I noted on Sunday that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had not only been booed in his home district, but his ally had been ousted as the chairman of the 7th District Republican Committee. Clearly, the natives are getting restless. Jenna Portnoy and Robert Costa think that Cantor’s primary challenger, Prof. David Brat, is gaining momentum, and John Fund reports that Prof. Brat will be attending Grover Norquist’s infamous Wednesday meeting today to make connections with key conservatives.

Fund also notes that Tea Party-types had a decent evening last night in West Virginia and Nebraska. In West Virginia’s Second District, the Republican candidate will be Alex Mooney, a transplant from Maryland who moved to West Virginia (he says) for the freedom. In Nebraska’s Second District, incumbent Lee Terry barely survived a Tea Party challenge from businessman Dan Frei, who carried over 47% of the vote.

These results help explain why John Boehner agreed to create a Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks. It’s the same motivation that led him to acquiesce to a government shutdown. Eli Lake explains:

Boehner’s calculation was, in part, political, according to one House Republican aide. The Speaker was looking to mollify the Tea Party faction of his caucus who were upset with him about a range of issues from the federal budget to immigration reform.

“There is a whole combination of factors here,” this aide said. “You have the email. But remember Boehner has also gotten a lot of resistance from House Republicans on immigration. He wanted to turn the page on this.” This aide said that Boehner’s view was that, “OK, I am giving you guys this committee, now it’s on you to make this work.”

But, remember how that government shutdown worked out:

Boehner recalled the government shutdown in October, blaming conservative activists who he said “pushed us into this fight to defund ObamaCare and shut down the government.”

The day before the government reopened, he said, “one of these groups stood up and said, well, we never really thought it would work.”

“Are you kidding me?!” Boehner asked.

YouTube video

Apparently, Boehner is not a quick learner.

[Cross-posted at Booman Tribune]

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com