Surprise is one thing, but Emma Dumain’s report for Roll Call only begs the question:
Perhaps the most revealing assessment of the evening’s turn of events came from Speaker John A. Boehner. Earlier, he exited from a local Italian restaurant and declined to speak with reporters who were waiting for him.
Once safely out of the media’s reach, however, the Ohio Republican released a brief statement that touched, in just three sentences, on just how surprising Cantor’s defeat really was, and how at a loss all politicians and political operatives are to explain how the loss transpired:
“Eric Cantor and I have been through a lot together. He’s a good friend and a great leader, and someone I’ve come to rely upon on a daily basis as we make the tough choices that come with governing. My thoughts are with him and Diana and their kids tonight.”
This keeps happening, as in 2012 when the Romney campaign apparently had no clue what was actually happening out in the voting districts.
Certes, there are times when an electoral flameout is a surprise insofar as a titan falls, but usually there are hints on the front side. To the other, there probably were, and maybe we all should have paid more attention when the House Majority Leader was booed in his own district. But how is it that the people responsible for planning the tactical outlook that preserves and hopefully, for House Republicans, grows the majority, can possibly be surprised this evening? That is to say, how could they not have seen this coming before it happened?
Surprise, yes, but one wonders at the degree of blindness required if absolutely nobody saw any hint that this was coming. Over the course of the next few days, cooler heads will prevail and everyone will start explaining how they knew it all along.
Dumain, Emma. “Boehner Statement on Cantor’s Defeat”. 218. 10 June 2014.
Crawford, Jan. “Adviser: Romney ‘shellshocked’ by loss”. CBS News. 8 November 2012.