Leave it to CBS This Morning to push the idea that angry, controversial white men are strictly the province of the conservative side of the spectrum, while downplaying the inflammatory and arguably anti-gay comments of Brian Schweitzer, a left-wing populist and former Democratic governor of Montana who is considering a 2016 presidential run.
The oft-mentioned mastermind of Dave Brat’s shocking upset of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, 23 year old Zach Werrell, sat down for an interview on the June 20 edition of the CBS morning program. Pointing out a Facebook post Werrell had made regarding the Trayvon Martin case and abortion, interviewer Chip Reid questioned Werrell, “Would it be fair to say – at least politically – sometimes you're an angry young man?” [MP3 audio here; video below]
The Washington Post has assigned reporter Jenna Portnoy to follow Republican nominee David Brat's campaign for the U.S. House seat for the 7th District of Virginia. In Portnoy's latest story, published in Friday's paper on page B4, the staff writer slammed Brat for having "largely ducked media exposure since his [primary] win," noting that after a brief press statement on Thursday which lasted eight minutes, he "retreated inside" his campaign headquarters, "ignoring questions shouted by reporters." A few days earlier, Portnoy insisted that an unprepared Brat had "stumbled" during a phone interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd
Of course, as Politico's Sarah Wheaton has noted, Brat's Democratic opponent, fellow Randolph-Macon College professor Jack Trammell, "offered few policy specifics during his first public appearance as a candidate on Saturday." Last Friday, Wheaton reported that "Trammell has declined multiple interview requests" and that "[l]ike Brat, who virtually no one thought had a shot at toppling Cantor, he’s gone into something of a lockdown." Yet a search for "Jack Trammel" on the Washington Post website reveals no such critical reporting about the Democrat's unwillingness to have free-wheeling interactions with reporters. What's more, Trammel received fawning coverage in, of all places, a June 16 Style blog entry by book reviewer Ron Charles. The topic was Trammel's yet-unfinished vampire novel (excerpt below, emphasis mine):
Now that the initial shock of Dr. Dave Brat’s primary victory over outgoing House Minority Leader Eric Cantor has passed us by a bit, it is time to look at it for what it really is.
First off, it is only a primary victory. There is still the general election. And you can be sure the Left and their allies are now as busy as ever, plotting and sneaking and doing all sorts of devilry to send the good doctor back to the woodpile where he belongs.
In a 2008 column for The Hill, Daily Kos boss Markos Moulitsas warned Democrats not to listen to Republican "concern trolls," a term for those on one side of the political fence who seek to undermine the other side by offering it seemingly good (but actually bad) counsel. "Democrats," wrote Moulitsas, "understand that they're not in the business of giving their opponents advice."
Nonetheless, a Daily Kos writer stepped up to the concern-troll plate this past Sunday when Ian Reifowitz called on non-Tea Party GOPers in Virginia’s 7th congressional district to vote for Democratic nominee Jack Trammell in order to “punish Republicans who are too extreme,” including nominee Dave Brat. “If there isn't a civil war within the Republican Party yet, there sure ought to be,” opined Reifowitz, “and the 7th District is where sane Republicans need to make a stand.”
Ken Cuccinelli, former Attorney General and Republican Gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, poked fun at supposed “juggernaut” Hillary Clinton and offered praise to GOP congressional candidate Dave Brat.
Appearing as a guest on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, June 15, Cuccinelli commended Brat and how he “Connected when he talked about issues. He’s an economics professor...he's a conservative professor so he's covered by the Endangered Species Act.” [See video below.]
In a brief Thursday post on the Atlantic’s website, "reform conservative" pundit David Frum cited Eric Cantor’s primary loss to Dave Brat as further evidence that “Republican leaders” need to emerge to confront the “the destructive leadership of fanatics (and the cynics who make their living by duping fanatics)."
He cited Tony Blair as a model, someone " who revived his party by standing up to its most extreme elements," and asserted that if such leaders fail to appear, the GOP “might just as well already rename our dysfunctional party the Committee to Elect Hillary Clinton.” Frum’s entire post (emphasis added):
Rep. Eric Cantor has only himself to blame for losing the respect, trust, and votes of Tea Party conservatives, and with it, his House seat in Virginia's 7th congressional district, For America chairman Brent Bozell explained on Wednesday's Kelly File[watch the full segment here or by clicking play on the embed below the page break]:
Both of Comedy Central’s favorite comedians took the time on their shows on June 11 to make fun of upstart conservative congressional nominee David Brat for his Christian faith while subtly hinting at a strain of anti-Semitism in either the Virginia Republican himself or the GOP voters of the 7th District which chose him over Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
In fact, both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert mocked the exact same clip of Dave Brat claiming that his unexpected victory was “a miracle from God” and then made jokes about him beating Eric Cantor, the “only Jewish Republican in Congress.” For good measure, Colbert found a clever way to tag another Republican with a phallic epithet without actually using the term. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Early reporting on Tuesday’s Republican primary upset in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District indicated that Dave Brat’s stand on immigration reform was the main reason Brat defeated Eric Cantor, but Esquire political blogger Charles Pierce isn’t buying it. In a Wednesday post, Pierce argued that the immigration issue was less important than Brat’s opposition to the idea that “the national government should work at all.”
Pierce also claimed that Brat’s victory shows yet again that President Obama will never find common ground with today’s hard-right GOP, and quipped that Brat’s efforts to synthesize Christianity and Randian economics are “more appropriate to the Cirque du Soleil than to a political philosophy.”
Chuck Todd's political correctness button appeared to be in the on position as the NBC political director and chief White House correspondent made four appearances on MSNBC Tuesday night highlighting immigration as the main issue behind House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's Republican primary loss. Not only did Todd conspicuously evade using the word "illegal" while talking about illegal immigration, he even made a crack at one point mocking GOP nominee and Tea Partier Dave Brat for using the words "amnesty" or "illegals" so many times in an interview aired on Todd's Daily Rundown MSNBC show as if there were something wrong with doing so.
Todd, who only once used the word "illegally" amongst all four of his appearances, even though he referred generically to "immigration" 21 times, was dismissive toward Brat's word choice: "I think he used the word 'amnesty' and 'illegals' every fourth word when I was interviewing him this morning." By contrast, Todd was more accepting of loaded terminology preferred by liberals like "Dream Act."
But a review of the full interview [listen to the mp3 audio here] shows that Brat had already and seemingly quite gladly answered a few policy questions on such hot issues as the minimum wage, immigration reform, and his stance on Wall Street's influence on the business wing of the GOP.
So this happened. It should be fun to see the media's furious spin now that a Tea Party longshot has defeated establishment Republican and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in tonight's primary election.
Leave your comments below in this special breaking news open thread. Conversation starter: CNN noted the breaking news during tonight's Anderson Cooper 360 but dropped the ball on the breaking news in the subsequent hour (9 p.m. Eastern), opting to air a pre-recorded special on the 20th anniversary of the murders of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.