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From Cadillacs to Pickups: Are Conservatives Swapping Black Scapegoats for Working-Class White Ones?

(photo: mikebaird/flickr)

The position of the one-percenters is getting more precarious with every passing day. We know this from the increasingly desperate measures they seem to be taking. The latest one: Expanding (or trading) the focus of their demonizations from nonwhites to white working class people.

Item, from Rick Wolff’s website: “Charles Murray’s new book, Coming Apart, is criticized as a “blame-the-victim” argument applied to the white working class just as Patrick Moynihan applied it to the African-American working class in the 1960s. Murray excludes and thereby exonerates the economic system from responsibility for working class suffering and dysfunction; he blames instead character flaws somehow newly developed in that class. We develop a counterargument that locates the behaviors of both the 1% and the 99% in their logical responses to a dysfunctional economic system.” (You can listen to Wolff’s podcast on the subject here and here.)

Item, from Bluestem Prairie, a blog devoted to rural issues, wherein blog proprietor Sally Jo Sorensen cites a person defending Minnesota Republican state legislator Mary Franson, who recently called poor people “animals”:

In Dismayed by Franson fallout, Franson fan Hugh Myers writes:

Having read the comments allegedly made by Representative Mary Franson and the reaction to them, I am dismayed by the reaction itself.

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.

I applaud Representative Franson for stating her views because she is in a position to possibly make changes rather than simply sitting back and letting the past abuses become part of the future of the welfare system.

There is always someone out there who is looking to provide a misinterpreted version of something said by a public official, so that it will appear as something else.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Perhaps it’s a testament to Clinton-era welfare reforms that those stereotyping the poor have had to trade in the Cadillacs parked in their imaginations for “newer pickups.”

This is interesting.

Apparently racism is starting to lose its luster as an electoral tool for the servants of the 1%, so now they have to broaden their focus from picking on nonwhites and nonconservatives to attacking the very white working-class voters on whose backs they’ve rode time and again to victory.

This is the end stage form of the oncological rule of the one-percenters: They’ve got to the point where they’re cannibalizing themselves, eating their own ideological seed corn. How much longer can they keep going doing this?

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