House Majority Leader Eric Cantor went down in defeat on Tuesday because he was played for a patsy by President Obama on the treacherous issue of immigration, political strategist Dick Morris told Newsmax TV
Morris, appearing on "Midpoint" with host Ed Berliner, said Cantor's own "arrogance" toward Virginia constituents
no doubt contributed to his staggering upset at the hands of a political newcomer: "There must be a lot of un-mended fences, a lot of ignoring, a lot of not being involved to cause a result like this."
But Morris said Cantor was ultimately done in by his willingness to work with the White House
on one of the most politically charged controversies of the day.
"He took Obama's good faith, and he went out on a limb to talk about considering immigration reform," said Morris. "He let a lot of stories be written about that and generated controversy that he was 'the good Republican' on immigration.
"Then, Obama, in the last 12 weeks, has sawed that limb off after Cantor had already put himself on record," said Morris.
In the process, Morris said, the president effectively killed the immigration reform package he once championed.
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But Morris contended the White House had decided that Democrats don't need comprehensive immigration reform right now — and don't want any version of it that might benefit Republicans politically.
Instead, to curry favor with Latino voters in 2014 and beyond, the administration has spent primary season easing up on both deportations and border enforcement.
Morris described those executive actions as a cynical ploy with political aims: "Make the Latinos like him by cutting back on deportations and let conservative Republicans hate him — and not do an immigration deal — so that he can continue to use that to get Latino votes without getting blamed for it."
"With that, Cantor could no longer sell the deal, but he had already committed himself to moving in that direction," said Morris.
Meanwhile, Cantor's opponent, Dave Brat, kept hammering the majority leader on immigration.
Cantor wound up "like someone who tried to straddle two chairs and ended up falling," said Morris, adding, "I think that's Obama's move, and I think Cantor got caught in the middle."
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