Now that he has won his primary battle with Eric Cantor, Tea Party favorite Dave Brat is attempting to portray himself as a mainstream Republican, telling the Washington Examiner in an interview on Wednesday that he “ran on the Republican creed” and on “Republican principles” which is why he appealed to the Tea Party since those were the principles that they believe in.
“I don’t think it’s 100 percent accurate — as I told you since Day One, I ran on the Republican creed and I ran on the Republican principles, and those principles are what matter. I obviously had huge Tea Party support and grassroots support because they believe in those principles.”
He went on to suggest that it was the national media that had labeled him as “Tea Partier Dave” because they want to put everyone “into little cubbyholes” rather than take the time to learn what they are all about. It was this labeling and classification he says which was responsible for the poor reviews of his interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC the day after the primary.
“I gave very extensive remarks for an extended time on complex issues,” Brat told the interviewer, “and somebody over there decided to splice it up into a ten-second sound bite and say that I wouldn’t answer questions. And that’s false … The media does play a vital role in our democracy, and if we cannot depend on journalistic ethics, the nation’s in trouble.”
If that telephone interview was edited into ten second sound bites, it was done more skillfully than any in the history of television. t appears to be a live interview with no editing at all and Mr. Brat did not balk at answering questions for the first five minutes. After he went into a convoluted explanation of how wages are distorted and that those working for minimum wage are actually being overpaid. He balked at being drawn into commenting on foreign policy trying to avoid any further slips of the tongue.
Now that he has the nomination, Brat finds himself in the same situation that Mitt Romney did in 2012, having been forced so far to the right in order to win the support of the Tea Party. Now it’s going to be difficult to sell himself to the general electorate as a more middle of the road candidate, someone in tune with the majority.
For that reason we will continue to see Brat and other Tea Party candidates issuing disclaimers,distancing themselves from the Tea Party and its extreme views all the while leaving us to wonder, who the real Dave Brat is. Was he lying to the Tea Partiers to get their votes, or is he lying to the more moderate factions now to get their votes?