The ‘Socialist Whore’ and Her ‘Foreign-Born’ Boss

elizabeth warren

Elizabeth Warren

Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s recent run-in with a heckler was the Tea Party movement in microcosm.

A man identified in multiple news stories as a Tea Party supporter called Elizabeth Warren a “socialist whore” for favoring the Occupy Wall Street protestors. For extra measure, he said Warren worked for a “foreign-born” boss, meaning President Obama.

The guy’s rant reflects the bizarro bile we’ve all come to expect from the tea party. “Socialist whore” and “foreign-born” boss rank right up there with Tea Party golden oldies like “Obama’s Plan White Slavery” and “Obama is Kenyan-born Muslim Marxist Nazi.”

Elizabeth Warren kept her cool. She swore the heckler, who said he had been unemployed for more than a year, didn’t make her mad. Warren said she felt sorry for him, but added, “There’s someone else pre-packaging that poison — and that’s who makes me angry.”

My guess is her list of pre-packagers would include those union-hating Republican millionaires who bankroll the Tea Party. But the whole GOP is in high dudgeon over the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has even spread to rural western Kentucky where I live.

Writes The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent:

“Figures on the right have transparently used Occupy Wall Street’s theatrics to distract from its message, in an effort to play on the cultural instincts of struggling blue collar whites and turn them against the economic populism embodied by the protests and Warren’s candidacy. They’ve screamed ‘class warfare’ and ‘socialism’ at even the most modest of proposals designed to reverse trends that have badly exacerbated inequality for decades, with untold consequences for the future.”

Sargent, who authors The Plum Line blog, adds:

“They’ve tried in every every which way to push the cultural buttons of voters who are responding favorably to the political conversation’s increased focus on inequality, economic unfairness, and what we should do about them. They have hauled out the old cultural playbook that’s been in use since the late 1960s, in an all-out effort to persuade working class and moderate voters to oppose any and all efforts to impose a modicum of accountability or to reform the indefensible status quo.”

berry craigSargent knows his history. In the sixties, the rightward-shifting GOP — once the party of “Lincoln and Liberty” — adopted a “Southern Strategy” for winning over segregationist Southern white Democrats who didn’t take kindly to their party’s embrace of civil rights on the national level.

The Tea Partiers are, by and large, the new “white backlash” voters.

Not coincidentally, not to me, anyway, the Tea Party started after we elected our first African American president. Almost all Tea Partiers are white folks.

Anyway, Jim Pence, who runs the Hillbilly Report blogsite in my native Kentucky, has been on to the GOP’s pre-packagers of poison from the start.

“Never before have so few with so much promised to take away so much from so many and then laughed their asses off as the so many with so little vote for the so few with so much,” he says.

Berry CraigSargent confesses that he doesn’t know if the Republicans will succeed in turning working stiffs against the Occupy Wall Street movement and Democrats like Warren. He doesn’t know what moved the heckler to vent his spleen at Warren. “But I can see why she labeled the larger atmosphere ‘poison,’ and why she’s so angry about it,” he concludes. “Indeed, you couldn’t ask for a moment that more perfectly captures the pathologies of this political moment, and how high the stakes have become.”

Meanwhile, I wonder if the heckler has drawn an unemployment check since he lost his job. Unemployment compensation is one of the oldest socialist ideas around.

Berry Craig

Published by the LA Progressive on November 6, 2011
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About Berry Craig

Berry Craig is an emeritus professor of history at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah and a freelance writer. He is a member of American Federation of Teachers Local 1360, the recording secretary for the Western Kentucky Area Council, AFL-CIO, and the author of True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo, Hidden History of Kentucky in the Civil War, Hidden History of Kentucky Soldiers and Hidden History of Western Kentucky. He is a native of Mayfield, Ky., where he lives with his wife of 33 years and their 20-year-old son.