The “nobody-I-know-voted-for-Nixon” head scratching continues over at the New York Times. Anything to avoid the obvious question with the more obvious answer–absent the perception of Cantor as a high-profile champion of a deeply unpopular Amnesty, would Professor Brat have had a snowball’s chance of unseating the powerful incumbent? There, mystery solved in one question. But as we’re not going there, we might as well trot out some favorite who, whom hobby-horses:
Voters Saw Cantor as Out of Touch, but Not Because of His Jewish Faith, Analysts Say
As the lone Jewish Republican in Congress, representing a deeply conservative, overwhelmingly Christian district in Virginia while dreaming of becoming the first Jewish speaker of the House, Representatives Eric Cantor always had a delicate task.
“He’s a public official in an overtly non-Jewish world,” said Rabbi Gary S. Creditor of Temple Beth El in Richmond, which Mr. Cantor attended as a boy. “He didn’t flaunt being a Jew, and he did not highlight it, but he did not deny it, either.”
Not that Brat should be entirely above suspicion:
Mr. Brat, a professor at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia, speaks often about a return to “Judeo-Christian values” and cites his “belief in God.” In an interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity after his surprise victory, he said he felt that “God acted through the people on my behalf.”
Funny how it’s the guy who talks about Judeo-Christian values is automatically suspected of being anti-Semitic, but I get it.
Mr. Cantor’s district was redrawn in 2010 to make it tilt even more to the right — a factor that some analysts say may have in the end helped Mr. Brat. Roughly one-quarter of 1 percent of the district’s population is Jewish, according to the Berman Jewish Databank, a project of the Jewish Federations of North America.
Which is vastly different from the, say, one or two percent Jews likely represented in his previous boundaries. The proportion of the Jewish vote hasn’t been putting him over the top since he first ran in 2000. And as Stolberg notes, he’s benefited from the pro-Israel sentiment of his conservative Christian constituents for a long time, while recently–if this article is to be believed–alienating Jewish supporters for not getting Amnesty passed:
In the House, Mr. Cantor has been a steadfast supporter of Israel, an issue important to Jews and Christian conservatives alike. But Jews in the Richmond area appear divided on him. Jewish Democrats are angry because he has stood in the way of a comprehensive immigration overhaul — an issue that, paradoxically, helped cost him his job, when Mr. Brat attacked him for supporting legal residency for young people brought here illegally.
And that’s as close as Stolberg gets to Cantor’s Amnesty problem; it “helped cost him his job.” Yeah, and I also understand a collision with an iceberg factored into the sinking of the Titanic.
Update: Stolberg’s article has already been re-(excuse the phrase)christened:
Opponent Resonated With Christian Conservatives in a Way Cantor Could Not