CANTOR CHOOSES NOT TO CELEBRATE GOOD NEWS…. President Obama has spent a fair amount of time the last couple of weeks talking up the rejuvenation of the American auto industry. There’s obviously some political elements to the effort — the White House wants to emphasize good economic news where it can be found, and more importantly, it wants to remind the public that at a moment of crisis last year, Obama was right about the industry rescue and Republicans were wrong.

With that in mind, the president visited a Ford plant in Illinois yesterday, and continued to tout the success story. A Democratic official alerted me to an inexplicable reaction from House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

“So as President Obama prepares to take another victory lap, who exactly is President Obama celebrating with?” asked a statement issued by the office of Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip.

I don’t know, Eric, shouldn’t you be celebrating with him?

Look, I know it’s an election season, and I know Eric Cantor isn’t the sharpest crayon in the box. But the easiest, most basic form of patriotism is taking at least some pleasure when good things happen to your country.

In this case, thanks to the Obama administration, the industry has added 55,000 jobs — the best growth in the industry in over a decade. All three American automakers are operating at a profit for the first time since 2004.

Sure, Republicans don’t want to talk about this — in part because good news interferes with their election strategy, and in part because this progress wouldn’t have happened if they were in charge last year. Indeed, if we’d listened to Cantor and his cohorts, the American auto industry would be left in shambles, hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost, and the backbone of American manufacturing would have been broken. At a moment of crisis, Republicans had it backwards.

But that’s no excuse for Cantor’s petty partisanship. Who is President Obama celebrating with? The workers who have jobs that would have been lost, the plants that are humming that would have been shut down, the regional economies that couldn’t have sustained another hit, and the entire industry that would have very likely collapsed were it not for Obama’s intervention.

The question isn’t why the president is celebrating good news; the question is why Eric Cantor chooses not to.

Republicans rooting for American failure is unseemly. I’d hoped Cantor & Co. realized that by now.

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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.