Skip to comments.David Brat, the Libertarian Who Beat Eric Cantor, Doesn't Believe in the "Common" Good
Posted on 06/12/2014 1:36:43 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Brat has called for slashing Social Security, Medicare, and education spending and says "rich" nations don't have to fear climate change.
When tea party challenger David Brat sent Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, to the ash heap on Tuesday night, vanquishing the incumbent by more than 10 points in the primary race, the politerati were stunned. Political journalists scrambled to answer a question: who is this guy? The political pros knew that Brat had mounted a campaign largely based on two issues: bashing Cantor on immigration (that is, excoriating the congressman, who was quite hesitant about immigration reform, for not killing the possibility of any immigration legislation) and denouncing Cantor for supporting a debt ceiling deal that averted possible financial crisis. But not much else was widely known about this local professor who dispatched a Washington power broker.
A quick review of his public statements reveals a fellow who is about as tea party as can be. He appears to endorse slashing Social Security payouts to seniors by two-thirds. He wants to dissolve the IRS. And he has called for drastic cuts to education funding, explaining, "My hero Socrates trained in Plato on a rock. How much did that cost? So the greatest minds in history became the greatest minds in history without spending a lot of money."
An economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in central Virginia, Brat frequently has repeated the conservative canard that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae brought down the housing market by handling the vast majority of subprime mortgages. That is, he absolves Big Finance and the banks of responsibility for the financial crisis that triggered the recession, which hammered middle-class and low-income families across the country. (In fact, as the housing bubble grew, Freddie and Fannie shed their subprime holdings, while banks grabbed more.)
In his campaign speeches, Brat has pointed out that he isn't worried about climate change because "rich countries solve their problems":
If you let Americans do their thing, there is no scarcity, right? They said we're going to run out of food 200 years ago, that we're goin' to have a ice age. Now we're heating up Of course we care for the environment, but we're not mad people. Over time, rich countries solve their problems. We get it right. It's not all perfect, but we get it right.
Update: After Mother Jones published this piece, several videos referenced were set to private.
He did not say what might happen to not-so-rich countries due to climate change and the consequent rise in sea levels, droughts, and extreme weather.
Asked about cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance*, Brat replied that he supported drastic reductions in payouts from social programs for seniors:
I'll give you my general answer. And my general answer is you have to do what's fair. Right. So you put together a graph or a chart and you go out to the American people, you go to the podium, and you say, this is what you put in on average, this is what you get out on average. Currently, seniors are getting about three dollars out of all of the programs for every dollar they put in. So, in general, you've got to go to the American people and just be honest with them and say, "Here's what fairness would look like." Right. So, maybe the next ten years we have to grandfather some folks in, but basically we're going to move them in a direct line toward fairness and we have to live within our means.
He frets about the state of morality in schools and about Beyoncé:
For the first 13 years of your kid's life, we teach them no religion, no philosophy, and no ethics Who is our great moral teachers these days? Every generation has always had great theologians or philosophers by the century that you can name. Who do we got right now? [Audience: Jay-Z] Right. Right. [Audience: Beyoncé] Right. Beyoncé. When you can't name a serious philosopher, a national name, or a serious theologian, or a serious religious leader, at the national level, your culture's got a major problem. We got a major problem.
Brat railed against Cantor for supporting a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants. Brat called this a policy of "amnesty" and accused Cantor of "getting big paychecks" from groups like the Chamber of Commerce for his position:
If I misspoke and said "secretly," he's been pretty out in the open. He's been in favor of the KIDS Act, the DREAM Act, the ENLIST Act [which Cantor blocked in May] On the amnesty card, it's a matter of motivation. I teach third-world economic development for the past 20 years, I love all people, I went to seminary before I did my economics, and so you look at the motivation. Why is Eric pushing amnesty? It's not a big issue in our district, everyone's opposed to it, and so why is he doing it? And the answer is, 'cause he's got his eye on the speakership. He wants to be speaker, and big business, right? The Business Roundtable and the US Chamber of Commerce wants cheap labor. So he actually is selling out the people in our district. He's not representing the district, the will of the people, and he's getting big paychecks by doing so. So he's very clear on amnesty.
Brat is, not surprisingly, no fan of the United Nations:
"Common-" anything I'm against. United Nations. Common everything. If you say common, by definition you're saying it's top-down. I'm going to force this on you. That's what dictators do.
His view of who deploys a top-down approach, naturally, includes President Barack Obama:
The left does not believe in diversity. They believe in top-down, I'm going to force my way onto you. Obama is forcing un-diversity onto everybody. It's not diversity. It's top down, central planning, on everything.
As Mother Jones's Timothy Murphy noted, Brat, a libertarian but not a full Randian, and he doesn't buy the idea that there's anything dangerous about playing chicken with the debt ceiling. Bring it on, he says.
In November, Brat will face Democrat Jack Trammell, a fellow Randolph-Macon professor, in the general election in this Republican district.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Brat was answering a question about Medicare. In fact, he was asked about Social Security Disability Insurance.
Brat, a “libertarian” ?
not even close. title is purposely misleading
David Corn and his little gal assistant lie to us?
Dave Brat refers to himself as a solid Republican, a “constitutional conservative”.
What does “cuts to seniors” have to do with SSDI?
Typical liberal hit piece. Eeeeeevil Tea Party Republcians hate children and old people. I am shocked they couldn’t add sexist, racist and homophobic to the list as well.
Brat says he intends to follow the constitution. What else matters but that?
Mother jones wouldn’t know the tragedy of the commons if it hit them upside the head.
Well, if it’s David Corn writing this, it has to be a libel trying to define a good man as evil in the eyes of the wacko left.
That’s the modus operandi employed by the main stream media. Call names but avoid discussion of the merits.
...”I don’t know about you, but I like him now more than I did twenty minutes ago.”...
I totally agree.
i agree with 2nddivisionvet. I like him even more now.
Libertarian? These authors are displaying their ignorance.
He sounds like a solid old-fashioned conservative; in fact, like any old Republican the way they used to be. He also sounds extremely intelligent, which is probably what’s got them scared.
not even close.
I wouldn't be so sure. Brat has written economic papers promoting Ayn Rand, has done research on behalf of the Cato Institute, and Reason Magazine is claiming Brat as one of their own (albeit while opposing Brat's defense and immigration views).
Brat's strong anti-Big Business views are why many choose to call him libertarian rather than a traditional conservative. It is probably more accurate to call Brat a paleoconservative.
Well, if “Mother Jones” says so, it must be true.
That he does. I will be interested to hear what he has to say "exporting democracy" and "nation building."
Thanks for posting this. I like to see well written pieces of views I disagree with.
Beware the Castle effect. After Christine O’Donnell upset Mike Castle, the GOP-e went full bore trashing and campaigning against her. Castle never endorsed her. The party offered no support in terms of office space, advertisements or media buys. 13% of registered Republicans voted for the self-avowed Marxist Chris Coons in the general election.
Gee, it sure would be nice if Delaware had two Senators, like other states, instead of two puppets for Harry Reid.
I LOVE THE GUY...but even so, if he were as left-wing as Pelosi I’d be happy - the key was GETTING CANTOR OUT!!
That is what sent the FEAR OF GOD into the rest of the Republican Caucus...and like I said Tuesday night, other Republicans will now have to ask TWO QUESTIONS, instead of the usual “How’s the fund raising going”...now they’ll add “How are the phone calls running”.
This was a 9.0 earthquake to Republicans...FINALLY.
What has them really scared is that a senior House leader and likely successor to the House Speaker, with millions of dollars in campaign cash to his name, was toppled by some dude who spent less money on his campaign than he would have paid for some luxury cars.
Off hand, I’d say that seniors aren’t the major component of SSDI. In fact, isn’t one on SSDI transitioned to SS payments when they reach the correct age?
SSDI is largely a form of welfare that many seek under the guise of having some ‘disability’. You have to jump through a lot of hoops to get it, sometimes apply two - three times. That’s why you see so, so many lawyers on TV that will ‘help’ you get it. Bi-polar disorder is the malady du jour from what I’ve read.
Don’t get me wrong, there are legitimate disabilities and people with them on SSDI, but my impression is that they are few and the scammers are many. The payout for SSDI is larger than SS in most cases.
Last time I checked (a couple of years ago), both SSDI and SSI (SSA administers the welfare SSI) comprise nearly 25% of all SSA payouts. That’s huge.