I had no idea why at the time, but that was the unbidden thought I had upon seeing Michael Grimm (R-NY) directly behind Eric Cantor (R-VA) at a press conference on May 29th. He was, according to some, “not invited”. But, there he was, within cheek-kissing distance behind Cantor. Puzzling, since these GOP photo ops are carefully scripted, and they wouldn’t want Grimm to be there, since he’d just been indicted on 20 counts of federal fraud and tax charges:
House Republican leaders have carefully distanced themselves from Grimm since his indictment on charges of underreporting income and employing undocumented immigrants at a restaurant he co-owned in Manhattan.
They cut off party support and financial aid for his reelection bid, and forced him to give up a seat on the House Financial Services Committee. Grimm has said he’s innocent.
In a press release after the event, Grimm’s office included a photo of him standing just behind and right between House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington.
In January, a reporter for NY1 attempted to ask Grimm about some of those allegations, and was quickly and memorably cut off.
Fast forward to today. Eric Cantor unexpectedly, per the conventional wisdom, lost his bid for re-election in Virginia’s 7th district, and thus lost his position as House Majority Leader. Now let’s look at Cantor’s challengers in Virginia’s 7th district:
1) Dave Brat, the Tea Party candidate and hot pepper eye candy Randolph-Macon College economics professor who defeated Cantor in tonight’s Republican primary and who claims to be running not against Cantor but for free-market principles. Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck all came out in support of him leading up to the primary.
Mr. Brat had little help from national groups that have funded other Tea Party challengers. Instead, he relied mostly on state and local activists.
And those state and local activists were funded by whom, exactly? Not readily apparent. I’m still digging….
2) Democrat Jack Trammel, another professor at Randolph-Macon College; NBC is reporting that Brat will face off against Trammel in November, yet nothing about Trammel appears on the VA 7th district website. Trammel’s recent book is The Richmond Slave Trade: The Economic Backbone of The Old Dominion, which on its surface appears to be a variant of Robert Fogel’s controversial Time On The Cross: The Economics of Negro Slavery.
3) Mike Dickinson, described as a progressive Democrat, but who didn’t file in time to be on the ballot as a Democrat. This guy is, to quote Fox’s Greta van Susteren, “a piece of work”. Please, please, please take a moment and watch the video. –Good. Now that you’ve done that, I can feel free to characterize him as a political Tony Soprano. Bada Bing!
My instincts are that…um…somebody, somewhere, wanted Cantor out because “House Republican leaders [*cough* Cantor *cough*] have carefully distanced themselves from Grimm”, and “[t]hey cut off party support and financial aid for his reelection bid”. And so a covert machine mobilized to create several possible ways to take him out.
Just my conspiracy theory du jour.