They held the same job — House Republican Whip — at a time when Democrats controlled the White House and commanded a large congressional majority. So the New York Times is comparing Eric Cantor to Newt Gingrich, noting that the only Jewish Republican in the House is using the former speaker as a role model:
Mr. Cantor said he had studied Mr. Gingrich’s years in power and had been in regular touch with him as he sought to help his party find the right tone and message. Indeed, one of Mr. Gingrich’s leading victories in unifying his caucus against Mr. Clinton’s package of tax increases to balance the budget in 1993 has been echoed in the events of the last few weeks.
“I talk to Newt on a regular basis because he was in the position that we are in: in the extreme minority,” he said.
But it does note the big differences in style and temperment between the two men:
Mr. Cantor is certainly different from Mr. Gingrich in some significant ways. “He’s not Newt — giving off sparks every 15 seconds,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, an influential conservative group. “While I never bought the criticism of Newt that being an ideas factory meant he suffered from A.D.D. — I think it was an unfair rap on him — to his advantage, Cantor is seen as both an ideas person and steady and stable.”
Beyond that, friends of both say that Mr. Gingrich is more intellectually adventurous than Mr. Cantor, but also more prone to overreach.
The article also points out that two of the most prominent faces of the GOP come from the two minority groups that are most solidly Democratic:
[Cantor] is the only Jewish Republican in the House. This has created a thoroughly unlikely circumstance for the Republican Party, given that its other most prominent face these days is the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, the first African-American to hold the post.