Knives already out for CA’s emerging House star

Knives already out for CA’s emerging House star

Republicans BudgetThe flurry of reports that Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, is a lock to replace Eric Cantor of Virginia as House majority leader has led the mainstream media to do the usual profiles and think pieces about D.C.’s newest political star. Some of it is even enjoyable speculation that his rise is bad news for deranged true believers in the bullet train.

But on the East Coast, outside of MSM circles, the folks who follow conservative politics expect the same forces that brought down Cantor to target McCarthy.

These powerful groups and individuals disliked Cantor for far more than his advocacy of cheap labor via “comprehensive immigration reform.” They saw him as a K Street crony capitalist far more concerned about Wall Street than Main Street.

McCarthy seen as a Cantor clone

Guess what? That’s their take on McCarthy, too, according to Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner, who understands the conservative movement way better than Politico or the Los Angeles Times. Here’s some of Klein’s analysis:

“Whether it was on immigration or fighting to shrink the size and scope of government, Cantor was increasingly at odds with conservatives and far too cozy with business interests.

“His defeat presents House Republicans with an opportunity to signal — ahead of the 2014 midterm elections — that they’re listening to conservatives. But by elevating McCarthy, who is next in line as whip, they’d be sending the opposite message — that they’re determined to crush conservatives.

“Several groups placed McCarthy’s voting record well to the left of Cantor’s for 2013. The American Conservative Union rated McCarthy at 72 percent compared with 84 percent for Cantor; Heritage Action ratings place Cantor at 53 percent and McCarthy at 42 percent; and Club for Growth had Cantor at 68 percent and McCarthy at 53 percent. Moving away from conservative groups, the National Journal rated Cantor the 80th most conservative member of the House while McCarthy was 170th.

“McCarthy voted for a Hurricane Sandy relief bill that included spending that was unrelated to providing emergency aid, fought for the farm and food stamp bill, fought reforms to the federal sugar program, and backed an extension of the corporate welfare agency known as the Export-Import Bank.”

Depicted as cozy with unions

Some Republicans and conservatives are comfortable with McCarthy’s moderate and/or squishy views on immigration. But I doubt few if any will like this depiction of the affable former deli owner as cozy with union interests. More from Klein:

“As Red State’s Erick Erickson pointed out, McCarthy even participated in a retreat for liberal Republicans at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla. The event was hosted by the Republican Main Street Partnership, which is a group run by representative-turned-lobbyist Steve LaTourette aimed at defeating conservatives. The organization includes big labor unions among its donors.”

So it’s more than a little premature to assume McCarthy will end up as the second Californian to be House speaker this century, an assumption that many have because of recurring rumors that John Boehner is tired of the job. There’s no doubt in my mind that McCarthy would be better than the last California pol in that role.

But there’s a populist, anti-Washington wave building out there in Conservativeland, and its ideal candidate isn’t someone remotely like Kevin McCarthy.

To that point, this was the headline on Klein’s analysis:

“The absurdity of electing Kevin McCarthy to replace Eric Cantor as House majority leader”

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