CLASSY…. Yesterday, AFSCME and Americans United for Change unveiled a pretty good ad in support of the economic stimulus plan. The new national television spot tells viewers, “We’re in an economic crisis and Republican leaders are playing politics instead of doing what’s right. Call the Republican leadership; tell them ‘no’ is not an option.”

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who is featured in the pro-stimulus ad, responded today, sending journalists a video message.

Before you watch the video clip, please note, the Republican-endorsed video is filled with excessive profanity, and it is really not safe for work.

The video, sent around by Cantor’s office, is apparently intended as some kind of parody, using an AFSCME video from the 1970s, but with a new crass voice-over, intended to make unions look like mobbish goons. Greg Sargent transcribed some of the clip: “On your way to work tomorrow, instead of sittin’ around with your finger up your a**, look around. There’s a union out there called AFSCME and they’re busting’ their balls doing a lot of sh*t work you take for granted. For example, we pick up your f-kin’ garbage…. We don’t take sh*t from nobody. You got that, a**hole?”

Greg wasn’t the only journalist to receive this. When Glenn Thrush asked Cantor’s office for a reaction to the AFSCME/Americans United for Change ad, the Republican leader’s press secretary sent over the vulgar video. “You could post this as my response,” Cantor’s aide said.

I can’t help but be curious what the response would be if a member of the Democratic congressional leadership promoted a video attacking, say, Focus on the Family or the National Rifle Association with a profanity-laced video. I assume it would be a fairly big deal.

But putting that aside, I have to say, if this is the level of discourse the Republican leadership prefers, I don’t especially care. The video Cantor’s office is promoting makes the GOP leader look like a classless hack, unable to engage in a serious policy debate in a time of crisis. The truth is, however, I thought Cantor was a classless hack, unable to engage in a serious policy debate, before I saw this clip, so nothing’s really changed.

I do, however, have two questions. One, does anyone really expect President Obama to make headway negotiating with the Republican leadership when this is their level of discourse? And two, by the standards of the media establishment, will Cantor’s conduct carry any political consequences?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.