Monday, September 03, 2012

not reg'lar folks

comment of the day from "yellowdog" @ ed kilgore's blog "political animal":

the attacks on obama's religion, on his birth certificate, on his purported lack of patriotism, and on his associations with folks like ayers all draw water from the same poisoned well. calling obama an affirmative action president is just one more way of taking away his legitimacy as a candidate and as a leader.

if anything, obama and his team should be very familiar with these sorts of attacks by now. all of them are rehashed and reheated from 2008 — and they will need to dent obama's credibility with people now who were not bothered by them four years ago. in tandem with the false welfare attacks, they might sway some voters. romney likes the welfare lies because they are 'new information' about obama.

problem is, though, romney's basic approval ratings are not budging — and he is not an easy person to cast as a savior of ordinary working people, of any race. taking cruises on yachts registered in the caymans tends to undercut the regular-guy appeal ... ann romney is supposed to help — but it is not an easy or natural message for her either. these are not regular folk — and their attempts to play regular folk fall flat because they are not convincing at it.

the rich are different — isn't that what randians believe after all? the air of natural superiority bleeds through. in rand-world, the wealthy and industrious are superior because their place in the capitalist order has proven them superior. they built it ... they proved their worth, in dollars and cents. the market is a perfect moral arbiter. it's not lake wobegone — every child in rand-world is not above average. the successful are inherently better than the non-successful. if there are winners, there have to be losers. and, wow, what losers now populate our society. what better way to make the case for this moral vision of the world than to point to the distortions of the 'natural' order of things represented in affirmative action? obama stands for all the losers, those who corrupt the natural hierarchy of society. obama is out of his place. he has gotten uppity in the words of one congressman (my own, i regret to say). he has gotten above himself. he is mingling with his betters.

this is the GOP vision right now. we are not all created equal. the capitalist system will sort us out efficiently as to rights and to basic human worth. if you are worthy, you can vote and join the club. if you are not worthy, ashes will be heaped on your head. if you are poor, it is because you deserve to be poor. you did not build it. you did not try. ipso facto — you are a loser. further, you will always be a loser. (and you will try to steal elections, join unions for benefits you did not earn or deserve, and you will always ask government to subsidize your sorriness.)

just think, though, of what this moral view makes of the struggling middle class — what a bleak vision this is for them, for people who are trying harder than ever. is their failure because they are unworthy? is their worth at issue? rand would say yes. of course romney and co. want to blame the problems of the middle class on welfare and affirmative action. if the middle class got a whiff of what the rand-reading yacht-riding class really thinks of them — in randian clarity — it would be pitchforks for mitt. in randworld, you are measured by what you earn. your net worth is your moral worth. if you are not earning enough, it is because you are unworthy. you lack something. your economic problems are your own damn fault.

no wonder mitt wants to talk about welfare ...

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