Editorial: Slick operator

No major engagements in the Civil War, the sesquicentennial anniversary of which is now being celebrated, took place here in Rappahannock County. But in what is today’s not-so-civil conflict in Big Washington, our very own congressional representative is leading the charge. Rappahannock residents don’t know whether to be proud, frustrated, embarrassed or outraged about how Rep. Eric Cantor (R-7th) is addressing the nation’s deadly serious financial and fiscal problems.

You can let the congressman (and majority leader) know exactly how you feel, but it’s a pretty safe bet that he, or his aides, won’t pay much attention. He has already made up his mind.

Why waste time listening to constituents when, according to recent reports, hedge funds, private equity firms and other investment businesses outside our congressional district have contributed nearly $2 million over the last year to Cantor’s political fundraising campaigns?

But that amount is peanuts compared to the estimated $20 billion (over 10 years) these campaign contributors would have to pay in increased taxes if the White House had its way.

Few, if any other, congressmen have received similar financial support, consistently over the years, from big investment firms. The fact that Cantor’s wife is a former Goldman Sachs vice president probably helps. He knows how to speak Wall Street’s language.

But Cantor is also conversant in the rhetoric of the so-called Tea Party, which although fiercely “pro-Main Street and anti-Wall Street,” doesn’t want to increase taxes of any kind. The fact that most grassroots, middle-income Tea Party people are currently taxed at a higher rate than multimillion-dollar hedge fund managers gets lost in the dissonance and dysfunction of Big Washington.

But that’s apparently the way successful politicians like Cantor — slick operators that they are — want it.

Walter Nicklin