Hypocrisy Share Values Soar as Tea Party Republicans Accuse Occupy Wall Street of ‘Dividing Americans’

Hypocrisy Share Values Soar as Tea Party Republicans Accuse Occupy Wall Street of ‘Dividing Americans’

Hypocrisy Share Values Soar as Tea Party Republicans Accuse Occupy Wall Street of ‘Dividing Americans’

The No. 2 Republican in the House rose to power on the strength of the Tea Party phenomenon, which parlayed divisiveness into big political advances in 2010. Now, he attacks “Occupy Wall Street” for dividing Americans against Americans.


If share values could be devised for hypocrisy, Eric Cantor’s would be soaring.
When Tea Party activists swarmed Washington, DC, in 2009, the Virginia congressman hailed them with “fighting” words.
>Now, however, the No. 2 Republican in the House is attacking the Occupy Wall Street movement for pitting “Americans against Americans.”

Cantor’s not the only protest hypocrite. Republican presidential contender Herman Cain, a Tea Party favorite known for his anti-Muslim rants, is attacking Occupy Wall Street protests as “Un-American.” Rush Limbaugh is condemning the demonstrators as “parasites.”

But it is Cantor who is cornering the hypocrisy market.

From the stage at the September 12, 2009,  Taxpayer March on Washington rally that was organized by Tea Party groups rally near the nation’s Capitol, the House Republican Whip told the Tea Partisans that they were  “fighting on the fighting lines of what we know is a battle for our democracy.”

“Fighting on the fighting lines” would seem to qualify as classic fighting words. And that was hardly the only instance where Cantor, now the number-two Republican in House, employed divisive, us-versus-them language in talking up the Tea Party movement. He regularly referred to the Tea Party as “the tip of the spear” in the fight against the Obama administration, Democrats in the Congress and liberal ideas in general.

The Tea Partisans certainly saw things that way. Posters compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler. They employed the Iraq War terminology of “shock and awe” to describe their approach to lobbying. A few months later, when the Tea Partisans returned to Capitol Hill, the Washington Post reported: “Members of the Congressional Black Caucus said that racial epithets were hurled at them Saturday by angry protesters who had gathered at the Capitol to protest health-care legislation, and one congressman said he was spit upon. The most high-profile openly gay congressman, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), was heckled with anti-gay chants.”

Cantor continued to hail the Tea Party.

Now, however, as the Occupy Wall Street movement grows, Cantor is complaining.

He specifically refers to the crowds on Wall Street as “mobs,” and suggests they are mounting “assaults on many of our nation’s bedrock principles.”

Why? Because they are “pitting Americans against Americans.”

And, of course, he decries the handful of Democratic officials who have expressed solidarity with a movement that has far, far less to do with the Democratic Party than the Tea Party did with the Republicans. While some Tea Partisans were mildly critical of the GOP, they always reserved their harshest criticism for Obama and the Democrats. The Occupy Wall Street movement tends to condemn both parties, and Obama does not get much more slack than Cantor from those rallying against the corporate control of the Democrats and the Republicans.

So how, exactly, does Cantor get off saying things like this at the conservative Value Voters Summit? “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.”

That’s easy. Unlike the Occupy Wall Street activists, who are more than ready to criticize both parties, and who are attracting interest and support from across the political spectrum (welcoming Ron Paul supporters to their events across the country), Cantor is a Triple A-rated, high-value hypocrite.

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Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

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