Friday, September 21, 2012

Republican Contempt For The Working Class

Michael Kingsley famously defined a "gaffe" as when a politician unwittingly tells the truth. And the truth behind Mitt Romney's "47%" gaffe, Paul Krugman writes, is that Romney and his party have nothing but contempt for the working class:

Needless to say, the G.O.P.’s disdain for workers goes deeper than rhetoric. It’s deeply embedded in the party’s policy priorities. Mr. Romney’s remarks spoke to a widespread belief on the right that taxes on working Americans are, if anything, too low. Indeed, The Wall Street Journal famously described low-income workers whose wages fall below the income-tax threshold as “lucky duckies.”

What really needs cutting, the right believes, are taxes on corporate profits, capital gains, dividends, and very high salaries — that is, taxes that fall on investors and executives, not ordinary workers. This despite the fact that people who derive their income from investments, not wages — people like, say, Willard Mitt Romney — already pay remarkably little in taxes. 

The Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Ayn Rand. In the past there were Republicans who had workers' interests at heart. And, even those Republicans who had nothing in common with working men and women, Krugman writes,

knew enough to keep it to themselves and managed to fake some appreciation for ordinary workers. At this point, however, the party’s contempt for the working class is apparently too complete, too pervasive to hide.

Lincoln's concept of government and his party have been corrupted by big money. Today's Republicans are "a party of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy, a party that considers the rest of us unworthy of even a pretense of respect." 

This entry is cross posted at The Moderate Voice.


Anonymous said...

Agree, the party of Lincoln has clearly become the party of Ayn Rand.

The sad thing, however, is that Romney will still keep the votes of most of the people he had insulted. Here is my thinking. First, among the 47%, there are the 4000 households which made over $1M, and the 15000 households which made over $500K last year but did not pay any federal taxes. These people will still vote for him because they are angry that Obama will increase the taxes on household incomes over $250K.

Second, many of the seniors among the 47% who already vote Republican likely have convinced themselves that he is referring to the other people (immigrants, minorities) as parasites, not themselves (even though they are taking foodstamps --- did you hear about the guy CNN, I think, interviewed who said that he was insulted, admitted he had used foodstamps but it wasn't his fault, and that he would still vote for Romney)?

Third, the rest of the 47% are either disabled veterans or families with lower incomes who were able to use legal taxbreaks to reduce their federal taxes to zero. In Canada, many of the latter would be the Timmies crowd, the sort of people in my estimation who want the benefits but do not want to pay for them. They are also likely not bright enough to figure out that people like Romney will cut taxes for the wealthy which will ultimately result in cutting services/jobs (as is happening here in Canada).

Having said that, I do believe that Obama will win unless for some inexplicable reason he completely trips up in the debates.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that there are lots of people who will vote for Romney, even though it is not in their interest to do so, Anon.

Unfortunately, if you dumb down the electorate enough, they will see you as a savior.

One hopes that the Obama campaign will not be sabotaged by less than stellar job reports.

lungta said...

Diebold will determine the results of the election
and by determine i mean ....determine
I expect a razor thin stunning victory ....
and a thousand pundits dissecting the psychology of voters who "voted" that way
I loved the john stewart moment of zen clip where the republican hollywood actor is shown quoting
"I was on welfare and food stamps once and did anyone help me????....NO!!!"

Owen Gray said...

I, too, think it will be close, lungta. Those Republican ads may be more influential than some people think.

A lot is also going to depend on who wins both houses of congress.

Lorne said...

Sadly, Owen, what has happened to the Republican Party in the U.S. is the same thing that has happened to the conservative movement in Canada, with, I think, very similar voting patterns.

I have always been puzzled by why people vote against their own best interests. Is it political ignorance, or is it, as Steinbeck said, the dispossessed often regard themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires?

Owen Gray said...

I think Steinbeck was on to something, Lorne. But even embarrassed millionaires should be able to recognize a bald faced lie.

If there is any hope, it is in refusing to let the lies these people tell go unchallenged.

kirbycairo said...

The saddest part of the whole affair was expressed by a commentator on one of the news sites I was looking at. The commentator pointed out that it is kind of silly for the Republicans to want to win the presidency since most of the legislation that has passed in the passed four years has been theirs anyway and with Obama in the White House they can blame all the problems on him. With Republicans in the White House they won't have anyone to blame.

It is sad that despite his rhetoric Obama has been a remarkably rightwing president. He let Wall St. get away with everything and has done surprisingly little for the working people. It is a little bit like the situation in Canada in which the Liberals really gave birth to most of the policies of Harper and have tried (largely in vain) to act like they are still the party of Trudeau.

I almost have a morbid desire to see Romney win so it will be more difficult for the forces of evil to hide. I guess they used to call that 'revolutionary defeatism."

lungta said...

Sorry Owen
By diebold determining the election i was referring to the endless documentation of rigging the vote with diebold voting machines.
Mitt was rumored to have attended bilderberg this year as Obama did before his election and Harper did too actually before his election.
The Obamas just purchased the huge retirement house in Hawaii...possession date in January.
I think it has more to do with what they do in that realm than what they say out here.
The ads ,the votes, the pundits the speeches, the infighting are just part of the spectacle...a diversion really...entertainment like hockey or football or all star wrestling.
The .001% wouldn't put their future in the hands of voters or they might ...both have been informed.

Owen Gray said...

Your comment echoes what Chris Hedges says in The Death of the Liberal Class, Kirby.

Most decisions come down to choosing between the greater and the lesser evil. Despite Obama's failings, it pretty clear which candidate represents the greater evil

Owen Gray said...

The home in Hawaii at this time shows a tin ear -- like Romney's tin ear, lungta.

It's smacks of that word entitlement -- not the entitlement that Romney talks of, but the entitlement that Bill Clinton talked of -- "because I can."

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog for years. I've never said, "Thank you very much for the time and attention that you play to keep a top quality blog."

Thank you

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for your comment. I don't expect everyone to agree with me. But it's nice to know that there are readers who enjoy reading Northern Reflections.

Anonymous said...

Umm add this to the fray Jon Stewart:]

??? Why is it that the comedians can call it so well? And the MSM is a part of the bs mountain...

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Anon, I get a message which says the clip is not available from my location.

Perhaps there is another way to get at the clip.