Rep. Dave Brat, the Virginia Republican who unseated Rep. Eric Cantor last year thanks in large part to his uncompromising anti-immigrant politics, told talk radio host John Fredericks yesterday that a proposal to allow DREAM Act-eligible immigrants to enlist in the military represents the “decline of Western Civilization.”
Discussing the House’s narrow vote to strip the proposal from a Pentagon spending bill last week, Fredericks asked Brat, “What’s going on out there?”
“Well, what’s going on is the decline of Western Civilization at the highest level,” Brat responded. “I think everybody knows their old Roman history, part of the reason Rome fell was because they started hiring the barbarians in, otherwise known as the Germans at the time, to be troops in their own army, and that led to their eventual downfall.”
Brat also had a response to proponents of the measure who pointed out that being willing to serve in the U.S. military shows a certain level of patriotism: “I wanted to stand up and shout, I mean ISIS is willing to serve in our military as well.”
Later in the conversation, Brat compared allowing undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children to serve in the military to requiring President Obama to hire Republicans to serve in the White House, a nonsensical comparison for a number of reasons, including that President Obama is in charge of both the military and the White House:
It is an Orwellian situation where language is upside-down. I told some of the guys on our side last night, just as a joke, I mean, if the illegal aliens are so talented that they should take the slots of our military heroes, why not just start out and hire them to work for the White House? And that kind of reverses the humor, right? I mean, if these folks are so good and so patriotic, you know, hire them in the White House.
And even better, just so we’re equal opportunity, I would suggest they hire all Republicans, and so let someone else pick who will work for you in the White House. And if Mr. Obama thinks that’s a reasonable proposition, at least we’re on the same Orwellian footing.
In an interview last month with conservative radio host Rusty Humphries, Rep. Dave Brat said that the terrorist group ISIS has set up a base in Texas.
Apparently referring to a debunked report from a right-wing group about an ISIS camp near the Texas border, the Virginia Republican told Humphries, “In our country, now it looks like we have an ISIS center in Texas now that’s been reported last week.”
Brat also warned of “2,000 un-vetted people coming across the border from Syria, the home of ISIS.” The U.S. is planning to admit 2,000 refugees from Syria’s civil war this year, who will be screened by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security.
“You can’t make up what a terrible problem this is,” he said, “and the political parties are just blind to it because the money, it causes blinders on their eyes. They can’t see reality clearly.”
Rep. Dave Brat, the Virginia Republican who upset House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary thanks in part to his promises to fight immigration reform, told conservative radio host Rusty Humphries last month that the DREAM Act represents “the cynical use of language that only George Orwell could come up with.”
Brat said that the DREAM ACT — which would enable undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to earn legal status if they meet certain requirements — would, along with church-state separation, threaten the “pillars” of American success.
The congressman contrasted the DREAM Act with the teachings of Martin Luther King, whom Brat said “had a true dream of a better day for all of us under the law.”
This, he explained, was because King “came out of the Judeo-Christian tradition,” which got him to talking about how the fact that “the faith doesn’t get discussed in school anymore,” that “there’s hardly any free markets left” and that “the rule of law is under threat, it’s called the ‘DREAM Act,’” are sending America in the “wrong direction.”
All of this led Brat to dispute church-state separation, arguing, “If you want a total separation of church and state, get rid of law and get rid of love, because that’s in the tradition.”
The ‘DREAM,’ unfortunately, is the cynical use of language that only George Orwell could come up with where logic is just flipped on its head, so you call something that’s illegal a ‘dream.’ So, when Martin Luther King said, ‘I have a dream,’ he had a true dream of a better day for all of us under the law.
He had a Ph.D. in theology — everybody forgets this — he came out of the Judeo-Christian tradition, which started way back when, but roughly with Moses, and in the U.S. Congress, when the speaker looks out, guess who the first face he sees staring him eyeball-to-eyeball? Moses. So the dream can never be, and nothing in the longer-term religious tradition, you can’t violate the law and have a sane culture over the long run. So you have to first of all have foundations that matter, a spiritual foundation or legal foundation, then we finally were fortunate enough to have a free-market foundation, and all of that made us the richest country on the face of the earth.
So now we’re threatening, all these pillars are under attack, the faith doesn’t get discussed in school anymore, the rule of law is under threat, it’s called the “DREAM Act,” free markets are in just free-fall, there’s hardly any free markets left. So we’re going the wrong direction.
Rep. David Brat, R-Va., took issue with a PolitiFact post that rated a recent anti-Obamacare statement he made as “false,” telling conservative talk show host Lars Larson at yesterday’s “Hold Their Feet To The Fire” conference that the Affordable Care Act represents a severe threat to the country.
Brat said that Obamacare, which Larson inaccurately referred to as “a health care system run by government,” will move America away from a free market system. He pointed to the two Koreas as an example of the dangers of such policies: “Look at every country in the world. Look at North Korea and South Korea. It’s the same culture, it’s the same people, look at a map at night, one of the countries is not lit, there’s no lights, and the bottom free-market country, all Koreans, is lit up. So you make your bet on which country you want to be, you want to go free market.”
“We have poverty on the rise because we’re moving away from free markets,” he said.
He added that in high schools he visits most graduating seniors “can’t tell you what a business is” because the schools “are not teaching people that business is a good thing.”
Former GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is praising the primary defeat of Rep. Eric Cantor, who before becoming majority leader himself was involved in one of DeLay’s casino gambling campaign financing schemes, as a victory for a Christian revolution.
DeLay told the Washington Times’ Andy Parks today that far-right challenger David Brat’s victory was a “spiritual revival” and a sign that pastors and “a lot of Christians that had never been elections before got involved” in politics.
“I’m not trying to be arrogant or a know-it-all but this is what I’ve been calling for well over a year now: spiritual revival and a revolution for the Constitution. I saw this as a manifestation of that,” DeLay said. “As I travel around the country what I hear from people, particularly Christians, is that they want to bring God back into the public arena, they want a revolution for the Constitution, they want constitutional government and they have a huge thirst for leadership.”
DeLay also described Cantor’s defeat as a loss for the progressive movement and the separation of church and state. Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, was actually a reliable Religious Right ally.
“People of faith are standing up now and they’re saying no more, enough is enough, we’re going to fight for what we believe in, we’re going to fight for our Christian — Judeo-Christian — values and we’re not going to take it anymore,” DeLay told Parks. “We need to defeat those who want to get God out of the [public] square and it’s happening, it happened last night with the Brat-Cantor race.”
As the news of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s surprising loss last night to Tea Party challenger David Brat sinks in, Brat’s anti-immigrant extremism is increasingly coming into the spotlight. Today Right Wing Watch wrote that Brat actively sought out the endorsement of ALIPAC, an anti-immigrant hate group whose leader has suggested that violence may be necessary to quell President Obama’s supposed war on “white America.” Brat campaigned on the claim that a vote for Cantor was “a vote for amnesty.”
But there is another aspect to the race also worth paying attention to: Brat’s focus on corruption in Washington. This morning our friends at Public Campaign pointed out that Brat, who was vastly outspent by Cantor, consistently made speaking out against political corruption a part of his campaign. In his victory speech, Brat said to supporters: “What you proved tonight was dollars don’t vote — you do.”
The overwhelming majority of Americans (92 percent of voters, according to a November 2013 poll) think it’s important for elected officials do more to reduce money’s influence on elections — a statistic we often highlight in our work for urgently-needed campaign finance reforms. What last night’s news brings to the foreground is the obvious fact that this 92 percent cannot possibly reflect Americans of only one political leaning. A commitment to fighting corruption and the outsized influence of big money in politics is a deeply-held belief of people of all political stripes, whatever their other beliefs may be.
This morning Politico proclaimed, “Big money couldn’t save Eric Cantor.” And despite Brat’s extremism, there is something hopeful about the fact that people can fight back against the tidal wave of cash flooding our electoral system. To be sure, this outcome is the exception rather than the rule. More than nine times in ten, the better-financed congressional candidate wins. In the post-Citizens United and post-McCutcheon campaign finance landscape, to pretend that money doesn’t matter hugely in the outcome of elections — and in who has access to and influence over politicians once the election is over — is to be willfully blind.
But it’s also important to be reminded that when voters set their minds to it, they still have the power to reshape our nation — for good or ill.
Glenn Beck, who only recently began promoting economics professor David Brat’s primary campaign against Eric Cantor, hosted Brat on his radio show today to discuss his unexpected victory and purported media attacks.
After insisting that he is not a far-right candidate since he is part of the “compassionate party,” Brat said that progressives are getting worried about falling hunger in developing countries: “China and India are feeding their people in the first time in human history due to free markets and the left knows that and it gets them nervous.”
In another interview with American Family Association radio host Dan Celia, who said his win was the work of God and conservative talk radio hosts, Brat claimed his victory “came straight out of Heaven.”
He similarly told Fox News that “God acted through people on my behalf” in his primary victory.
The headline of a New York Times article responding to Eric Cantor’s startling primary defeat last night read, “Cantor’s Loss a Bad Omen for Moderates.” That would be true if there were still moderates in the House Republican Conference to speak of.
But there aren’t, and you can thank Eric Cantor for that.
House Republicans are now heavily skewed to the right, including a large wing that refuses to ever collaborate with President Obama or congressional Democrats on anything. Cantor, of course, was one of the chief architects of the GOP’s hardline politicking and far-right shift.
Cantor helped sink bipartisan debt deals, including the 2011 budget “grand bargain,” and engineered the Republican strategy of manufacturing fiscal crisis after crisis by putting a ransom on must-pass fiscal bills.
As Bill Burton told the New Yorker in 2011, “Cantor has had an outsized influence on how poisonously partisan Washington has been these last couple years.”
Cantor also was behind the Republican Party’s decision following the 2012 election disaster to resist any calls to moderate or begin working, even slightly, with Obama. Instead, the GOP moved to rebrand itself by attempting to change its image, beating back on the (accurate) perception that it had become an extremist, uncompromisingly ideological entity.
Vanity Fair just this month ran a piece on Cantor’s attempt to seem more moderate, respectable and bipartisan — even while sticking to his old extreme policies. “[I]f people see you for what you really are, that’s a failure on your part,” Michael Kinsley wrote of Cantor’s rebranding attempt. “Success is when people see you as what you wish you were.”
In March, the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza noted that Cantor, “the creator of a strategy to oppose and obstruct the Obama agenda” who has a “reputation as a Tea Party leader,” only sought to make “short-term adjustments in public relations” rather than to temper his increasingly unpopular, and unhinged, fanaticism:
Since the 2012 elections, the Republicans have been divided between those who believe their policies are the problem and those who believe they just need better marketing—between those who believe they need to make better pizza and those who think they just need a more attractive box. Cantor, who is known among his colleagues as someone with strategic intelligence and a knack for political positioning, argues that it’s the box.
By refusing to temper — and even encouraging — the party’s sharp far-right swing, Cantor helped to fashion a party that views even the perception of bipartisanship as blasphemy.
Take immigration, for example: While Cantor was actually blocking the House from voting on immigration reform legislation, he still tried to make it seem that the party was open to some reforms, knowing that a majority of Americans and the quickly growing Latino community strongly favored reform legislation. Cantor tried to make the GOP’s strict stance against any immigration reform palatable to the public, which eventually allowed his primary challenger to campaign against his supposed support for “amnesty.”
After encouraging hard opposition to any fiscal deals with Obama unless the president caved to their every demand, Cantor paved the way for a GOP where simply voting to lift the debt limit in order to avoid economic disaster or supporting relief for hurricane victims gives you the much-dishonored title of RINO, “Republican In Name Only.”
Cantor pushed the party so far to the right that even political posturing that had little to no effect on actual policy was too much for GOP primary voters, and now the politician often seen as the more conservative alternative to Speaker Boehner has become a target of the militant wing he helped create.
David Brat’s upset victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in yesterday’s Republican primary in Virginia’s seventh congressional district was driven in part by Brat’s no-compromise position on immigration reform, which put him even farther to the right than the not-exactly immigration-friendly Cantor .
Among those celebrating Brat’s surprise win is William Gheen, head of the anti-immigrant hate group ALIPAC , who used some of his group’s meager funds to send out a robocall in the district in the days before the election, playing up the fear that undocumented immigrants would “vote with or against you in future elections.”
While the robocall was an independent endeavor, Brat had actively sought ALIPAC’s endorsement.
In February, Brat’s campaign manager filled out ALIPAC’s candidate survey, which asked prospective endorsees to choose between the enforcement of “immigration laws as the U.S. Constitution requires for the protection of American jobs, elections, taxpayer resources, health and lives” and immigration reform, which it said would “lead to a new voting bloc of 11-20 million illegal immigrants, which would in turn destroy any future hopes of border or immigration law existence or enforcement.” Brat chose the former, and earned Gheen’s endorsement .
Gheen — who is ALIPAC’s chief cook and bottle-washer — is a fringe extremist, even in the already extreme anti-immigrant movement. Here is just a smattering of his paranoid, racist rhetoric, that would have been easily accessible to the Brat campaign through a quick Google search: