Thursday, June 12, 2014

Introducing David Brat

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Tuesday evening, college professor David Brat beat the Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Virginia primary election.

A House Majority Leader from either Party has never been unseated in a primary election in the history of this Republic.

Eric Cantor stepped down as House Majority Leader yesterday, following his defeat on Tuesday.

But who in the world is David Brat?

Why did the people of Virgina's 7th Congressional District decide to get rid of Eric Cantor, the second most powerful man in the House of Representatives? And why did they choose Brat?

Brat told the press, "God acted through people on my behalf." He said, "It's an unbelievable miracle."

Perhaps that's true. Mr. Cantor raised $5.7 million for his campaign. Mr Brat raised $231,000 for his.

Some have said Mr. Brat didn't actually believe he would beat Cantor. Perhaps, but he ran for the office none the less.

But who is he? Well, he is a economics professor at a small liberal arts college North of Richmond. He is a graduate of Princeton and American University. He has a masters degree in theology from Princeton Seminary and a doctorate in economics from American University.

Prior to Tuesday, there were only 2 sentences about him on Wikipedia. Of course there's more now.

I'm wondering, not only who is this man, but who and what does he represent in our current culture of chaos?

The Wall Street Journal says perhaps his victory was a miracle because "it's not like Mr. Brat got a lot of mortal help." They say national groups like the Club for Growth that aim to pick off Republicans who stray from strict party orthodox didn't get involved in Brat's campaign against Cantor.

The Journal identifies conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham as the only real national voice of support.

She told the Journal his win was fueled by "fury with the GOP establishment on fiscal issues and immigration." She said he strongly opposed the 2008 government bailout program, the budget deal reached by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray, and a general sense that leadership ignored the little people.

She said, "The lives of most Americans aren't getting better year after year...So why should they be expected to return the same politicians back to Washington election after election?"

Brat says, "The Republican Party has been paying too much attention to Wall Street and not enough attention to Main Street."

He says he is fiscally conservative, believes in free market and much smaller government, but what about the social issues?

Not much is known about him today, but you can be sure it will all be played out by the Democratic Party and, sadly, by the Republican Party leading up to the November election.

The books he has written give some insight into what he believes. His current book project is titled, Ethics As Leading Economic Indicator? What Went Wrong? Notes on The Judeo-Christian Tradition and Human Reason. Wow! A long title.

His other published works include the titles, "God and Advanced Mammon--Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?" And, "An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand."

He also wrote in a 2011 issue of "Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology" about the possibility of a second Holocaust resulting from Christian people not having "the guts to spread the word."

He wrote:

"Capitalism is here to stay, and we need a church model that corresponds to that reality. Read Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s diagnosis of the weak modern Christian democratic man was spot on. Jesus was a great man. Jesus said he was the Son of God. Jesus made things happen. Jesus had faith. Jesus actually made people better. Then came the Christians. What happened? What went wrong? We appear to be a bit passive. Hitler came along, and he did not meet with unified resistance. I have the sinking feeling that it could all happen again, quite easily. The church should rise up higher than Nietzsche could see and prove him wrong. We should love our neighbor so much that we actually believe in right and wrong, and do something about it. If we all did the right thing and had the guts to spread the word, we would not need the government to backstop every action we take."

I can assure you his adversaries will raise this article against him.

We, along with the rest of the country, will pay attention to this contest and, as some are calling him, "the man from nowhere."

What can those of us who do not live in Virginia take away from this?

1. Money doesn't always buy the vote. Lack of money forces politicians out on the street to meet the people face to face.

2. Elected officials should not get cocky or feel invincible. Pride goes before a fall. All who know Cantor say he had become cocky and arrogant.

3. Don't Offend The People Who Elect You. Many of us remember Speaker of the House Tom Foley and the last major upset of a party leader in 1994. Foley sued his own voters. After Washington State voters passed a referendum limiting the terms of their Congressional members, Foley, who loved his job, successfully took voters to court and won.

Then he lost his job.

A final thought. I believe the level of disgust and distrust toward many of our current elected officials will translate to people simply voting against the incumbent, rather than "for" the challenger. In most cases, this is a good thing, but not in all cases.

The GOP leadership know this and will work tirelessly to be sure so-called "moderate" Republicans are waiting at the gate. This will include aggressive attempts to take out those deemed too "extreme" and "unelectable" which means they are conservative.

Jeb Bush seems to be leading this effort nationally, while Rob McKenna leads it in Washington State. All "moderate" Republicans seem to believe a Republican must be "progressive" to win. The problem here in Washington, and in other states as well...they don't win. The voters choose an authentic liberal left candidate, not one who claims to be one thing while actually believing something different.

Here's the key:

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.