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Tue Feb 14, 2012, 10:36 AM

Poor, White, and Republican

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/02/poor-white-and-republican.html

F.D.R. called him “the forgotten man,” but that was long ago. By 1972, he was a member of the silent majority and had become a Democrat for Nixon (he wore a hard hat with an American-flag sticker). 1980 produced the Reagan Democrat (this time he came from Macomb County, Michigan, and was discovered by the pollster Stan Greenberg). By 1994 he had curdled into the Angry White Male (he elected the Gingrich Congress). In 2008, he was simply the working-class white—by then he was no longer forgotten, and no longer a Democrat of any kind; he was a member of the much-analyzed Republican base. The television godfather of the type, of course, is Archie Bunker, but you can also trace his lineage more darkly through the string of hard-bitten blue-collar movies that begins with “Joe” (Peter Boyle, 1970), goes on to “Falling Down” (Michael Douglas, 1993), “Gran Torino” (Clint Eastwood, 2008), and, in a rural context, “Winter’s Bone” (2010). He’s a descendant of the thirties Everyman played by Henry Fonda and Gary Cooper, except that in the intervening decades he lost his idealism and grew surly, if not violent, consumed with a hatred of hippies, immigrants, blacks, government, and, finally, himself.

This election year, he’s back and getting a lot of attention from sociologists and pundits (Charles Murray’s new book “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010” sparked the current flurry of commentary). But in 2012 he’s no longer even working class. He’s fallen through the last restraints of decency and industriousness, down into the demoralized and pathological underclass that, in the past, Americans associated with the black poor. There, he lives on disability, is no longer fit for employment nor has any impulse to get a job, is divorced, fathers illegitimate children who grow up to do the same, gets hooked on meth or prescription drugs, does time in prison now and then, and has bad teeth.

Is it useful to make generalizations about whole classes of people? We all know the reasons why it’s not—they stoke prejudice, crush nuance, distort reality, are unkind and unfair. But just as it was wrong for a generation of liberals to reject Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s notorious 1965 report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” it would be a mistake to dismiss the subject of Murray’s new book simply because it insults half of the Americans who weren’t already tarred by “The Bell Curve.” Murray has a talent for raising important questions on the way to arriving at invidious answers.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/02/poor-white-and-republican.html#ixzz1mN3lRi00

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply Poor, White, and Republican (Original post)
xchrom Feb 2012 OP
CanonRay Feb 2012 #1
n2doc Feb 2012 #2
Liberal Gramma Feb 2012 #3
Bozita Feb 2012 #7
valerief Feb 2012 #8
TBF Feb 2012 #15
Lucky Luciano Feb 2012 #17
tblue37 Feb 2012 #5
jayschool Feb 2012 #14
tblue37 Feb 2012 #31
Zookeeper Feb 2012 #21
tblue37 Feb 2012 #30
Zookeeper Feb 2012 #32
tblue37 Feb 2012 #36
pscot Feb 2012 #29
jwirr Feb 2012 #6
qb Feb 2012 #4
craigmatic Feb 2012 #9
Auggie Feb 2012 #12
Blue_Tires Feb 2012 #10
Amonester Feb 2012 #19
Zookeeper Feb 2012 #23
xmas74 Feb 2012 #11
Recoverin_Republican Feb 2012 #13
raging_moderate Feb 2012 #16
Bozita Feb 2012 #18
Amonester Feb 2012 #20
Zookeeper Feb 2012 #24
Alcibiades Feb 2012 #28
Doctor_J Feb 2012 #35
eridani Feb 2012 #22
Doctor_J Feb 2012 #34
eridani Feb 2012 #25
jvii Feb 2012 #26
kemah Feb 2012 #27
Doctor_J Feb 2012 #33

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 01:08 PM

1. Sounds like half the men in my county

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 01:33 PM

2. One wonders what will happen

If the repubs really do get enough power to eliminate the programs their supporters depend on. But then again 2002-2006 they had that power and didn't use it. They seem to be content to try and get Obama to do the dirty work for them so that the democrats can be blamed, yet again.

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Response to n2doc (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 01:48 PM

3. A wedge issue loses its power if it's resolved.

Same reason that they haven't been interested in banning abortion completely whenever they're in control--because an issue that's been resolved doesn't fire up the voters and that's the whole aim of the wedge issue.

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Response to Liberal Gramma (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 02:41 PM

7. +1!

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Response to Liberal Gramma (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 03:24 PM

8. That's it! nt

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Response to Liberal Gramma (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 09:16 PM

15. Excellent response. nt

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Response to Liberal Gramma (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 10:48 PM

17. A very good point. nt

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Response to n2doc (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 02:19 PM

5. The hardline Republican governors (Brownback, Walker, Scott, Daniels, etc.)

are using their power to get rid of the programs that their working class supporters depend on, and it is creating a lot of confusion among those supporters. They notice that they are under attack, but they still can't seem to direct their anger effectively at those who are actually attacking them. Even a lot of the wealthier Republicans are dismayed at Republcian policies, but they cannot let go of their identification with "their" team, even when that team is destroying everything.

The owner of our local newspaper here in Lawrence, Kansas, rails constantly against Brownback for slashing essential programs and for trying to restructure both the tax code and several state agencies (like HHS) in ways that will really screw those who depend on them. Also, Brownback made Kansas the first state in the union to completely defund arts programs--thus causing Kansas to lose over a million dollars in federal matching funds. Needless to say, this seriously hurt the state, because those funds created jobs and acted as a real stimulus to the state's economy.

Yet even as the newspaper's owner complains about all the serious damage Brownback is doing and the about fact that he spends a lot of Kansas taxpayers' money bringing in outside consultants (like Laffer, of the long since discredited Laffer Curve!), that same man simutaneously harps on how important it is to get rid of Obama and any other Democrats in office.

Republican supporters see--and sometimes even squawk loudly about--the damage Republican policies are causing, and yet they still insist that the only way to fix the country's problems is to get rid of all the Democrats (especially Obama) who are trying to prevent or undo the worst effects of those destructive Republican policies.

Yes, the newspaper owner is one of the wealthier citizens of our city, not a poor working class Republican, but I see the same cognitive dissonance in him that I see in working class Republicans. His sharp criticisms of Brownback's worst policies indicate that, although he is clearly oblivious to the fact, he should actually be supporting Obama and the Democrats, not the Republicans.



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Response to tblue37 (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 06:47 PM

14. Goold Ol' Dolph

What would we do with a newspaper that actually reflected the world view of Lawrence's residents?

Thank God for the World Company and the Simons family, eh?

Sigh.

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Response to jayschool (Reply #14)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 02:24 AM

31. Howdy, neighbor!

Do you teach in the KU J-School, or are you a student?

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 02:19 AM

21. This is just personal opinion...

Many years ago, I drove across Kansas and stopped in Lawrence and Manhattan and thought they seemed to be nice towns. My overall view of Kansas was positive But, after Brownback and the general bizarre fundie crap that dominates any news originating from that state, I put in on my list of places I never need to visit again.

My apologies for that, as I know there are pockets of sanity everywhere. However, the powers-that-be in Kansas should know the effect the RW loons have had on the image of their state. How does the Chamber of Commerce feel about that?

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Response to Zookeeper (Reply #21)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 02:23 AM

30. The CoC is a nest of RW loons themselves, so they are delighted with the RW loony program. nt

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #30)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 03:36 AM

32. I'm no fan of any Coc, but...

they are failing in their pro-business, profit-driven mission.

Not a problem for me, but it's something they might want to look at.

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Response to Zookeeper (Reply #32)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 07:56 PM

36. In general the supposedly pro-business Republican program

really helps only the super rich and huge multinational corporations, while harming small businesses. In the long-term, it will even harm the big corporations, too, though they cannot see past their short-term profits. But "pro-business" people and groups like the CoC cannot see past superficialities to the real economic effects of RW policies.

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 10:48 AM

29. The Republican program is well entrenched in Kansas

There were big, permanent tax cuts enacted back in the early 90's. Since then the public debt per capita has quadrupled. The state has a chronic revenue shortage, so of course, program cuts are absolutely necessary

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Response to n2doc (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 02:37 PM

6. In 2002-2006 they did not have the Tbaggers egging them on. I am not so sure they would not

get rid of those programs now.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 02:14 PM

4. Damn. It sounds like many of the school children Newt wants to put to work

come from white Republican families. I wonder if Newt is aware of this.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 03:38 PM

9. The people in this article have always been this way.

 

During the new deal they were mad that blacks got the same treatment from the government programs. In the 1960's they hated LBJ because of his civil rights positions but supported Vietnam then they turned to Nixon. Nixon was one of these angry resentful people. He called himself an othogonian (conservative working class whites) and he hated the so-called franklins (rich liberal whites) and his political career was all about getting everybody stirred up over wedge issues to break consensus and get his 51% of public support. It's all in the book Nixonland. Reagan for his part had to do little to cater to them except little stunts and positions on the flag and religion but in concrete terms he gave them nothing george w. bush came along and pretty much repeated the pattern on steroids. All the while they keep getting poorer and angrier but can't understand why. If you ask them why they're republicans, very few of them will actually be able to explain why. That makes them vulnerable to democratic persuasion. If Obama wasn't black I bet many of them probably would be more open to hearing what our side has to offer. That's why it's important for Obama to reach out to them and if you look at the polls it's actually starting to work. Many of them are either going to sit the election out or vote 3rd party because they hate romney and don't get the warm fuzzies when they look at the others. I'll give it 20 years and many of the angry tea party types will be either a part of the democratic party or they'll be completely irrelevent because of new voters.

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Response to craigmatic (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 06:27 PM

12. It's a way of being that may -- hopefully -- be wearing thin ...

In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein writes that "shock" -- either real or imagined -- eventually wears off. Equate shock to the "evils" of big government, government help, high taxes, etc. that Reagan and company screamed about for 30 years. Things have gotten so bad the pendulum may be swinging back. I hope we have an electorate still engaged and sane enough to be open to change.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 04:45 PM

10. Great part toward the end:

"In the Times story, there’s a man named Ki Gulbranson from a small Minnesota town called Chisago, both barely clinging to the middle class. He tries to make ends meet selling apparel and refereeing kids’ soccer games. All around him, he sees growing dependence on government. No fan of government spending, he joined the Tea Party in 2010; at the same time, he benefits from the Earned Income Tax Credit, free school breakfasts for his children, and Medicare for his mother. “I don’t demand that the government does this for me,” he said. “I don’t feel like I need the government.” Yet he finds it hard to imagine surviving without the safety net. “I don’t think so,” he said. “No. I don’t know. Not the way we expect to live as Americans.”"

This mindset is what I'll never understand...He's fully aware of this and he'll still happily don his Gadsen snake t-shirt, attend rallies, buy the latest Glenn Beck books and donate his last cent to "Bachmann for President"...All in an effort to cut his own safety net...In what situation will less government spending make his life any better??

And why does corporate America always escape criticism when these morons from economically stillborn small towns are interviewed??

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 12:52 AM

19. Sounds like another Limbo zombie...

He must be listening to his daily hypnosis sessions.

Unconscious self-destruction.

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 03:39 AM

23. I know the town of Chisago...

It's quite a lovely small (borderline "up north" town, with lakes, woods, lots of natural recreation. It never has had an industrial base (that I know of); more likely farming, recreation, and now a bit of a bedroom community to Mpls./St. Paul. The only sizable business that caught my attention was the hospital.

If Mr. Gulbranson is native to the area, I'm surprised that he expects to make more than $49k a year printing t-shirts and making jewelry. Perhaps the temporary housing boom that sent conservative and blue collar city people north for cheaper housing and an escape from "urban problems" left him with unrealistic expectations. The boom is over and so are the construction jobs. Isn't the Rethuglican/Tea Pots answer to his dilemma that he should pull himself up by his bootstraps?

How can he accept so much help from the government and still "don his Gadsen snake t-shirt?" Knowing how that area has changed in the last two decades, I imagine he's just trying so hard to fit in that he can't face his hypocrisy.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 06:25 PM

11. I work with people like this.

I hear it every single day at lunchtime.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 06:47 PM

13. recommended.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 14, 2012, 10:31 PM

16. I've always noticed something that is hard to explain....

at least using simple logic. I am a family physician who has worked mostly in Federally Assisted Rural Health Centers, and lately rural Emergency Departments. It's quite clear to all who work in similar places that the new "welfare queens" are rural white men on falsified disability. Throw on top of that the quite lucrative career of acquiring and diverting prescription narcotics with a background of no manufacturing jobs for those who haven't gotten past a high school diploma and you get....much of rural America.

What is amazing to me is the fact that in 15 years of witnessing this, I have yet to meet even one such person who isn't a loud and boisterous Republican fanatic. And when I say none, I mean NONE! It's as if the GOP and Corporate leaders have somehow brainwashed the very people who are the antithesis of their message to still believe it.

Boggles the mind.

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Response to raging_moderate (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 12:07 AM

18. Very interesting, logic-defying stuff!

Thank you for the post.

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Response to raging_moderate (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 01:12 AM

20. They sure know how to hypnotize them, sort of.

They use Beck, Limbaugh, FOX Lies, and on...

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Response to raging_moderate (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 03:55 AM

24. Someone who is closer to me than I am comfortable with...

is a die-hard Rethuglican/Tea Pot, *hates* President Obama, is an open racist, resents people on welfare, etc. Despite the fact that he isn't disabled, he has been unemployed, by choice, most of his working life. (Mooch.) When he did work, it was usually under-the-table so he wouldn't have to pay taxes. Yet, he has somehow managed, at a relatively young age for retirement, to start collecting Social Security.

It just makes me crazy. If someone told him his own story and identified the subject as Black or an immigrant, he would be outraged and feel vindicated in his racism.

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Response to raging_moderate (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 10:44 AM

28. Nobody ever wants to talk about that

There are a fairly large proportion of folks who are on disability who could work, and many of them are the sorts of people this article describes. I just finished Thomas Byrne Edsall's book "The Age of Austerity: How Scarcity will Remake American Politics," and he notes that tea party types are disproportionately white and old: 49% of them recieve some sort of Social Security benefits, compared to 32% of the population as a whole. (155) 78% of current Social Security recipients are white, but 39% of those aged 20 to 45 are minority, which means that minorities are paying, and an increasing proportion of them will be paying, into a system that currently mainly benefits older whites. And, though I couldn't find it, Edsall also notes that something like 25% of Americans aged 50-65 now get SSDI.

It's the old distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor. When a minority gets a check, they are a bum, a leech. When a white person gets a check, they deserve it.

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Response to raging_moderate (Reply #16)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 10:25 AM

35. I have a relative in primary health care who tells the exact same story

 

It is just amazing how ignorant the people are.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 03:36 AM

22. There will probably always be people who would cheerfully pay someone--

--to saw off their dominant hand if part of the deal was that someone they really hated got both hands sawn off.

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Response to eridani (Reply #22)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 10:22 AM

34. Well put, eridani

 

very well put. That is the Limbeciles' outlook on life right now.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 03:56 AM

25. I say fix the economy and the values will take care of themselves

His persistent argument is that government programs do more harm than good and create a dependent class rather than alleviating hardship, because socio-economic differences are based on innate ability, not external circumstance. The white working-class has suffered a moral collapse caused in part by the sorting of society into rich and poor, with the traditional virtues surviving only among the former—not by an economic battering at the hands of globalization, technology, and corporate power. Inequality is a natural state, and people at the bottom of society should either resign themselves to their fate, or else revive themselves through a moral and spiritual reawakening (likely inspired by their betters) that will allow them to rise above the lousy hand dealt them by their brain power.


This was bullshit from Moynihan, and is bullshit from Murray now that the white working class is getting hit with the same economic disaster that the black working class has been putting up with for 40 years.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 07:37 AM

26. Poor, white and Republican Tea Partiers

My first thoughts about a poor person of any ethos being part or a supporter of the Republican Tea Party is the definition of oxymoron.

When the Republican Tea Party is in power, they excellerated jobs leaving America, right, US Chamber of Commerce?

And they are still doing it by destroying the American brand by gutting our sensible regulations...can you spell: High unEmployment and High Foreclosures, Low Taxes and Hidden Overseas bank accounts?

Did these sucker ever think that this was going to negatively affect the Federal Taxes and State and Local taxes governments were going to receive? Did not they ever think this was going to affect the revenue these businesses was going to receive from selling their imported goods to people who just did not have enough money left because they were left in survivor -mode.


Great job, Republican Tea Party , Koch Brothers, et al, and the US Chamber (pot) of Commerce.


I know one thing, we need term limitations on the Supreme Court and Congress.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Feb 15, 2012, 10:00 AM

27. I live in Ron Paul's District: His followers lining up to get that evil socialist FEMA money.

I use to drink coffee with some of his supporters but gave up. Just a waste of time. After Hurricane Rita and Ike, they were lining up to get that FEMA money. Even Ron got some of that FEMA money. When I asked them why, they just shrugged. I told them they should have just gotten a tax cut to help rebuild their neighborhoods. The Ron mantra.
One of them was even complaining about Obama having brainwashed him into buying a new vehicle with that cash for clunkers program. He got a new car and lowered his gas payments and it was all Obama's brainwashing.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 10:17 AM

33. As usual the author ignores the obvious

 

hate radio and fox news. Anyone who really wants to start the country on its way back should just hammer away ceaselessly at the media juggernaut. 99% (no pun intended) of the country's problems could be solved with a messy, complete media realignment.

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