates Push Eric Cantor To Support Broad Reforms
The organized Jewish community is known for its impressive bipartisan clout when advocating issues relating to Israel. But when it comes to domestic affairs, the community suffers from a lopsided lack of leverage on the Republican side.
Some Jewish activists believe that they may have found a pathway to the GOP side of the aisle. Their tactic: play the Jewish card on the sole Jewish Republican in Congress, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. In a communal event held in Cantor’s hometown of Richmond, Va., on February 16, a group of pro-immigration Jewish activists, including past donors to Cantor’s campaigns, tried to send the No. 2 Republican in the House a message that immigration reform, shelved by his own party, is a Jewish issue he ought to be taking on.
“It was a strategic choice,” said Abby Levine, director of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, which organized the event. “We strategically chose Richmond because of the importance of Eric Cantor.”
Cantor could be a key person for immigration reform. House Speaker John Boehner made clear that the issue is off the table for this legislative year, and Cantor, who has avoided expressing his views on the details of the Senate bipartisan immigration bill, is viewed by some, including those of the Jewish community that largely supports reform, as the only senior Republican open to change on the issue. But past experience has shown that Cantor, despite his close ties with Jewish leadership, has not been receptive to the community’s domestic agenda.
Gathered at the Richmond Jewish Community Center on a snowy Sunday afternoon, some 70 members of the city’s Jewish community listened to immigration stories that recalled to the audience the role immigration played in American Jewish history. The presentation stressed immigration reform as an issue in line with core Jewish values.
… Cantor was invited to attend the event but did not respond.
But, as The Forward’s Nathan Guttman reported on April 2, Cantor eventually did agree to meet with the group:
Eric Cantor Agrees To Meet Jewish Delegation on Immigration
Under mounting pressure on immigration, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will meet with Jewish advocates for reform on Thursday.
Cantor, who is viewed by immigration activists as holding the key for a possible vote on immigration reform, has thus far turned down requests from advocates to meet and has not engaged with Jewish groups on the issue. In February, Jewish communal activists gathering at his hometown of Richmond, Va., sent a letter to Cantor urging him to meet with his Jewish constituents and discuss immigration.
Cantor’s Jewish grandparents fled anti-Semitism in Russia and immigrated to the United States in the early 20th century.
Following the event and after receiving the letter, Cantor’s office responded and told organizers the Majority Leader is willing to meet to discuss immigration reform.
The meeting with the Jewish “leaders” occurred on April 3:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a descendant of Jewish immigrants to America, told Jewish activists on Thursday he supports fixing the immigration system but will oppose attempts to pass comprehensive reform in the House of Representatives.
The long awaited meeting between the highest ranking Jewish member of Congress and communal immigration activists did not yield much in terms of moving the legislation forward, but marked a first direct dialogue with the lawmakers who is considered to hold the key for passing reform legislation.
At the meeting, held in Cantor’s Capitol Hill office, the GOP leader acknowledged his personal family connection to the issue, telling the group of three rabbis and two communal activists that were it not for immigrants seeing America as a desired destination “I wouldn’t be here.” But he explained the need to balance between fixing a broken immigration system and honoring the legal system. “As Jews, we understand that,” he said, noting that Judaism has a legal system as well. Rabbi Gary Creditor from Cantor’s hometown of Richmond who attended the meeting replied: “Our rabbis understood long ago how to wiggle waggle” the legal system.
Cantor made clear he would not support comprehensive immigration reform and would not use his position as Majority Leader to bring the bill, which has already passed in the Senate, to the House floor for a vote. However, he made clear he’d be open to advancing some parts of the immigration reform, focusing on legislation that would grant citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants brought to America at a young age.
Perhaps Cantor’s agreement to meet with a group which brazenly announced its intent “to play the Jewish card” to push “immigration reform” (read: illegal-immigrant amnesty), and who apparently don’t mind “wiggle-waggling the legal system” to get it done, sufficiently cemented a perception in GOP voters’ minds that he would inevitably sell out loyal constituents who had previously sent him to the House seven times.
If so, whose fault is that? Answer: Liberal Jews “playing the Jewish card” who thought that Eric Cantor was untouchable — and were emphatically proven wrong.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.