Conservative commentator Mark Steyn and talk show host Hugh Hewitt had strong criticism for the possibility House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will replace outgoing-Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor as the new House Majority Leader.
Hewitt described the thinking behind the move as “let’s replace Eric Cantor with Eric Cantor.” Steyn mocked the House GOP Leadership for its refusal to accept different leaders, stating “the Republican leadership is manufacturing these candidates somewhere at a factory in Shanghai, and importing them, you know, they’re all sitting on the docks at wherever waiting to come into the country, because it shows.”
Partial transcript as follows:
HEWITT: Now I want to switch to something about which we have no control, what happens in Iraq, to something over which we have like an infinitesimal amount of influence, which is the House leadership battle. Mark Steyn, Eric Cantor was defeated by our friend, Mark Levin, and Laura Ingraham.
HEWITT: …and the Tea Party. And I was wholly unaware of it, not a participant in it, stunned when it happened, and I thought Eric Cantor was a fine guy and didn’t think he’d get thrown over, because I didn’t think he was John Boehner. I mean, Eric Cantor didn’t mock his own caucus in Cincinnati a few weeks ago. John Boehner did, and I am told John Boehner cried real tears for Eric Cantor, not realizing, I guess, that it was his mocking of his own conference of immigration that led to his overthrow. Now, we have the response of, apparently overnight, oh, well, let’s replace Eric Cantor with Eric Cantor, his deputy, Kevin McCarthy.
HEWITT: …who’s a very fine guy. You might even know him. I know him. He’s a nice guy. But it’s the most tin-eared, if it was a musical, it would have closed in previews. It’s unbelievably bad.
STEYN: Well, I think to a certain extent, the Republican leadership is manufacturing these candidates somewhere at a factory in Shanghai, and importing them, you know, they’re all sitting on the docks at wherever waiting to come into the country, because it shows, I would rather Eric Cantor have stayed in his position until January, and been succeeded by this guy, Professor Brat, down in Virginia, because to do that is to basically say we don’t care what happened in Virginia.
STEYN: It’s business as usual. And you’re right. Eric Cantor was a different kettle of fish from John Boehner in many ways. I heard him speak at a sort of closed-door session for conservative activists. And there was nothing wrong with what Eric Cantor said, nothing wrong with it. But there was nothing particularly right about it. And it was, and it was insufficient to the moment, because we are going through epic times here.
STEYN: America is basically departing the world stage. And to have, and the sort of minimalist, incremental approach, where basically the Boehner-Cantor Republican establishment says we don’t want to change direction, we just want to get to where the Democrats are going, but in third gear, is insufficient. And that’s the message of Virginia.
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett