Politico’s Jake Sherman wrote yesterday: “Eric Cantor is a rising star in national politics, but here at home he’s at the center of a battle with fellow Republicans.”
Cantor is 51 years old. He has held elective office since 1992. And yet, like John Edwards and Scott Brown, he is one of those politicians who is forever described in terms of his future rather than his past, a permanent “rising star.” Which makes him a great test case for a question that has long needled at me: For how long are Washington journalists willing to hype the future careers of politicians who fascinate them? How long can a politician last as a “rising star” before cognitive dissonance and sheer exhaustion set in?
April 27, 2014: “Eric Cantor is a rising star in national politics …” —Politico
February 13, 2013: “Three of the GOP’s rising stars — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida — have all recently tried to guide their party in new directions.” —U.S. News and World Report
August 7, 2012: “Leader Cantor is truly a rising star in the party.” —Huntsville Times
July 13, 2011: “Eric Cantor, a big rising star in the party …” —CNN
August 2, 2010: “Minority whip Cantor is a rising star in his party …” —The Atlantic
November 3, 2009: “Congressman Eric Cantor, thank you. I mean, one of the real rising stars in the Republican Party. I think he’s gonna be one of the leaders of the country some day.” —Chris Matthews, MSNBC
November 20, 2008: “Rep Eric Cantor, who is considered a rising star in his party …” —The New York Times
October 28, 2006: “Also worth watching in the leadership contests is a pair of younger rising stars: Chief Deputy Majority Whip Eric Cantor,
R-Va., and GOP Policy Committee Chairman Adam Putnam, R-Fla.” —National Journal
February 2, 2006: “Representative Eric Cantor is an anomaly: a Jewish Republican from Virginia and a rising star in his party’s troubled House ranks …” —CNN
November 20, 2004: “Eric Cantor of Virginia is a rising star.” —David Brooks, The New York Times
November 17, 2004: Your colleague, Eric Cantor, from a real rising star, brilliant guy.” —Paul Begala, CNN’s Crossfire
August 14, 2001: “Most observers really see Eric as a rising star.” —The Jerusalem Post
There you have it: Eric Cantor has been a rising star for 12 and a half years. Which means at least three things: (1) Cantor’s clock has got to be ticking; (2) Politico’s sense of who is on the rise in Washington lags more than a decade behind the Jerusalem Post’s; and (3) We are likely to be hearing about T.W. Shannon for a very, very, very long time.