Cantor Seeking Speaker's Seat, Angers Conservative Colleagues

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Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 10:31 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is getting a failing grade from the conservative caucus in Congress while positioning himself to pick up the speaker's gavel from John Boehner, Breitbart.com reported.

Cantor, a Virginia Republican, is first in line to replace Boehner should the Ohio congressman be forced out of office or decide to quit his leadership role in the House next year.

But Breitbart has reported that Cantor keeps shooting himself in the foot, as far as conservatives are concerned, while conducting an unofficial job interview for Boehner's coveted position.

"Cantor replacing Boehner doesn't move the ball at all," said former Illinois tea party Congressman Joe Walsh, now a conservative talk radio host. "If you are going to replace Boehner, it has to be with someone like [Texas] Congressman Jeb Hensarling, a conservative who can unite the entire caucus."

Walsh also told Breitbart, "The other problem with Cantor is, at least you know where Boehner stands on issues. With Cantor, you never know what to believe."

Earlier this month, Cantor angered several Republicans by surreptitiously slipping through a $21 billion Medicare bill by voice vote to counter a 24 percent cut in payments to doctors and rural hospitals.

With Boehner out of town at the time, the finger quickly pointed at his presumed second-in-command, with the Drudge Report compounding Cantor's problems by highlighting the alleged trickery.

The seven-term congressman was also slammed for headlining a summit in Florida this month hosted by Main Street Advocacy, a group headed by former Ohio Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette, whom The New York Times described as a "general" in the establishment GOP war against the tea party.

Brent Bozell, president of the advocacy group ForAmerica, told Breitbart that Cantor's appearance provided "aid and comfort to an organization devoted to destroying the tea party." He added, "It is betrayal. It's also monumentally stupid."

Cantor was taken to task earlier this year by conservatives for aligning himself with Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California on federal flood insurance hikes while rejecting the concerns of Financial Services Committee Chairman Hensarling, who also  h appens to be Cantor's main rival for the speakership.

Breitbart reported the majority leader has also infuriated conservatives with his stance on immigration.

He's drawing up his own version of the DREAM Act, which would grant amnesty to illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children, and he's touting a proposal by Republican Rep. Jeff Denham of California that would allow amnesty for illegal immigrants who enlist in the military.

Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham attacked Cantor's plan "to turn our military into an amnesty experimentation program," while claiming that he has similar views on immigration as President Barack Obama.

The No. 2 ranking House member also annoyed the far right in February when he voted with Democrats and 27 other Republicans to pass a clean debt ceiling increase.

Breitbart said conservatives are gearing up for a leadership battle later this year to remove the gavel from Boehner's grasp, with staunchly conservative Hensarling mentioned as a potential successor, along with Rep. Dan Webster, a former speaker of the Florida House, who's seen as an honest broker of the "majority of the majority."

The speaker himself, meanwhile, has fueled rumors he may quit by buying a luxury condo in Marco Island, Fla., and talking about not wanting the GOP presidential nomination in 2016 because he loves golf and a glass of wine too much.


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