Brat did talk a lot about the immigration issue during the final week before Tuesday's voting, but he could hardly avoid it, thanks to the flood of Central American women and children pouring across the border into the U.S. in Texas, then being shipped by President Obama to Arizona and other places in the U.S.
But simply pointing to immigration to explain Cantor's loss is a Democratic talking point, as illustrated by the Democratic Strategist's observation early this morning:
"If Republicans had dismal prospects for winning Latino votes in 2014, Dems will likely trumpet Brat's victory as a clear indication that the GOP is moving toward an even more reactionary position with respect to immigration."
Washington wink-wink unmasked
To be sure, Cantor has been playing games with the home folks on the immigration issue, claiming back in his district to be opposed to amnesty while in D.C. pushing House Republicans to accept an immigration deal with Obama.
That's the Washington wink-wink in action — Professional politicians talking one way to voters while winking assurances that they will actually vote the other way to the mainstream media, special interest lobbyists and each other.
That hypocrisy is the core of the split within the GOP. It was festering in 1990 when George H.W. Bush broke his "no new taxes" pledge, re-surged with the earmarks battle in 2007 during George W. Bush's second term, and stirred yet again in the government shutdown crisis precipitated by Sen. Ted Cruz. of Texas in 2013.
Brat on Brat
Brat laid it out in simple terms five months ago for Betsy Woodruff, as she reported shortly before joining the Washington Examiner:
"He tells me he intends to target Cantor for his support of the Ryan-Murray budget deal, as well as his stances on immigration reform. He'll also go after the majority leader on the Affordable Care Act," Woodruff wrote for NRO.
"'He hasn’t moved the ball down the field at all,' Brat says. 'He had two CRs at the end, one in favor of the shutdown and one opposed to the shutdown at the same time,' Brat continues.
"'And that’s fairly symbolic of unprincipled leadership. I mean, that’s not a leadership position, where you’re on Side A and Side B at the same time and you’ve got your finger up in the air, checking which way the wind is blowing.'"
Remembering the lesson of 2006:
Woodruff's prescient piece reminded me of something from my old blog, Tapscott's Copy Desk, concerning the Democrats' smashing victory in the 2006 congressional election:
"When Republicans worry more about staying in government than about limiting government, they get thrown out of government. That's the lesson of Nov. 7, 2006."
Is 2014 the year the GOP establishment finally gets the message?
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
Watchdog/Mark Flatten: Faces of scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Columnists/Byron York: GOP seeks direction after Cantor loss.
Columnists/Ron Arnold: If it's wet, the EPA wants to regulate it.
Columnists/Noemie Emery: Obama is being pretty stupid for a smart guy.
Beltway Confidential/Ashe Schow: Tea Party condition upgraded to "Alive."
Beltway Confidential/Chuck Hoskinson: President Obama threw Afghanistan under the bus with Bergdahl deal.
PennAve/Betsy Woodruff: Meet the political unknown who just took down Eric Cantor.
PennAve/Betsy Woodruff: Meet Dave Brat's 23-year-old campaign manager.
PennAve/David M. Drucker: Cantor's loss throw Republican leadership into "total chaos."
PennAve/Susan Ferrechio: How the DREAM Act may have led to Cantor's defeat.
Legal Newsline/David Yates: Trial lawyer favorite Braley trails Ernst in Iowa by five points.
In other news
ABC News: Dave Brat on Dave Brat.
The New York Times: Al Qaeda extends control in Iraq after taking Mosul.
The Weekly Standard: Here, the people rule.
The American Spectator: Eric Cantor got shellacked.
National Review Online: Six reasons Eric Cantor lost.
The Federalist: Why we fired Eric Cantor.
The Daily Beast: Tea Party cannibalizes Eric Cantor.
Salon: Eric Cantor got what he deserved.
Mother Jones: Are nanoparticles from packaging getting into your food?
Jammie Wearing Fools: Shootings are up 43 percent but at least we no longer have stop-and-frisk.
Powerline: Is there anything climate change can't do?
Talking Points Memo: Six ways Cantor's defeat changes Washington.
Democratic Strategist: Big noise from the Old Dominion.