House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is speaking out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to the thousands of Americans taking to the streets for the Occupy Wall Street movement, the White House said Friday.
Cantor weighed in on the growing Occupy Wall Street movement in a speech to the social conservatives at the 2011 Values Voter Summit in Washington.
“I for one am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country,” he said.
Uh, excuse me? White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in the briefing today.
“I sense a little hypocrisy unbound here—what we’re seeing on the streets of New York is a an expression of democracy,” Cantor said. “I think I remember how Mr. cantor described protests of the tea party—I can’t understand how one man’s mob is another man’s democracy.”
Cantor, of course, was an ardent supporter of the tea party, praising its protests and rabble-rousing.
But Carney’s view of Cantor’s attack on the idea of protest movement is not the only hypocritical-sounding thing Cantor said when addressing Occupy Wall Street at VVS.
“Believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans,” Cantor said after he condemned the protests as mobs. That comment appeared to pick up on the “class warfare” meme Republicans are using to attack President Obama’s jobs bill.
Back in April, Cantor appeared on CNBC to decry the number of Americans who don’t pay income taxes due to their low incomes. And while talking about tax policy, he suggested it was time those poorer people paid up.
“[W]hen you see these special interest loopholes and deductions and the rest, we’ve got to get rid of those, sure, because we want to bring down the rates for everybody,” Cantor said. “But we also have a situation in this country where you’re nearing 50 percent of people who don’t even pay income taxes.”
The line is a common one among Republicans these days, and critics have seen it as an attack on the poor by leaders of the GOP. Or, to put it another way, those critics see it as pitting one group of Americans (the poor) against another (the rich).