Over the weekend, while I was enjoying time with my wife and paying some attention to the NFL draft (note to my Jets: playing small ball is an NBA thing, fellas…), the insurgents scored a win in the Great Virginia Republican Bloodletting (GVRB). In particular, Fred Gruber ousted Linwood Cobb as Chairman of the 7th District GOP committee. Bull Elephant is exuberant; Justin Higgins is…not. Jim Hoeft also weighs in.
As for my view (and keep in mind, as I write this sleepiness is slowly winning a war of attrition against insomnia), I think there is a lot less to this than meets the eye.
What I think it means for the 7th district: Honestly, not much. Kudos to Gruber’s folks for winning the day, but I doubt Cantor’s machine will slow down much. Some labels may be changed, but that’s about it. What matters is the June 10th primary. If Cantor loses that (and I’d still consider that a surprise), then the change would be dramatic. Otherwise, I think it’s minimal.
What I think it means for the state: This is a different story. In 2008 (the last time we had a convention decide a Senate nominee), Jim Gilmore baldy needed the 7th district to hold off Bob Marshall. If Ed can’t count on the 7th, he’s in real trouble (although Ed has strength in northern Virginia that Gilmore never had). Given that Shak Hill is one of the few people who seems more interested in issues than personalities in GVRB, the result in the 7th chairman race may have actually underestimated his strength. Meanwhile, I think any incentive for the House of Delegates to make a deal on Medicaid expansion just vanished (if it ever existed).
What I think it means for the nation: Again, nothing much. I know Daily Kos already has a post on this, but hardly anyone cares who an internal party chairman is. As I said above, if Cantor loses the primary, it can be said that the beginning of the end for him was here. If he wins however, this will largely be forgotten.
One thing I should note, based on emails and comments I have seen, it looks like Saturday was all about personalities. That saddens me. There are good reasons to be upset with Eric Cantor (chief among them, the bank bailout), but it appears much of the GVRB is about settling scores and assuaging grudges.
Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal