(for aficionados of French history)
During the French Revolution, the Jacobins, members of a radical political group that ruled during the French Revolution, favored changing France from a monarchy to a democratic republic. The Jacobins took power in 1793, with Maximilien Robespierre the leader.
The group then launched the Reign of Terror, which hunted down and sentenced thousands to the guillotine, including Marie Antoinette, widow of King Louis XVI, who had previously lost his head.
But the French Revolution began eating its own. After sending many people to the guillotine, Robespierre then suffered the fate that he bestowed on so many others, and lost his head to the chopping block.
More than 200 years late, Eric Cantor has suffered a similar destiny, although he merely lost an election and his political position rather than his noggin. Cantor nurtured a group of GOP revolutionaries that pushed moderates from the party and moved it further and further to the right.
Refusing to work with Democrats and the Obama Administration, Cantor and his allies rebuffed efforts to raise the U.S. federal debt ceiling, closed the government, and marginalized dissidents within the House GOP. Confrontation became the order of the day.
But the Tea Party Republicans came to view Cantor as the embodiment of the hated Republican establishment. The Majority Leader who had done so much to change the House of Representatives and make Congress an institution that cannot pass much legislation, now had to be changed.
The voters in his district, by a 56%-44% margin, decided Cantor’s time had come. Robespierre would have understood.