Either the censors of the New York Times, also known as the "editors," were taking a long weekend, or the Times felt that it had to issue a warning to the ruling elite last Sunday. They are in danger of losing their Empire, both domestic and foreign. All this is heralded by the defeat of the deeply malign Eric Cantor by the libertarian-leaning, GOP populist, Professor David Brat.
The Times began thus: "The day after Eric Cantor became the first congressional leader in modern times to lose his seat in a primary, one of the biggest aftershocks occurred not on Capitol Hill or in the sprawling Richmond suburbs…. but on the New York Stock Exchange."
The first to fall was one of the titans of the military industrial complex, Boeing. Said the Times, "The share price of Boeing tumbled, wiping out all the gains it had made this year, a drop analysts attributed to the startling defeat (of the Israel Firster, Cantor)."
But it went beyond that. Continued the Times, Brat , is an "economics professor who campaigned on throwing corrupt Wall Street bankers in jail (and) railed against crony capitalism…" Further, "Mr. Cantor’s loss is much more than just symbolism. He has been one of Wall Street’s most reliable benefactors in Congress. And Mr. Brat used that fact to deride the majority leader as someone who had rigged the financial system. In one recent speech, he accused lawmakers like Mr. Cantor of favoring ‘special tax credits to billionaires instead of taking care of us, the normal folks.’"
Them’s fightin’ words, and they clearly disturbed the big financial bourgeoisie. The NYT report quoted one of the biggest of them, who might fear that Professor Brat would like to toss him into the clink: "Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman’s chief executive, called the loss of Mr. Cantor ‘stunning’ and praised him as a sensible legislator in an interview on CNBC." Blankfein should console himself that Professor Brat is speaking only of jail not tumbrils. One might wonder at this point why progressives like Tom Hayden and Katrina Vanden Heuval are not rushing to embrace Professor Brat. After all, on all these points he is closer to what they parade as their beliefs than is Obama whom they have supported with some vigor. Could their reticence be due to the lack of a "D" trailing after his name? If not running on empty, they are certainly running on herd instinct.
On a critical point, however, the Times got David Brat wrong. As the indispensable Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com points out, the Tea Party was involved only marginally, if at all, something of which the Times seem to be aware but not anxious to disclose, labeling Brat as "Tea Party-inspired," a typical NYT misleading ambiguity. Raimondo offers the following corrective: "(The mainstream pundits) settled on a neat little narrative early on: the election was all about immigration, they told us, and Brat is a “Tea Party” politician with “nativist” tendencies. That explanation, however, soon fell apart when it was revealed that the Tea Party groups had done exactly nothing to help Brat: indeed the leader of Tea Party Patriots, one of the biggest national groups, wouldn’t even take his phone calls. …. Furthermore, it turned out Brat had campaigned not only or even primarily on the immigration issue – which only came up in the last few days of the campaign…" Raimondo goes on to make it clear that Brat made a big campaign point of his opposition to NDAA and the Surveillance State and tells us that we should: "Take a gander at Brat’s answers to a questionnaire sent out by Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty: he opposes US military action in the absence of a declaration of war, and he’s against all ‘foreign aid.’"
All this is enough to make an antiwarrior giddy with enthusiasm. But unfortunately there may be a fly in the ointment. As the very principled, some might say uncompromising, libertarian conservative Joe Ureneck of Boston (who praises Brat’s position on domestic and social issues) warns us, Brat’s Achilles heel may be his attitude toward the military budget and the U.S. military presence around the world. Here unfortunately Brat shows signs of being positively Hillaryesque, as is evident in this post-election interview with Chuck Todd:
TODD: …Do you consider yourself an interventionist or an isolationist?
BRAT: I think the press is in the habit of doing juxtapositions like that that don’t capture reality well. I’m a Ph.D. in economics and so you analyze every situation uniquely because every international situation is unique.
So I don’t have a pattern that fits every single incidence, but I think it’s absolutely necessary that the United States does project its power abroad. I think our Defense Department is bigger than the next ten combined. Without that I think would you have chaos, without our commitment to rights abroad and keeping the peace. But that does not mean that we should not ask some of the European countries to pay up part of the bill now. They’ve all become rich and developed and so it’s time to share the burden.
So let us say that Professor Brat has a way to go before meriting the accolade of "anti-interventionist." That means that everyone, who is in a position to do so, educate Brat about the importance of anti-interventionism and to insist that he move in that direction. Let us hope that he then comes closer to being a Ron Paul or Justin Amash. Otherwise he should be punished – tossed out.
But let us not deny that the election of Brat is a great step forward and a sharp blow to the neoconservatives and their near indistinguishable comrades, the "humanitarian" imperialists among the Dems and progressives. Because he demands no wars without Congressional vote and because he is against the surveillance state, the victory of David Brat is another defeat for the hawks in the GOP and an important step forward for antiwarriors.
This article originally appeared on Unz Review. John V. Walsh also writes for CounterPunch.com and DissidentVoice.org inter alia. By day until recently, he labored over the physiology of neuronal cells. He can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com.