Letter: Cantor’s candor

Our man in Washington (Big Washington, that is) will be missed. Yes, Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican majority leader, will no longer be Rappahannock’s voice in Congress, for the county has been gerrymandered out of his 7th district into the 5th. Our new representative, to be decided by the election in November, will be either Robert Hurt, the current Republican representative from the 5th, or the Democratic challenger and retired General John Douglass.

Or at the very least, what must be said is that Rep. Cantor’s candor will be missed.

For even if you disagree with Rep. Cantor’s policy positions and leadership procedures, you have to acknowledge and admire his ramrod-straight clarity. He would never say, as Republican Presidential Mitt Romney’s lead pollster said last week:

“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”

Nor would Rep. Cantor, proud of his obstructionist record, ever pretend, as Romney did in his convention speech, that Republicans rallied behind President Obama when he had won in 2008 in the hope that he would succeed. “That president was not the choice of our party,” Romney said. “We are a good and generous people who are united by so much more than divides us.”

As for many of the bold assertions of his fellow House member and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan – from the exaggerated time of how fast Ryan ran the marathon to the false claims of Ryan support for the Bowles-Simpson federal debt reduction proposals – Rep. Cantor could never be accused of similar mendacity. Nor could he defend it.

Indeed, when explicitly asked by Fortune magazine to explain the contradiction of Vice Presidential nominee Ryan’s attacks on President Obama’s Medicare “cuts” that Rep. Ryan’s very own budget committee plan had once embraced, Rep. Cantor could reply only thus:

“The assumption was that, um, the, the, ah, again – I probably can’t speak to that in an exact way so I better just not.”

Yes, Rep. Cantor’s candor will be missed.

Walter Nicklin