Cantor Elected House Minority Whip
It may have been the worst kept secret in Washington, but today local congressman Eric Cantor was officially elected to the position of Republican House Whip by his GOP peers. This makes him the second most powerful republican member of the House of Representatives. He is the first Virginian from either party to hold this position.
Now the actual “power” associated with this position from a parliamentary perspective is actually quite limited, given the overwhelming democratic majority in the House. However, what it does offer Cantor is an incredible bully pulpit to be the voice of the minority in a democrat-dominated Washington, D.C..
If Rep. Cantor can use his opportunities correctly (something he has shown a savvy ability to do in the past), he could quickly become a popular voice for the opposition. As Republican prospects improve, because at this point they can’t get any worse, he will be in a perfect position to take the credit for the next republican revolution.
Those close to Cantor have long said that his ultimate goal is to be Speaker of the House. If the republicans ever regain control of the house it will take some time and you would be hard pressed to find a republican congressman in a better position to take advantage of that situation.
The downfall to this new responsibility is the role that the whip plays with his congressional colleagues. The whip is responsible for rounding up votes and pressing hard on members to vote the way leadership wants. This often heavy-handed responsibility can turn off rank and file members and make life difficult when you are attempting to garner votes to take over leadership. It will be dicey waters that Cantor will have to navigate, but something he appears willing to take on.