House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) spoke this morning at the right-wing Value Voters Summit in D.C., and as best as I can tell, became the first congressional Republican leader to condemn the burgeoning Occupy Wall Street movement.

“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.”

Cantor was, it’s worth noting, reading from a prepared text. He didn’t just blurt this out without having thought it through.

At this point two years ago, Republicans quickly became outraged if Democrats dared to criticize so-called “Tea Party” activists. After all, how could Dems have the audacity to disparage law-abiding Americans speaking out against abuses that offend them? How could Democrats have the gall to condemn sincere patriots who want to have their voices heard?

Two years later, Cantor is entirely comfortable chastising Americans who disagree with his failed, regressive economic vision as a “mob.” How tolerant of him.

But just as important is this notion that progressive activists are “pitting of Americans against Americans.” I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but I suspect the oft-confused Majority Leader believes it’s divisive to support economic justice, to demand tax fairness, and to expect responsible corporate conduct.

This isn’t just wrong; it’s intellectually lazy and poorly thought out. Is it “pitting Americans against Americans” when Cantor and his cohorts to go after Planned Parenthood, its employees, and its patients? Is it “pitting Americans against Americans” when Cantor and his ilk go after unions, school teachers, and trial lawyers? Is it “pitting Americans against Americans” when Cantor and his party blast scientists, economists, journalists, community organizers, and advocates for the poor? Is it “pitting Americans against Americans” when Cantor and the Republican Party tell the unemployed to fend for themselves and urge families in poverty to suck it up while the GOP cuts taxes for the wealthy again?

Or does the dimwitted Majority Leader believe “pitting Americans against Americans” is fine just so long as the Republican Party doesn’t like the Americans on the receiving end of the criticism?

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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.