By Ruth Conniff on June 11, 2014

Most of the news about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning primary loss this week focused on his opponent Dave Brat's appeal to the anti-immigrant Tea Party base.

But there is another, more interesting angle to Brat's win, and that is what he had to say about the corruption of the Republican Party because of its coziness with big business, and especially the big banks.

In a speech to a Tea Party audience in Mechanichsville,

Brat outlined the origins of the financial crisis in the United States:

"All the investment banks up in DC, New York, those guys should have gone to jail," he told the group. "Instead of going to jail, where did they go? They went out to Eric's Rolodex."

That line elicited a burst of appreciative laughter.

Brat then told an anecdote about a radio show caller who told him he would never overcome Eric Cantor's spending in the race. Brat had just over $200,000 to Cantor's $5.4 million.

"The good news is money doesn't vote; people do," Brat said.

Of the Republicans, Brat commented:

"They have no people and no pulse right now. They are just fried."

"The Tea Party, the grassroots, is built on principle. You've got vision."

"The Republicans are selling out those principles," he said, adding that Cantor "is running on the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable."

"Brat campaigned explicitly on jailing bankers and on Cantor's backing of the STOCK Act. His election was a rejection of political corruption," says Zaid Jilani, who worked for Think Progress, United Republic and Bold Progressives before returning to graduate school at Syracuse University.

Jilani cites Brat's discussion of the STOCK Act, which he said would have stopped "insider trading by Congressional members and their families ... one Congressman [Cantor] stopped it and changed the language."

Brat also criticized Cantor's support for NSA spying, in speeches that resonated with the grassroots.

"The NSA’s indiscriminate collection of data on all Americans is a disturbing violation of our Fourth Amendment right to privacy," Brat said.

"Republicans are not the only ones who should take heed," says Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Democrats are also vulnerable to grassroots anger about their Representatives' complicity in the violation of citizens' constitutional rights, as well as the corrupting influence of money in politics.

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Comments

It seems to me that what we are witnessing is the continuing breakdown of the GOP. For those who haven't noticed, the GOP is becoming progressively dysfunctional.
It seems to me that this Tea Party win is a precautionary tale. It demonstrates that the Tea Party will get out to vote. The question is, will we?
OK, I voted for Brat as i live in that district. I didn't know/care he (Cantor) was Jewish (I'm an atheist anyway...shrug). I didn't know about the banks or care as they all are in bed with big money. Most people I know voted for Brat because we are tired of all the RINOs and Dems selling our country downstream. Analysis all you want but it's really really simple.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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