Davos 2014: The Beginning of Cantor’s End

Ap Photo/J Scott Applewhite-ap
AP/J. Scott Applewhite

With this year’s Davos conference ramping up – USA Today calls it the “conference for the 1%” – it seems worth noting that if last year’s conference achieved anything, it may be that it went a long way to help unseat then-House Majority Leader, Republican Eric Cantor.

USA Today reports, “More than 2,500 of the world’s great, good, and well, lucky, will descend on the snowy resort town made famous in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain this week, with the usual future of the world at stake.”

Tickets this year cost a measly $40,ooo, but price wasn’t an issue for Cantor when news broke that he was headed to Davos at just about this time last year. According to Politico, “Cantor’s office declined to share details about what the No. 2 House Republican plans to address this year at the forum.”

The Left pounced on Cantor with one unfortunate detail after another emerging, including a restaurant receipt that went a long way toward bringing into focus the cost of the trip … and who was paying for it. Even the Right-leaning American Thinker picked up on it, also noting a reference to former and now-disgraced Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Talk about prophetic …. at least in as much as it pertains to remaining viable in politics:

Note to Cong. Eric Cantor — Hope you are enjoying your junket to Davos and relaxing after working so hard to cut our unemployment benefits. Must be great skiing this time of year. But next time you and Rory grab some coffee over at the Kongress, be sure not to leave the receipt on the table. Folks back in Virginia might get pissed. You don’t want to wind up like your pal, Bob.

Certainly, Cantor was viable when he went to Davos in 2014. There had even been talk of him stepping up to challenge Boehner:

Fresh from Washington, where he played a leading role in preventing the extension of emergency unemployment benefits for Americans mired in joblessness, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor appeared to be enjoying one of the perks of his own employment: a sumptuous breakfast in this ski resort in the Swiss Alps, where he was attending the World Economic Forum.

So I approached Cantor’s table and asked him who was paying for his trip. He took in a breath, grinned sheepishly and said, “I paid for this,” gesturing at a table bearing the remnants of a buffet breakfast whose offerings included smoked salmon, croissants, freshly squeezed orange juice, assorted Swiss cheeses and mineral water.

For those who question whether the Davos conference actually accomplishes anything … you might want to ask the once-powerful Republican Cantor. His jaunt to Davos, more than anything, helped solidify the image of an out-of-touch, above-it-all establishment Republican people are tired of supporting. When push came to shove, even outspending challenger David Brat many times over couldn’t save Cantor, who went down to defeat in one of the nation’s biggest political surprises of 2014.

But, at least, he’ll always have Davos:

Cantor’s table had ordered a bottle of San Pellegrino water, plus a Coca Cola and a cappuccino, all of this running 94.70 Swiss francs, around $105 — a bit more than a third of the maximum $378 a week a jobless person can draw in benefits in Cantor’s home state of Virginia. A receipt left on the table showed that the bill was paid for with an American Express card.

And who paid for the rest of his visit to Davos, a veritable Disneyland of ostentatious cocktail parties underwritten by global banks, technology companies and other well-heeled concerns?

Cantor took a glance sideways. “It’s an official trip,” he said, leaving it at that, and presumably confirming that taxpayers paid.


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