CANTOR CAN’T CLAIM CREDIT…. In February, there were a few Republican lawmakers who claimed credit for spending projects in the stimulus bill they opposed. It was more than a little awkward — lawmakers usually don’t take credit for legislation they reject.

As spending increases, and new projects get underway, we may soon see more of this. Take House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), for example.

Rep. Eric I. Cantor, the House minority whip, led House GOP opposition to President Barack Obama’s $740 billion [sic] stimulus program.

Yesterday, though, the Henrico County Republican said bringing high-speed rail to the region could further spur economic development, creating as many as 185,000 jobs and bringing $21.2 billion to a region already home to about a half-dozen Fortune 500 companies and 20,000 small businesses.

“If there is one thing that I think all of us here on both sides of the political aisle from all parts of the region agree with, it’s that we need to do all we can to promote jobs here in the Richmond area,” Cantor said.

You’ve got to be kidding me. Eric Cantor was arguably the leading Republican critic of the economic recovery package. He not only publicly mocked government funding for high-speed rail, Cantor also rejected the very idea that government spending could generate economic growth.

Now, however, thanks to a spending bill Cantor fought to kill, there may be money available for HSR connecting Richmond to D.C. Cantor is all for it, despite the fact that if it were up to him, the money wouldn’t exist. (Indeed, it wouldn’t even be a possibility until 2014, since Cantor wants to improve the economy by way of an insane five-year spending freeze.)

Cantor’s hope, in other words, is that his constituents just aren’t paying attention to what their elected representative is up to on the Hill. He goes to work and fights against government spending on HSR, and the notion that more spending can lead to more jobs. Cantor then heads home and says the opposite.

It’s one of those truths I think all of us here on both sides of the political aisle should agree with.

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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.