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Post Partisan
Posted at 05:00 PM ET, 10/07/2011

Eric Cantor’s breathtaking hypocrisy on Occupy Wall Street


Speaking at the Values Voters Summit in Washington this morning, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) made an assertion that was breathtaking in its hypocrisy.


This administration’s failed policies have resulted in an assault on many of our nation’s bedrock principles. If you read the newspapers today, I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country. And believe it or not, some in this town, have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans....

Pitting Americans against Americans? That’s the phrase that sent me into full conniption. You’ll understand after you watch extol the virtues of the Tea Party movement in this interview Cantor did with Don Imus on Fox Business on Nov. 10, 2010. It is but one of many examples.


(1:48) Don Imus: Wouldn’t it be fair to suggest, though, that the Tea Party is more than just a few nuts with funny signs and funny hats. It represents the sentiment of most people who were upset with what was going on, don’t you think? I mean, even people identify with them, they might not identify themselves as a Tea Partyer, but they certainly share the same concerns and feelings they do. That’s fair, isn’t it?
Cantor: I think so. They’re like the tip of the spear about the frustration. Remember, Tea Party, the acronym is Taxed Enough Already. People are tired of seeing...Washington balloon and the federal government grow in every aspect of our lives. And enough is enough....
(3:00) Cantor: Tea Party is an organic movement. This is not some movement that started in Washington. It’s about the people. And that’s what, I think, the message from this election is about. Get the government in D.C. working for the people again and not the other way around.  
(6:54) Cantor: I think the Tea Party has a lot to do with the energy that came out at the polls because they’re like the tip of the spear. They represent and reflect the frustration that Americans have at what’s going on in Washington.

There are many more examples of Cantor’s selective support of grassroots movements. On Sept. 12, 2009, “mobs” of Tea Partyers swarmed Washington and marched on the Capitol to protest President Obama and his policies, from bailouts to health care reform.

What did Cantor think about this? Here's what Dave Weigel, writing for the Washington Independent at the time, reported:

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) praised the protesters from the stage for “fighting on the fighting lines of what we know is a battle for our democracy.” After his speech, he told TWI that the protests represented an “awakening in America.”
“People are beginning to wake up and see a country they don’t really recognize,” said Cantor.

What Cantor refuses to see is that the people participating in Occupy Wall Street-style protests around the country also represent an awakening in America. Seeing the similarities in the grievances held by the Occupy Wall Streeters and the Tea Party movement, Mark from Ohio explained to me in a letter this week, “Both see corruption in high places — corporations and government — and those two areas are so closely aligned, that I don’t think there is really much of a difference between criticizing the tyranny of corrupt government and the tyranny of corrupt corporations.”

That Cantor would denigrate this new wave of Americans exercising their rights to demonstrate against government and Wall Street is as insulting as it is outrageous.

More on Occupy Wall St. from PostOpinions

Milbank: Can Occupy Wall St. rescue Obama?

Dionne: End of the conservative resurgence

Meyerson: Saving America from Wall St.

Ehrenreich: The rich are being ‘demonized’. Poor things.

By  |  05:00 PM ET, 10/07/2011

 
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