“Never before have so few with so much promised to take away so much from so many and then laugh their asses off as the so many with so little vote for the so few with so much.“— Jim Pence, The Hillbilly Report.
White working stiffs are for Republicans over Democrats by 58 to 36 percent, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
“Their wariness is reinforced by a prolonged economic funk that has disproportionately hurt the working class and shown scant signs of improvement under Obama and Congress’ majority Democrats,” wrote the AP’s Alan Fram in a story about the survey.
This union card-carrying white working stiff doesn’t get it.
Bush and the Republicans gave us the “prolonged economic funk.” “Scant improvement” is at least a step in the right direction. So why would any working stiff want the Republicans back in?
The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Larry Dale Keeling doesn’t get it either:
“…If some of this year’s poll numbers seem nonsensical, the voters’ mood — including here in the Bluegrass State — is even more so.
“There is anger and fear, and even some bigotry. The first two can be justified; the latter cannot. But all three are being channeled in a counter-intuitive fashion that runs against the best interests of those who are angry, fearful and bigoted.
“A deregulated Wall Street screwed them, along with everyone else. They respond by supporting candidates who want to leave Wall Street unregulated.
“Insurance companies screwed them, along with everyone else. They respond by supporting candidates who want to repeal health care reform that will help keep the insurance companies in line.
“Big Oil and King Coal screwed them, along with everyone else, for decades (and Kentucky sweltered through a record number of 90-degree days this summer). They respond by supporting candidates who’ll sit idly by through more oil spills, more mountaintop removal mining, more global warming and more climate change.
“A massive federal debt will screw their grandchildren, along with everyone else’s grandchildren. They respond by supporting candidates who want to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, thereby adding $700 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years.
“It’s a rebellion by the oppressed in defense of their oppressors. It’s a sailor in the olden days who, after being on the receiving end of a good lashing, picks up the cat-o’-nine-tails, hands it back to the captain and says, ‘Please, sir, do it again.’”
Keeling calls it all “…crazy — stoned-on-locoweed, running-screaming-through-the-streets-in-your-altogether-crazy.”
The nuttiness is national. But it’s not new. Some working stiffs have been voting against their own interests for years.
When he was on the Rachel Maddow Show the other night, Washington Post pundit E.J. Dionne cited a story former Sen. Fritz Hollings of South Carolina told when he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984:
“…He talked about the man who fought for our country in World War II, went to college on the GI Bill, started a business with an SBA loan, bought a house with an FHA loan, drove back and forth to work on the Interstate highways. His kids went to college on federal student loans. His parents were happily retired on Social Security and Medicare and this man said he was voting for Ronald Reagan to get the government off his back.”
What Keeling wrote and Dionne remembered reminded me of an email I got from one of my union buddies a few years ago. Titled “Your union presents a day in the life of Joe American,” it is still timely:
“Joe gets up at 6 a.m. to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medications with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to ensure their safety and guarantee that they work as advertised.
“All but $10 of the medicines’ cost is paid by Joe’s employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance. Now Joe gets it too, because his employer needs to offer competitive benefits to hire the best people.
“Joe prepares his breakfast bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon and eggs are safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing and poultry industries.
“Joe takes his morning shower, reaching for his shampoo. The bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting the air.
“Joe drives to work in one of the safest cars in the world because some liberal fought to raise safety standards and emission controls.
“Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with good pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these improved working standards. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get a workers’ compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.
“It’s noon and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FDIC up to $100,000 because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from greedy, unscrupulous bankers like the ones who ruined the banking system and helped cause the Great Depression.
“Joe needs to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage and his below-market interest rate federal student loan, which he got because some liberal decided that Joe and his family and our society would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.
“Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. Joe was the third generation to live in the house, which was financed by Farmers Home Administration because town bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electricity until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification.
“Joe is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure Joe’s dad could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to.
“After his visit with his dad, Joe gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show. The host keeps ranting that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his conservatives have fought tooth-and-nail against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.) Joe agrees that ‘We don’t need those big government liberals running our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes people should take care of themselves, just like I have.’”