Memo to congressional incumbents all across this great land: You’d better pay careful attention to the people you represent in Washington, D.C.
That might be the most significant takeaway from U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning, Earth-shaking defeat this week in his race for Congress from Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.
I still haven’t grasped fully what happened back in Virginia this week, when political novice David Brat smoked Cantor by 11 percentage points in a low-turnout Republican primary election.
Still, I keep reading from those close to the situation that Cantor had become too much a Man of Washington and less of a Man of the People Back Home. Perhaps they grew tired of him standing in front of those banks of microphones among House GOP leaders. Maybe they didn’t think it mattered to them that their guy was part of the GOP caucus elite in the House and that he was in line to become the next speaker of the House when John Boehner decided he’d had enough fun.
OK, now pay attention here, House Armed Services Committee Chairman-to-be Mac Thornberry.
You’re going to win re-election this November from the 13th Congressional District of Texas. You’re also likely to become chairman of a powerful House committee when the next Congress convenes in January.
This is just me talking, Mac, but you’d better start scheduling a lot of town hall meetings and photo ops back home in your district well in advance of the next congressional election, which occurs in 2016.
If Eric Cantor — one of the House’s more conservative members — can get outflanked on the right by a novice, then it can happen to anyone, it seems to me.
It well might be that in this political climate, no member of Congress — no matter how powerful and media savvy they are — is immune from the kind of political earthquake that swallowed Eric Cantor whole.
Yep, that means you, too, Rep. Thornberry.