Don’t folks usually like ‘underdogs’?

DON’T FOLKS USUALLY LIKE ‘UNDERDOGS’?…. Over the summer, as Supreme Court confirmation hearings got underway for Elena Kagan, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) launched a lengthy broadside against former Justice Thurgood Marshall, Kagan’s hero.

“[W]hen [Kagan] was working in the Clinton administration,” Kyl complained, “she encouraged a colleague working on a speech about Justice Marshall to emphasize his unshakable determination to protect the underdog.”

This was intended as criticism. The idea of Marshall protecting the underdog was a concept Kyl found so troubling, it became part of his initial criticism of Kagan’s record.

Three months later, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was asked why Jewish voters tend to vote Democratic.

Mr. Cantor believes the American-Jewish community is overwhelmingly Democratic because Jews “are prone to want to help the underdog.”

In a general sense, Cantor’s assessment of Jewish voters’ motivations may very well be true.

But I’m curious — why are Republicans not prone to want to help the underdog? Between Cantor and Kyl, should the public begin to think that a vote for Democrats is a vote for underdogs?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.