Eric Cantor, the House majority leader who last week lost the Republican primary for the Virginia congressional district he’s led for seven terms, told CNN’s State of the Union that he had “no regrets” about his unexpected loss to little-known Tea Party candidate Dave Brat, Time reports.
“We don’t always know right here and now why,” he said during a Sunday appearance on CNN‘s State of the Union. “And I think the perspective of time will actually indicate [how] something that may have seemed really bad at the time can turn out to be really good.”
His Sunday comments, tinged with the Bible Belt religiosity he honed successfully for years as a Jewish congressman in Virginia (read Allison Hoffman’s 2011 profile for more on Cantor’s distinctly Southern brand of Judaism), came on the heels of an address he made the previous day which offered a more, well, Jewish message.
Cantor was in Westhampton this weekend, where he spoke to well-heeled congregants at the Hampton Synagogue for a pre-scheduled Father’s Day Shabbat service. According to the New York Post, the congressman had more of an Old Testament take on the whole thing:
“Having been through what I’ve been through this week … as Jews we have studied the Torah, we read every week in some way, shape or form, and are reminded about personal setbacks — but we are also reminded about optimism of the future, about that bigger goal, that bigger vision that we as Jews are about” the Republican told 250 worshippers at a Father’s Day service Saturday at Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach.
“Our country, this democracy, is about action, it is about participating, it is about speaking your voice and let it be heard,” he said.
It’s a fairly boilerplate summary of Judaism, perhaps, but it shows Cantor’s understanding of the malleability—and reach—of his Jewish identity (or, he might say, his faith). And it’s why, even though nagging questions about the role of Cantor’s religion in his surprise defeat may linger among Jews, it’s clear that Cantor continues to have a strong handle on harnessing his unique, powerful status as a Jewish Republican. Which means his next move likely won’t be too far off.