Elitist Republicans Are Now Attacking Lower Income Whites

When Charles Murray published his latest tract, Coming Apart, I wondered if conservatives would buy into it, since it attacks the values and ethics of ‘real Americans’:

It’s odd: Murray’s famous book, The Bell Curve, argued–and Murray has continued to do so–that racial differences in IQ, and their attendant socioeconomic outcomes, have a (non-trivial) genetic component. I’ve, tongue-in-check, argued that the difference between Alabama whites and Massachusetts whites, which is comparable to the difference between Massachusetts whites and blacks, also has a genetic component.

Has Murray changed his mind on the issue? If so, he should be more forthright about it: even two decades after the publication of The Bell Curve, we are still dealing with the poisonous after-effects of that book.

If not, I so do want to hear Murray argue that the white middle class–’real’ Americans–are falling behind their genetic ‘betters.’

Well, here’s what Republican Representative Mary Franson in the Great State of Minnesota recently uttered:

Last week, we worked on some welfare reform bills.

And here, it’s kind of ironic, I’ll read you this little funny clipped that we got from a friend. It says, ‘Isn’t it ironic that the food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to please not feed the animals, because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.

In case you need the dog whistle air raid siren decoded (boldface mine):

I feel that the representative was referring to those who have been on the long-term rolls of our welfare system for a variety of reasons – valid and not so valid – and not those who have become members of the system because of the economic downturn in our country.

There are those who have been in the system for an extended period, not because they are unemployable but because it simply easier to be on the rolls than it is to put some effort into finding a job.

These are those that drive their newer pickups and smoke their $5 packs of cigarettes and are out drinking their beer, and that is all bought at public expense.

Here’s what’s fascinating–the demographics of Franson’s district, Todd County:

The racial makeup of the county was 97.54% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 0.48% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.72% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. 1.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 52.1% were of German, 11.3% Norwegian and 5.6% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.

As of 2010, 16.9 percent of Todd County residents lived below the poverty line. Even if every single non-white person were poor, the overwhelming majority of food stamp recipients must be white. And ‘pickup trucks’ and ‘beer’ is a lower-income white stereotype. Conservatives are now demonizing white people. And that’s not how the game is supposed to be played:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “N-gger, n-gger, n-gger.” By 1968 you can’t say “n-gger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N-gger, n-gger.”

The (very cynical) point is that you’re not supposed to denigrate lower-income whites, but convince them that they’re better than those people, so you can gain their votes. Except now conservatives are turning lower-income whites into ‘those people.’

It is both amazing and horrifying to witness the final stages of the retrogression of Roosevelt’s Bull Moose into Rush Limbaugh’s Prion-Infested Cow.

And, even from a cynical standpoint, it doesn’t seem like a winning strategy.

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5 Responses to Elitist Republicans Are Now Attacking Lower Income Whites

  1. chris says:

    Well said, quite right. It’s remarkable to see, for instance, how they’ve turned so violently against Saint Reagan’s pet project, the Earned Income Tax Credit.

    Reagan in 1986:

    [The EITC] is “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress,” stating that one of its principal benefits was that “millions of working poor will be dropped from the tax rolls altogether.”

    Now it’s a constant angry chatter about the “50%” loafer-class who don’t pay any taxes at all. This time of year is especially fun since every single wingnut who found a part-time job at HR Block has their own page-long rant on teh internets about some “person” who made out like a bandit due to the hated EITC.

    We are far far down the rabbit hole at this point.

  2. albanaeon says:

    It seems like we are reaching the endgame point, doesn’t it?

    Now that the useful poor racists, Christianists, etc. have transferred enough power to the ones who would be our new overlords, its time to quit pretending the rich care one whit about “family values,” or “the coming race war” and anything else that distracts them from pursuing their own unmitigated greed. They are just about at the point that they dispense with even the fiction that a government can do anything about them, and probably leave the remains to keep fighting meaningless culture wars to keep the masses from point their anger at the rich.

    Won’t this be fun…

  3. Angie unduplicated says:

    Georgia wants to slash unemployment benefits. Legislators believe that the nearly 13% unemployment rate in two N GA counties is due to lazy Appalachian whites refusing to take fast food jobs. Fast-food restaurants, losing sales because unemployed workers don’t buy lunch, actually are reducing staff from attrition and cutting workers’ hours.

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