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September 14, 2009

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For me, it’s the 1920s and not the 1960s, in which are modern day assumptions concerning political parties, gets formed.

In the 1920s, the United States consolidated its Anglo-Protestant ethnic character in a series of legislative actions:

The Volstead Act of 1920 prohibited the consumption of alcohol;

The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 shaped immigration flows around a quota system designed to preserve WASP dominance;

Al Smith, a Roman Catholic of part-Irish extraction, was defeated in his bid for the presidency in 1928.

In communities large and small, powerful Protestant voluntary associations like the Ku Klux Klan, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Masons, and American Protective Association (APA) nurtured the bonds of white Protestant ethnicity and enforced Anglo-American hegemony
Nativist commentators glowed with praise for a U.S. Congress whose ethnic composition matched that of the Continental Congress of 1787.

Anglo-Protestants had been interacting with non-Anglo immigrants in numerous ways since the founding of the Republic. The difference now lay in the new left-liberal’ preconceptions. Instead of approaching the foreigner with fear and loathing, the left-liberal Anglo-Saxon reformer exhibited humanitarianism—albeit from a position of superiority. This differing preconception was the result of an ideological shift which cannot be explained by social interaction.

Sorry about that, I posted and the thing vanished....so I thought.

Publius took pains to stress his admiration for the idea of public protest. Did you read that part? Neither he nor anybody else said dissent is racist. Racism is racist. Did you see the all those confederate flags? There were lots of them. Pretty good bet those people have some racial animosity within.

What distinguished this event was not that there were a few crazies, but that the majority was crazies.

The racial undertones of the protest where real. The lack of a real message is not.

The message, unheard by progressives and, to some extent Republicans, is that more and more government intervention is not what the average conservative American wants. Certainly not at the cost numbers being thrown around.

What is missing in this discussion is the unease expressed by those same people as Bush tallied up the debt. When people complained about the debt in the Bush era, Democrats in particular, they found a broad based willing audience.

Now, when that same audience complains about the exponentially rising debt, the progressives want to blame it on everything from Bush to racism.

Those nasty facts are that at the rate we are implementing costly social policy, along with the relatively little stimulus, our children will be paying for a debt that could truly make us into a third world economy.

How people express this fear often does reflect the least noble aspects of the emotional spectrum. But just as many conservatives have to listen through the vitriol from progressives to see if there is a point, Progressives should listen also.

Of course the true teabaggers are mainly the white losers of the country. If you're black or latino with no hope, hey - life's not fair. But if you're *white* and a loser...hey wait a minute! That's not supposed to happen!

Since this has been happening since much longer than the great depression, I don't think those poor white folks would agree with your characterization, or character assassination.

In the week after the President gave a stirring account of the discussion representing the character of our nation, the character of both sides seems equally on display.

Having lived much of my early life dirt poor in the South, I can assure you that lazy white folk and lazy folk of color are considered quite equal. Hard working poor folk of any color are treated with respect by hard working poor folk. It is only the outsiders who see them differently.

The message, unheard by progressives and, to some extent Republicans, is that more and more government intervention is not what the average conservative American wants. Certainly not at the cost numbers being thrown around.

Cost by itself is irrelevant -- what matters is whether the costs are offset. I mean, it would be pretty stupid for an unemployed person to refuse to take a job that paid $100,000 per year because doing so would cost him $2,000 per year in commuting costs. You can't just say "but there are costs! and they're more than zero!"

What is missing in this discussion is the unease expressed by those same people as Bush tallied up the debt. When people complained about the debt in the Bush era, Democrats in particular, they found a broad based willing audience.

Eh? Why do you think this is true? I don't recall most conservatives being upset with the Bush policies that increased the deficit. I certainly don't recall Bush or congressional Republicans paying a political price because of his efforts to increase the deficit. So why do you think there was a great deal of unease?

Now, when that same audience complains about the exponentially rising debt, the progressives want to blame it on everything from Bush to racism.

But complaining about "exponentially rising debt" by itself is absurd. You can complain that the bills under consideration are not really deficit neutral even though they claim to be; but then you have to explain why you disagree with the administration or the CBO. Do you really think that Limbaugh or Beck or their viewers who showed up at the 9/12 protests even understand these issues well enough to have an opinion on them?

Those nasty facts are that at the rate we are implementing costly social policy, along with the relatively little stimulus, our children will be paying for a debt that could truly make us into a third world economy.

The economists that I read disagree with you. And I'm not sure why I should trust your opinion, or the opinion of the 9/12 protesters, more than Brad Delong's or Paul Krugman's. I mean, this stuff is complicated.

"Eh? Why do you think this is true? I don't recall most conservatives being upset with the Bush policies that increased the deficit. I certainly don't recall Bush or congressional Republicans paying a political price because of his efforts to increase the deficit. So why do you think there was a great deal of unease?"

Well, there was this thing called an election, where they expressed that unease. Beginning with midterms and then the Presidential election. I would say the Republicans did pay a political price.

And as far as Krugman goes, there are some very respected economists who repectfully disagree. That is, however, irrelevant to the average guy who heard Bushes extra trillion was horrible, but now we are adding four or five more. They don't need an economist to tell them that is not a good thing.

But it matters what debt is incurred for marty - do you really not see that?
The fastest way to become a third world country would've been to do no stimulus at all.

When people complained about the debt in the Bush era, Democrats in particular, they found a broad based willing audience.

The fact is that virtually no political Republicans objected to the huge increases of debt in the Bush 43 years, and few objected in the Reagan years, which, you remember, was when this (quite deliberate, btw) explosion of debt started. Reagan was elected twice, as was Junior Bush. Debt is bad only when Democrats incur it. (Yes, Ron Paul objected, but he's only a nominal repub.) I didn't see any teabag rallies on the Mall from 2001-2008, did you?

The protests are NOT "incoherent" once you understand the protestors are demonstrating because they do not want a single red cent fo "their money"--even when it's paid in taxes, it's "their" money--going to assist, aid or relieve the struggles of their "inferiors."

To be honest, I don't think this accurately captures the flavor of what the 9/12 folks are angry about.

There is, no doubt, some racism involved, but race is woven into everything in this country. There's also a lot of resentment of immigrants, especially illegal, but again I don't think that's the whole picture.

The 9/12 folks seem to be as likely to be angry about TARP, or the cash for clunkers program, as they are about health care, or welfare, or whatever.

It appears to me that what all of these various complaints have in common is a sense that they've lost control of their lives, and that they're subject to the control of remote and unaccountable forces in Washington, NY, and/or any of a small number of other wealthy, urban centers.

Again, as it appears to me, it's a present-day version of "little guy" populism.

The fact is that lots of people in this country *have* lost control of many important aspects of their lives. They have damned good reason to be pissed off.

There are about 1,000 damned good reasons for tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or whatever the hell the number was, of people to show up on the DC mall.

The sad thing is that their anger is not directed toward any goal that's going to make anything better for them.

They want government out of their life. What does that mean? What part of government do they want to do away with? What things that government does for them now do they want to take on?

It's quite clear that other actors, with significant resources to bring to the table, are more than happy to slice and dice every single aspect of their lives and sell them off to the highest bidder. Or lowest bidder, depending. Or no bidder at all, just close up shop and Mr. Average Guy can go screw.

And they want government out of the picture?

I don't doubt that these folks are pissed, nor do I doubt they have good reason to be pissed. I just think they're putting the blame on one of the few institutions that has any hope of improving their situation.

What is missing in this discussion is the unease expressed by those same people as Bush tallied up the debt. When people complained about the debt in the Bush era, Democrats in particular, they found a broad based willing audience.

Bush's tax cuts passed with full GOP support (and even a few Dems). where were the teabaggers? they weren't marching, or bringing guns to townhalls, or wearing "Bush = Hitler + Stalin + Mao" t-shirts.

where did they hold these big rallies against deficits ? in your imagination?

Well, there was this thing called an election, where they expressed that unease. Beginning with midterms and then the Presidential election. I would say the Republicans did pay a political price.

Elections do not tell you why people voted for a particular candidate. They might have voted for Dems because of the war or because of the corruption scandals or because Bush sounded like an illiterate fool or because Cheney gave their children nightmares or for any number of reasons. If you want to claim that the election proves that conservative voters were particularly upset about deficit financing, you'll need additional evidence.

My point here is just that I haven't seen much indication that people, especially conservatives, are really aware of what effect Bush's policies have had on the deficit. People who don't know that that Bush engaged in lots of deficit financing can't be politically motivated to act on that knowledge. And if they only develop deficit concerns when a Dem takes office, well, clearly the deficit is not what is motivating them.

And as far as Krugman goes, there are some very respected economists who repectfully disagree.

Can you name some of these other respected economists? I read a few conservative economists and I don't recall seeing deficit issues as underlying their objections to health care reform. But I might have missed something.

That is, however, irrelevant to the average guy who heard Bushes extra trillion was horrible, but now we are adding four or five more. They don't need an economist to tell them that is not a good thing.

$4-5 trillion more? What? Where are you getting these numbers from?

"$4-5 trillion more? What? Where are you getting these numbers from?"

If you believe here

Its closer to 9 trillion

"Bush's tax cuts passed with full GOP support (and even a few Dems). where were the teabaggers? they weren't marching, or bringing guns to townhalls, or wearing "Bush = Hitler + Stalin + Mao" t-shirts."

No they didn't. But they did express enough concern that between 2005-2007, prior to the mortgage crisis, in a wartime economy, the deficit was reduced every year.

Incoherent is an interesting term because you have a mundane way of viewing it and a scientific way. Mundanely, it just means 'sticking together', so in that sense, yeah, the teabaggers are coherent. But in terms of physics, it means (and the more sciency types can correct me here) the ability to make predictable changes. There are lots of folks with better physics chops than me, but I believe that one talks about coherence in regards to waves, and can be tested.

While I don't want to play definition flame, but I'm thinking that the two meanings account for some of the argument here. For some, just getting 60-70 thousand folks out on the Mall is proof of coherence, for others, coherence is proven by showing that a specific group has a predictable aim and goal.

"Doesn't your list reinforce the point?"

Eugene V. Debs--Social Democratic Party
presidential candidate in 1900, Socialist Party of America presidential candidate, 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920. 1 million votes as a Presidential candidate in 1912 and 1920. His 1920 run was made from prison; the crime was opposing the US entry into World War I.

Richard Wright--influential advocate of racial integration

John Lewis--main founder of the CIO.

Harry Bridges--International Longshore and Warehouse Union founder and leader

"Would you have been happier if the remark had been that the Left has always been marginal in this country?"

I would have been happier if the remark had been correct. Publius, I was very tired both when I made that remark, and now. If I had been less so, I probably would have kept my peace, or e-mailed. Nonetheless, I plead the importance of history.

I'm trying to see some meaningful coherency here, as Marty is, but in the videos and slideshows I've seen (selective assuredly, although I'd be surprised if anyone had a sign there that said "please raise my taxes to pay down the debt", which would at least have some coherent message to it.

Instead, I see one woman telling the interviewer that she wanted the "government out of everything'.

I wonder how she got home? Highway, airplane, not to mention the goddamned pavement she was standing on that I paid for.

I'd call that incoherent vagrancy at best.

Then you had the guy with the sign depicting the Twin Towers in the background and Obama giving some al Qaeda types the high sign.

Who let him out of the silly farm?

Let me see. Lots of pictures of Obama with a Hitler moustache, not to mention Nancy Pelosi with the same moustache.

These people are on about the same level of coherent sanity as the crazy lady who sits next to me at the bar sometimes and talks to herself thusly, "My daddy says I look just like Adolf Hitler" (to which the bartender replied one time "It must be the moustache") followed by (the woman speaking again) "I just adore Marjorie Lord" (the Danny Thomas Show).

That last is at least sad, but then I'm into liberal elitist psycobabble.

Instead, I see one woman telling the interviewer that she wanted the "government out of everything'.

Many years ago, my high school had a dress code. No jeans for girls, collared shirts for boys, hair couldn't touch the collar etc. (a public school). So we had ourselves a protest. A nice sit in in front of the school (a thousand kids) and then a march on the administration building. The news cameras showed up on the way and they picked a random young lady who seemed to want to talk to them and asked what the protest was all about. Her answer was that the protest was about the discriminatory practice of making women wear bras to school, ranted a little about womens rights (which we all supported) and they left.

The news had their soundbite that ran at 5 and 10, we all stood around dumbfounded that she hadn't even mentioned the dress code overall.

Deja Vu.

"It appears to me that what all of these various complaints have in common is a sense that they've lost control of their lives, and that they're subject to the control of remote and unaccountable forces in Washington, NY, and/or any of a small number of other wealthy, urban centers."

I think people resent government for the same reason why other people (or in many cases the same people) resent large corporations: they feel that they are being controlled with little real input.

And for the most part they are right.

Also, lots of people remember the negative much more easily than the positive. The time that some faceless government or corporate entity ruins your life is often more obvious than the 30 times it helped you out.

If you believe here

Its closer to 9 trillion

Marty, that link doesn't say anything about health care costing $4-5 trillion. In fact, the only mention of health care reform is $1 trillion, which overstates things since that number doesn't include any compensating offsets. Once again, only counting costs while refusing to count offsets is either dishonest or dumb. Which do you think it is here?

I'm not sure this discussion with you will go anywhere. I've asked you repeatedly for any evidence supporting your contention that a significant number of conservatives were upset with Bush for deficit spending and so far, you've presented no evidence. I get that you were upset, but I don't think you're very representative.

The news had their soundbite that ran at 5 and 10, we all stood around dumbfounded that she hadn't even mentioned the dress code overall.

This anecdote seems...irrelevant to the current discussion. There were multiple media pieces written by different organizations reporting on the 9/12 protests. There were lots of individuals who write/comment on blogs that attended the protests and took pictures or spoke with the protesters. There's just no way to portray this as a single protester screwing up and misrepresenting the other protesters. Nor is it plausible to assert that all the media organizations and all the non-protesters who showed up conspired together to present one seamless narrative that completely distorted what actually happened.

"I've asked you repeatedly for any evidence supporting your contention that a significant number of conservatives were upset with Bush for deficit spending"

Well, that is the second time so I am not sure repeatedly is realistic. I never said healthcare would cost 4-5 trillion, I said people see the debt was being added to at that rate. Both the CBO and the White house use revenues and any offsets they count (differently) to estimate the debt. Worries me, not you?

I'll go back a few years and find some references for you, but Democrats and conservatives both expressed concern about the debt.

Thullen is too much.

I wanna go to your bars.

sod,
not sure if this is the right thread, but if you would like to post something longer with more links about what you were discussing concering Kaufmann and culture, I'd be happy to give you a set of keys to TiO.

Raven - no need to apologize at all. It was a valid point. I probably should have reworded it. I didn't so much mean that no true Left existed. Just that it's influence on national parties, etc. was relatively much smaller

LOL, did you read what I posted in "The Speech"?

LOL, did you read my response in "The Speech"? I'm still trying to balance nuance and clarity.

I'll go to TiO and get your e-mail?

Sounds good.

Marty:

Where did you go to school? Were you the guy in the third row of the meeting we had with Principal Dr. Tranquil (I kid you not) over the dress code and how we wanted to wear blue jeans.

There was a pale, very smart, quiet, redheaded girl sitting in the front row and when Dr. Tranquil (I kid you not, nice man) finally, exasperatingly, blurted out, to his everlasting regret , "Do you want to look like a bunch of farmers?" .

.. at which point, the redhead (who lived in a big suburban house) broke into shuddering heaving sobs, crying out "But what's wrong with that?" sob sob sobbbity sob.

I don't know what happened to her but it's probably somewhere between Squeaky Fromme and reverse collatarol bond salesman during the go-go years turned fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Mark Levin's assistant ghost-writer.

Maybe she was the woman who said she wanted government out of everything, which the latter said twice very slowly so that the guy was sure to get his newsbite.

I went to alot of demonstrations with alot of wackadoodles in my time, but Buffy St. Marie never showed up with a picture of an automatic weapon (and a little picture of a clip of bullets which the guy I saw loaded into the picture of the automatic weapon and shot at a picture of Nancy Pelosi -- kind of performance art for dickheads with beer guts and no control over their paltry lives.)

But they did express enough concern that between 2005-2007, prior to the mortgage crisis, in a wartime economy, the deficit was reduced every year.

oh how i'd love to see you prove that the vanishingly small amount of criticism had anything to do with the deficit reduction.

more likely the deficit declined as the economy inflated due to the recently-burst bubble. which is the flip side of what ee have now: the deficit being exacerbated by the recession.

I think people resent government for the same reason why other people (or in many cases the same people) resent large corporations: they feel that they are being controlled with little real input.

And for the most part they are right.

I think this is about right.

What I note, however, is that the opportunity for real input is significantly greater in the case of government.

What I also note is that I've never seen tens or hundreds of thousands of people blocking the streets around the corporate headquarters of Goldman Sachs, or Monsanto, or Archer Daniels Midland, or WalMart, or Raytheon.

The line is not likely to make this week's eulogies to Ronald Reagan, but when Vice President Cheney allegedly declared, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter," he summed up an enduring argument from the former president's economic legacy.

">http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A26402-2004Jun8?language=printer"> Reagan Policies Gave Green Light to Red Ink

">http://www.ontheissues.org/2004/Dick_Cheney_Budget_+_Economy.htm"> Dick Cheney on Budget & Economy

But they did express enough concern that between 2005-2007, prior to the mortgage crisis, in a wartime economy, the deficit was reduced every year.

US public debt, 1940-2009, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of GDP.

I don't see a much of a negative slope in the period under discussion.

I'm not doubting Sebastian, but I have to wonder what sort of negative experience underlies the various protesters anger. A long line at the DMV? An unfixed pothole? A overly long tax form? Or is it something like the infamous Helms commercial, such that any bump on the road of life gets blamed on the government?

US public debt, 1940-2009, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of GDP.

deficit, not debt. (a chart) there's a little bit of an upturn 05-07. but it starts back down in 08.

Yeah, but wasn't part of the reason why Bush was able to claim lower deficits because the war spending was being authorized as emergency spending not counted in the deficit? We still had to pay it (or borrow for it), it just didn't get counted in the official numbers. That also part of the reason why the deficit appeared to balloon so dramatically when Obama came in to office - he pledged to budget for the wars inside the normal budgeting process. Of course, TARP and ARRA are a big part of it too, just there is also a large component pre-existing Obama that was previously hidden.

The protestors are not the main story here. We will always have a significant part of the electorate whose thinking is incoherent and nonsensical (sometimes they can be a majority). But when the press gives them credence, heck, they are enabled and even fomented by the media (see Fox News and Glenn Beck), then something is very wrong here. Remember those who protested in the run-up to the Iraq War and how they were marginalized and even demonized (see Scott Ritter) by the press. The treatment is so disparate that it cannot be accidental.

I truly think we may be seeing something new and disturbing here. It started to pick up speed with the unhinged Clinton hatred and has just taken off from there. And the press has been along for the ride. Obama is a socialist? Then I guess Nixon was a socialist, in fact anyone who does not espouse laissez faire capitalism is a socialist. The stupidity is not what is disturbing as that is to be expected, but the fact that our corporate media is aiding and abetting this self-destructive mode of thought is downright scary.

Here's an interesting take on the protests and what is motivating them, from 538.com. Wonder how this does or does not accord with other peopie's views.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUPMjC9mq5Y&hd=1

Telling video about the tea party march in DC, great interviews.

I am a bit late here but someone far up the thread mentioned the infamous Clinton murder list. A similar list was circulated about Obama before the election. It was even more absurd since some of the names were from the Clinton list and iirc there were people on it that were very much alive. I also remember the quite insane claims about Obama's parentage trying to link him by birth to black radicals and/or the communist party (apart from the claim that his parents must have been commies since only those would commit Rassenschande at the time).
---
Personally I have my doubts that the instigators themselves are racists but they know that appeal to racists sells very well.

I can understand what you mean, Woody, in terms of the internal logic of the protest itself, and the machinations that work it. But to add more - what the protestors are missing out on is that the ideology they've bought into secretly calibrates them in terms not unlike "shiftless, pregnant, drug-abusing nee-groes, messikans, and immigrants." In other words, the joke's on them and they don't know it. So on that tack, the protests are still incoherent because the people who came to the Mall were there to reinforce an illusory sense of power. But the tenor of the protest was for a sense of justice that their ideology has denied them, while the ideology that could give it to them in at least some measure is one they don't recognize. Perhaps in their own minds, then, what they're protesting is coherent - but only in theirs.

While some might think I'm out on a limb, the character of "9/12" strikes me more and more as not entirely unlike the working-class, populist fascism of people like Father Charles Coughlin or Oswald Mosely in the 30s, or the National Front in Britain in the late 70s-early 80s - putative stands for justice entirely depended on perpetual resentment and marginalization of certain kinds of people by those who were marginalized and resented themselves, but not for the reasons they believed. A scary thought indeed.

Yet one more correction - I meant "dependent on." My apologies.

"What I note, however, is that the opportunity for real input is significantly greater in the case of government."

If you think that, you don't understand the nature of the complaint. You could give your dog some say in which direction you'll tug the leash next, but he'll still be on a leash.

Well, what exactly is the nature of their complaint, Brent? Their protest is entirely confounded and confused by some nefarious, hydra-headed boogyman - first, it's a black man in the White House, then it's the loss of some putative sense of privilege, then it's health care reform, then after that it's illegal immigrants...in other words, there's no coherence to any of it because it's over everything they don't like and nothing they grasp, all at once.

What I suspect is at the heart of the whole government-versus-market jag is the notion that the former is the master with the keys to the cage, while the latter is the thing run wild, living on the run. It reminds me of the Bush years, when democracy was something you had to get through in order to get to freedom. But what sort of empty-headed freedom? The logical end of that would be existentialism, which would also require the exorcising of all institutions, systems, religions, and money, and no-one, conspicuosly the right, can face living this way.

I have no doubt that government can be at its worst - viz the election of a couple of weeks ago in Japan, where a monolithic, entitled, self-satisfied and -serving government finally got its just desserts after almost 50 years of uninterrupted power. (A sidebar - I'm not holding my breath for the new guv, but I am breathing)But given the reactionary climate in the States, there are those who don't seem all that troubled by an eternity of a monolithic, entitled, self-satisfied and-serving market. The difference is that one, at some point, is accountable and can be voted out, whereas the other, at any point, has no accountability and gives no franchise. What the protestors feel threatened by is the former, whereas what actually threatens them is the latter. That is what I see at the heart of the protests, and if there's any coherence to it, it's of a kind I sadly lack the insight to grasp.

If libertarian dogs are now going to start whining, they can get their own march on Washington.

I'd watch where you step the next day, however, seeing as how they are libertarians, I mean dogs, I mean libertarians.

Plus, as soon as dogs find out they will have to get jobs in the private sector, I expect their moods will turn.

Okay, I'll eat my slice of humble pie while readying my own cream pie to throw in my own face - I meant "(b)ut what sort of empty-headed freedom is that?"

Talk about incoherence...

"I went to alot of demonstrations with alot of wackadoodles in my time, but Buffy St. Marie never showed up with a picture of an automatic weapon (and a little picture of a clip of bullets which the guy I saw loaded into the picture of the automatic weapon and shot at a picture of Nancy Pelosi -- kind of performance art for dickheads with beer guts and no control over their paltry lives.)"

Yes, but we were Americas Children (Stephen Stills) and they were pretty sure they were in charge. Yet, even then, they complained about the Federal Government pretty regularly. They were for local school districts (the State government wasn't that well thought of), the state roads were, well, state roads (farm to market roads were the route to anywhere fun), and they still felt like they represented the country and to some extent vice versa.

Now all they hear is that they are overrepresented in the Senate, they shouldn't count because their population count isn't high enough, nor is their IQ.

Charges of xenophobia aside, the lower middle class and working poor whites in this country feel less in control and less represented in government all the time.

I keep reading that this bill is somehow for them, they should appreciate whaat the progressives are doing "for" them, they don't see it that way.

Being forced onto the dole is not their view of the American dream.

Fix the economy, raise their wages, give them the means to buy healthcare and other things, that's what they want.

You may not understand that basic thought process, but they don't want to think of themselves as needing a government handout. It impacts their sense of self respect.

You can think it is stupid like Russells bag of hammers, I respect it, that sense of self is what the country was built on. Your charity, well meaning and honestly given, diminishes them in their eyes.

Marty,

I'll agree with you here: "the lower middle class and working poor whites in this country feel less in control and less represented in government all the time.

I'm sorry to inform you, but is seems to be a minority of these whites.

I suspect in other parts of the nation, "lower middle class and working poor whites" are working with "lower middle class and working poor of color" to get union jobs and and see the Democratic Party as too conservative. Right now, it is in the intrest of certan media types to pretend "lower middle class and working poor whites" are, in the whole, against any State activity.

Marty,

I'll agree with you here: "the lower middle class and working poor whites in this country feel less in control and less represented in government all the time.

I'm sorry to inform you, but is seems to be a minority of these whites, if a healthy minority, who are anti-anything Democratic government.

I suspect in other parts of the nation, "lower middle class and working poor whites" are working with "lower middle class and working poor of color" to get union jobs and see the Democratic Party as too conservative. Right now, it is in the interest of certain media types to pretend "lower middle class and working poor whites" in the whole, are against any State activity.

"I suspect in other parts of the nation, "lower middle class and working poor whites" are working with "lower middle class and working poor of color" to get union jobs and and see the Democratic Party as too conservative"

I believe you are probably right. No sector is homogeneous in their opinions.

Marty,
I'll agree with you here: "the lower middle class and working poor whites in this country feel less in control and less represented in government all the time.

I'm sorry to inform you, but is seems to be a minority of these whites, if a healthy minority, who are anti-anything Democratic government.

I suspect in other parts of the nation, "lower middle class and working poor whites" are working with "lower middle class and working poor of color" to get union jobs and see the Democratic Party as too conservative. Right now, it is in the interest of certain media types to pretend "lower middle class and working poor whites" in the whole, against any State activity.

"I'm not doubting Sebastian, but I have to wonder what sort of negative experience underlies the various protesters anger. A long line at the DMV? An unfixed pothole? A overly long tax form?"

Probably different for a lot of different people. Maybe a capricious exercise of eminent domain taking away their family house. Maybe a contractor who finds that he loses bids to higher bidders who preempt him as minority contractors. Maybe someone whose mother has a nasty experience with Medicaid. Someone who has problems with zoning. Someone who has to go through ridiculous licensing procedures after doing well on his job for 20 years.

You'll note that some of these are local, but he probably thinks (and rightly) that he can't even substantially influence his local governments, how does he have any chance with a more remote, more powerful government with more layers of people between him and the decision maker.

"What I note, however, is that the opportunity for real input is significantly greater in the case of government."

I'm not entirely sure this is true. My chances of personally getting through to someone in a large corporation with a complaint are low. My chances of personally getting through in government seem even lower. Policies made in a corporation are often flexible in reality. Getting through to someone who can make an exception to a government policy, no matter how good the exception may be, can be impossible.

"What I also note is that I've never seen tens or hundreds of thousands of people blocking the streets around the corporate headquarters of Goldman Sachs, or Monsanto, or Archer Daniels Midland, or WalMart, or Raytheon."

That is an observation that doesn't cut obviously onto either side of the argument. Is that because WalMart is so unresponsive that no one ever bothers, or that they are at least minimally responsive enough that you don't have to get to the point where massing tens of thousands of people on a single day is necessary to get its attention?

Being forced onto the dole is not their view of the American dream.

If we are going to make broad and unqualified statements to characterize the hopes and dreams of large swathes of lower middle class and working poor whites, let me throw my own anecdotea into the ring, as this is the culture I was raised in.

A non-trivial portion of said demographic view the American dream as winning the lottery. Not hard work and perseverance. Certainly not communally distributed aid based on their economic status. Just a random lucky break to elevate them above their peers and make all their worries disappear, with nothing to thank but providence and their personal good fortune/persistent hoping/clever number choice.

I'm reluctant to accept the assertion that how one demographic or another views the "American dream" should enter into policy formulation.

About the link between the protesters and Ron Paul: during the primary my rural, impoverished county was festooned with Ron Paul signs which stayed up well after McCain got the nom. I understand, at least in local terms, the mindset behind the signs.

There is the myth in the West of the independent self-supporting American who carves his (always his) life with his own bare (oops--not bare! Armed, locked and loaded!) hands and never took nothin' from nobody but who is now strugglinng because of those damed environmentalists or immigrants or regulators.

Lie. Out here those folks worked for the heavily tax-subsidized timber industry cutting our trees on our land for their benefit. The timber mills went out of business mostly because they didn't want to pay to upgrade their facilities to accomodate smaller trees (having cut down all the big ones). It was easier just to move operations to Siberia and tell the locals that it was all the fault of the spotted owl. As for excessive regulation: we aren't the wild west any more. And we are only semi rural. The days when someone could dump their untreated sewage into Hoods Canal are over. The days when anyone could take their gun out and shoot any place are over. The days when anyone could build whatever they wanted anywherre are gone. WHy? Because responsible people consider the impact of their behavior on their neighbors.The same people who bitch that that ordinances won't allow building on the water's edge any more are the ones who piss and moan when their house erodes into the bay. The pattern isn't one of being independent; it's one of being selfish and irresponsible. The local Ron Paul cult is comprised of people who never grew out of the two year old mentality: whaa, whaa, whaa! I want! I want! Whaa, whaa,waha!

They are right that local taxes are high. Well, duh, assholes. If they hadn't elected Reagan and his supporters we wouldn't have lost all that federal money which used to be available to pay for infrastructure that was too expennse to pay for at the local level. Now the state receives less than fifty percent of the federal support it got back in the eighties and everything has to be funded by state and local tax increases. But do the Ron Paul cultists want cuts in the serviceS that they use themselves? Of course not. They want lower taxes, cuts in the services other people use, and funding for themselves. The two year old mentality again: whaa! I want! For me! Not you! Me!

Example: the wonderful ladies who run the local dog rescue are also, for the most part, shriekers. Overtly racistabout the local immigrants, alwasy bitching about taxes, always bitching about government, always spouting the latest rightwing crap. At the same time they want a leash law to be passed, are upset the budget cuts may result in the closure of the municipal animal shelter, and depend on vet benefits, Medicare, and Social Security etc for their incomes.

Whaa! Whaa! I want! For me! Not you!

Fleshing out what wonkie said:

Legacy of Conquest, by Patricia Nelson Limerick. Very readable, and fascinating.

Marty: I keep reading that this bill is somehow for them, they should appreciate whaat the progressives are doing "for" them, they don't see it that way.

Yes: because they're being lied to, successfully, by Republican politicians and pundits whose job it is to ensure that a certain percentage of the US population will continue to vote Republican, even though it's Democratic politicians who have, past and future, actually supported their freedom, their livelihood, and now their life and health.

Being forced onto the dole is not their view of the American dream.

And that is the key, isn't it? Republican policies to keep the rich richer and keep the middle/working class poor and powerless, only work if a significant percentage of the population are always terrified they're going to lose their jobs. Centrist and left-wing and liberal policies that ensure people are less likely to lose their jobs, earn more while in a job, and don't fear that losing their job will be their death, are the exact policies that Republicans must lie about - and lie about their reasons for opposing. And as the very rich own all of the big media outlets in the US, there's no real opposition to their side of the story - no real attempt to point out that they're lying.

i'd be more than happy to get the government out of a few people's lives, just to make examples out of them.

they can pay no taxes.

in exchange, they get no city water, electricity, garbage collection or other utilities (because there was probably tax money involved in those things at least during start-up). no cable TV because cable co's work with local govt's to ensure their monopolies. no phone. no police or fire service. no use of any road maintained by local or federal money. no access to any food, drug or substance which is regulated or tested by the FDA. no protection from foreign invaders (ha!). no employment regulation - if you can find someone to pay to you under the table (as long as that business is not regulated in any way by the government), you can work. no 401k. no access to any bank or financial business that is regulated by the govt..

in other words: sit in your bunker, don't make use of anything that the government regulates, maintains, sells or provides, and STFU until you die.

deal?

sign up below.

You fail to add to that list bad things that happen that people imagine are because of government, but are not. I also think, given the current economic climate, things like eminent domain seizures and contracting opportunities are way down, so if these complaints are driving anything, they are old ones that are only surfacing now. I also have to wonder about people who don't get a job automatically coming to the conclusion that a minority obviously got the job meant for them. Do people really know who is getting the job enough to draw these kinds of conclusions.

Speaking of eminent domain, my understanding is that it more severely affects minorities (Ilya Somin at Volokh mentions it, and here are some stats, but I only came across the Institute of Justice thru Google, so I don't know much about them, but it's been a while since we had an eminent domain discussion here), but these gatherings look pretty pale to me, though everything has been thru various photosets on the web.

Has there been any polls of those who attended the rallies? Or is it impossible to get an accurate sample like that?

Fix the economy, raise their wages, give them the means to buy healthcare and other things, that's what they want.

You may not understand that basic thought process, but they don't want to think of themselves as needing a government handout. It impacts their sense of self respect.

You can think it is stupid like Russells bag of hammers, I respect it, that sense of self is what the country was built on. Your charity, well meaning and honestly given, diminishes them in their eyes.

I agree with everything you've said here. Every single word.

How has it happened that these folks feel like their entire way of life is threatened, and that they are in danger of becoming dependent on the charity of folks who look down on them?

People who get up and go to work every day, who live modestly and honestly, who do their best to be responsible for themselves and for their families, ought to have those things be recognized as their contribution to the social compact. That contribution should be respected, and reciprocated by having their interest considered in decisions made by other people and institutions.

That's the way you build and sustain human communities and cultures.

I don't really see that happening. And I don't really see government as the reason for that. If anything, government is trying to staunch the bleeding. Maybe it's not doing a good job of it, but as you note, at least the intention is sort of good.

It probably is rude and unwelcome for me to say the folks who showed up in DC over the weekend are dumb as a box of hammers. It's true, I occasionally say rude and unwelcome things.

But you tell me how running around with a picture of Obama photoshopped to look like the Joker, or like a cartoon of an African witch doctor, is going to make these folks lives better, at all.

They're being played, and if they think guys like Glenn Beck give one rat's behind about them or their lives, I call it folly.

I invite any one of them to call Beck and say, I'm going to lose my mortgage, can you help me work out a new deal with the bank? Or, the auto parts plant in my town is moving offshore, what can I do to convince them to stay? Or, my wife has cancer and I have no coverage, is there any way I can get the treatment comped?

See what Glenn Beck says. If Beck doesn't suit, call FreedomWorks, or the National Taxpayers Union, or the Institute for Liberty, or any of the other sponsors of the 9/12 protest.

Call them up, tell them your kid needs a loan so she can finish college and maybe get a job other than retail clerk, and see if they help out.

I think it sucks that every person in this country who wants to work can't get a job. I think it sucks that you can work a full time job and still not have enough money to pay for food, shelter, and a reasonable level of basic health care. It think it sucks that a college education is increasingly out of reach for middle class kids, even if they're willing to take on tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

I think all of that sucks. I think everyone should be just as mad as they can be.

You can work your whole damned life and end up with nothing. Not a damned thing. Why shouldn't they be mad as hell?

But I think channeling that anger into walking around with a teabag stapled to your hat, or carrying a picture of Nancy Pelosi with a Hitler moustache, or wearing a 9mm on your ankle when you attend a forum on a health care proposal, is a collossal waste of time.

It's folly.

These folks are being played, and my heart quite sincerely goes out to them. Not least because I could easily be next. I'll probably eke enough years out of the software biz to retire, but I'm 53. If I was 30 or even 35 I'd be thinking about another way to make a living.

Cause that's in the process of going away, too.

And the source of the problem is not publicly provided health care, or a lack of open carry privileges, or Mexicans.

And the solution is not drawing Hitler moustaches on a picture of Barack Obama. Even if it makes you feel good to do that.

My chances of personally getting through to someone in a large corporation with a complaint are low. My chances of personally getting through in government seem even lower.

Long story short, my experience has been the opposite. YMMV, and I don't mean that sarcastically.

That is an observation that doesn't cut obviously onto either side of the argument.

I'm not really sure if there was a specific point I was trying to make with that observation. It just struck me as curious.

Maybe it's because corporations are more responsive to public sentiment, but I find that point of view hard to align with reality.

russell - you oughta know that one person would get help. That one caller would get put on easy street, become the next Joe the Plumber and spend three telling us how they just "called on their community" like everybody should. Just so Beck can spend the next election cycle rubbing that one non-government success story in our faces.

"I think it sucks that every person in this country who wants to work can't get a job."

It's against the law for a not insignificant number of people to have a job.

"It think it sucks that a college education is increasingly out of reach for middle class kids, even if they're willing to take on tens of thousands of dollars in debt."

All those government backed student loans bid up the price of tuition.

It's against the law for a not insignificant number of people to have a job.

You lost me on that one.

All those government backed student loans bid up the price of tuition.

Oh yeah, I forgot, the dreaded unintended side effect of market forces.

Everything that anyone does or doesn't do has unintended side effects. Sane people make decisions based on the primary effect they're interested in and deal with the other stuff as it arises.

"You lost me on that one."

If someone can't find an employer who thinks their labor is worth at least the minimum wage, they won't be hired since employers are prohibited from hiring at less than the minimum wage. In effect, it's against the law for them to have a job.

And here I thought the "against the law for ... people to have a job" comment was referring to undocumented workers.

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