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August 04, 2014 10:54 AM Cantor in the Land of the Lilliputians

By Ed Kilgore

Last week when Eric Cantor announced he would not after all serve out his current House term, his official explanation was that he wanted to give his successor (which he presumed to be his primary vanquisher, Dave Brat) a leg up with an early access to office.

Based on nothing other than instinct, I suggested another possibility:

Looks to me like Cantor just can’t stand the humiliation of hanging around Washington in his reduced state, and/or has a new gig with a nice fat salary he wants to take on asap.

And so I was interested in this “Why Cantor Really Resigned” piece from Politico over the weekend:

In his decision to quit Congress altogether, Eric Cantor gave only one reason: so his successor could get a head start and “have a voice in what will be a very consequential lame-duck session.”
But several GOP lawmakers and aides suggested to POLITICO that there was more to this move. The last thing he wanted, they said, was to endure the humbling shift from 11 years in the leadership to being a back bencher, even if only for four months. And, they said he was already focused on the next chapter of his life in the private sector.
Although members can explore new job opportunities while still in office, his departure from Congress means that Cantor won’t have to disclose any companies or firms with whom he may be negotiating for a job.

His self-centeredness was indicated by his failure to tell a large group of staff gathered to commemorate his tenure as Majority Leader that he was about to book altogether, that very day:

Dozens of his current and former aides — Team Cantor, as they call themselves — gathered around the massive dark wood table in his conference room, listening to Steve Stombres, Cantor’s longtime chief of staff, thank them for their service to the Virginia Republican. Then they watched a slide show of photos that Stombres put together of Cantor and his aides over the years.
Cantor, who had just bid farewell to his colleagues on the House floor, was joined by his daughter, Jenna. He told the group he considered each of them family. While he was speaking, Cantor, who usually prides himself on his reserved bearing, became emotional.
The aides then presented Cantor with a bowl inscribed with the names of every one of his staffers, political aides and even security detail.
When he left the room, his former staffers broke out beer and wine. Cantor, though, didn’t give any hints that just hours later, he would announce his resignation.
By Thursday night, Cantor was gone. He didn’t even cast a vote on the House floor.

Well, can you blame this legislative giant for not wanting to spend a minute more than he had to in the land of the Lilliputians? Being a mere Member of the U.S. House of Representatives! No!

Ah, but soon he’ll be walking tall on K Street.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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