Feeling Good and Then Bad

Feeling Good and Then Bad

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

The candor and honesty expressed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) made us feel very proud as the only Jewish Republican in the House admitted in an interview with Mike Allen at Politico that indeed there was racism and anti-Semitism in the Republican Party and even within the House Republican caucus. Understanding how difficult it is, especially so in the current angry political climate and during a very bitter election year, Cantor’s openness was extraordinarily impressive given his usual extreme circumspection and partisanship. In fact, saying what he said was a serious liability for Cantor given both his ambitions and his rank. It is precisely because of Cantor’s forthright behavior that the response and reaction by right wing Jewish apologists was so disappointing.

Writing in national review blog and in the Commentary Magazine blog, Patrick Brennan and Alana Goodman try to explain and suggest that Cantor was not admitting anything, was misunderstood, and misinterpreted. To many observers of the video, Cantor’s pregnant pause and then Mike Allen’s moving on to another subject says it all. Allen helped Cantor out of his fix but Cantor knew he could not contradict what was already said. It is truly a sad time when speaking the truth at a political risk, must repeatedly be met (by friends) by jumping through hoops that belong largely in the circus.

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