Appearing today on Fox News Sunday, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) finally revealed just how extreme a GOP candidate needs to be in order to be rejected by their party leadership. Reacting to Ohio GOP Congressional candidate Rich Iott’s membership in a Nazi reenactment group that “salute[s]” Nazi sympathizers who viewed the Third Reich as “the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life,” Cantor expressly repudiated Iott’s candidacy in an exchange with Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL):
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You have one candidate in Ohio who actually thinks it’s a good bonding experience to reenact Nazi battles with his son. [...]
CANTOR: Now Debbie went and launched into her attacks as to some of the reports about some of the candidates that are running, particularly the one in Ohio having to do with a Nazi reenactment. She knows that I would absolutely repudiate that and do not support an individual that would do something like that.
WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: Well you haven’t.
CANTOR: I’m doing it right here.
Cantor did the right thing by repudiating Iott, but his decision to do so is surprising in light of the fact that Cantor and other GOP leaders have consistently refused to denounce the most extreme right-wing candidates in this election cycle. Here are just a few examples of the kind of radical views that are perfectly at home in today’s Republican Party:
- Eliminating Medicare” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, proposed phasing-out Medicare by replacing the entire Medicare program with a privatized voucher system and then having that voucher gradually decrease in value over time. Yet Republicans have kept Ryan as their chief budget policymaker in the House, and Cantor even co-authored a book touting himself and Ryan as the party’s new “Young Guns.” Some Republican candidates have even claimed that Medicare is unconstitutional.
- Privatizing Social Security: Countless GOP lawmakers and candidates — including Republican budget chief Ryan — want to privatize Social Security, even though privatization imposes significant new risks on seniors, creates new administrative costs, forces benefit reductions, and costs more money than the present system. Some of these candidates also believe that Social Security is unconstitutional.
- Tearing Up The Constitution: Beyond the fringe claims that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, leading GOPers have embraced repealing the Constitution’s grant of citizenship to all children born in the United States, repealing the constitutional right to elect your own senators, and one leading GOP Senate candidate claimed that it is unconstitutional for the United States to belong to the United Nations.
- Former Witches Against Masturbation: The National Republican Senatorial Committee even cut a $42,000 check to Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, an anti-masturbation activist who “dabbled into witchcraft” and who wants to stop the “whole country from having sex.”
Lest there be any confusion about what positions GOP candidates are allowed to embrace, ThinkProgress is happy to provide this handy chart explaining which stances the GOP does and does not view as too extreme: