The Republican Jewish Coalition threw a party tonight honoring Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) who is hours away from becoming the most senior Jewish official in U.S. history — majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The joint — actually, the Capital Grille (some joint!) — was packed, and would have been even without the massive RJC ice sculpture dominating the proceedings. I’m holding out for the NJDC (What are we) chopped liver sculpture if the Democrats win back the House.
There were lots of VIPs from the GOP, including two presidential possibles: Newt Gingrich and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). Judging by the photo requests I witnessed, Thune has this crowd, although Gingrich wasn’t doing too shabbily.
Democrats were not absent: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), reportedly considering a return to the Democratic fold for his 2012 run, got a warm welcome — and also took a little flak from at least one donor to his 2006 campaign for successfully shepherding the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal through the last Congress’ final hours. Robert Wexler, former (D-Fla.), now running the Center for Middle East Peace, was also in attendance.
RJC officials waxed triumphant, understandably, given the November shellacking — "in just a few hours we will going back to some sanity," director Matt Brooks said.
Cantor, befitting his new role, was less partisan, noting that his rise should give succor to everyone with ambition, Republican, Democrat, Jewish, Christian — in America, "it doesn’t matter where you come from," you can go anywhere.
His focus otherwise was on shrinking government and keeping American and Israel secure. The United States, "frankly has allowed for the safety and security of Israel."
Charmingly, Cantor called out props to former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman. "We miss you in the Republican Jewish caucus," Cantor said. "We’re still hoping for some company."
The entire Republican Jewish caucus remains, of course, Eric Cantor — although Randy Altschuler came close to doubling it in New York-1 (the Hamptons to you, bub.)