Eric Cantor might have lost the battle — but he could still win the war.
Well, maybe not really. After all, the former House majority leader lost not only his title but his congressional seat to Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., who at the time of the June 2014 primary election was a little-known economics professor who rose to prominence by calling Cantor a lover of illegal amnesty.
Since his arrival on Capitol Hill last fall, Brat has defined his congressional career by being a thorn in leadership's side, voting against John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, for speaker, joining the House Freedom Caucus and attempting to thwart every legislative agenda that doesn't reflect a certain ideological purity.
But Brat doesn't hit a home run every time, such as on Friday, when he failed to secure adoption of an amendment to a bipartisan medical research bill that would have transformed all the allocated mandatory money into discretionary spending.
A day earlier, Cantor, who's working now for an investment firm, waded into the policy debate to urge colleagues to support the 21st Century Cures Act, which would have been a bill he'd champion if he still were a member of Congress.
"Stepping away from the daily fray of politics provides one an opportunity to reflect on what motivated them to get involved in government in the first place," Cantor wrote. "For me, that includes a belief in the intrinsic dignity and worth of every human being, a conviction that government properly constructed and constrained can improve the human condition, and a desire to see that everyone has a fair shot at earned success and achieving their dreams."
Brat may beg to differ with the characterization that Cantor "stepped away" from political life so much as he was "kicked out," but Cantor can take solace in this: He took a position diametrically opposed to Brat's, and his position prevailed.
Brat 1: Cantor 1. Game on.
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