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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

 
The plebes don't like Richie Rich

by digby

Jamelle Bouie at the Plumline makes an excellent point about the dangers for Romney in his dismissive 47% claim:
Romney’s path to victory depends on an outstanding performance among white voters. Assuming an electorate like 2008’s — 74% white, 26% nonwhite — Romney needs 61% of whites to eke out a victory in the popular vote. As Ron Brownstein points out, this would equal the best performance ever for a Republican challenger among this group of voters. In other words, not an easy mark to hit.

Romney’s best bet for reaching this target has always been working-class whites. Hit hard by the sluggish economy, these voters were the first to leave the Obama coalition — Democrats lost them by 18 points in 2008, and 30 points by 2010. Romney’s goal has always been to consolidate those voters and erode Obama’s already-tenuous support among whites as a whole. Likewise, on the other end of things, the Obama camp has been devoted to making Romney as toxic as possible to working-class whites, and blocking any gains he might make...

But the 47% remarks strike at the heart of Romney’s strategy. The 47% of Americans who don’t pay income tax are those who either don’t make enough money to qualify, or receive tax credits that offset their liability. This group includes students, the elderly, the poor and a large number of working-class families. Yes, some will not see themselves as belonging to the 47%. But when a politician disparages half the country as unwilling to “take responsibility for their lives,” at least some will see these comments as an attack on their livelihoods.
I think that's right. He had a problem with some of these folks even before this thing happened. This piece from last week spelled it out:
Sheryl Harris, a voluble 52-year-old with a Virginia drawl, voted twice for George W. Bush. Raised Baptist, she is convinced -- despite all evidence to the contrary -- that President Barack Obama, a practicing Christian, is Muslim.

So in this year's presidential election, will she support Mitt Romney? Not a chance.
"Romney's going to help the upper class," said Harris, who earns $28,000 a year as activities director of a Lynchburg senior center. "He doesn't know everyday people, except maybe the person who cleans his house."

She'll vote for Obama, she said: "At least he wasn't brought up filthy rich."
White lower- and middle-income voters such as Harris are wild cards in this vituperative presidential campaign. With only a sliver of the electorate in play nationwide, they could be a deciding factor in two southern swing states, Virginia and North Carolina.

Reuters/Ipsos polling data compiled over the past several months shows that, across the Bible Belt, 38 percent of these voters said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who is "very wealthy" than one who isn't. This is well above the 20 percent who said they would be less likely to vote for an African-American.
There was a reason why the Republican Party --- always thought of as the party of the plutocrats --- learned to nominate everyman types who spoke the rubes' language and didn't
reek of vast wealth. It's the reason why George Bush Sr went to Texas and started eating pork rinds and why his silver spoon son wore the Southern identity as a talisman. Their base doesn't really trust rich yankees who don't have the common touch. This was something everybody knew at one time and somehow forgot. Just like the rest of the filthy rich have forgotten to play it cool and let the rubes think they have it under control, even to the extent of allowing a little mild regulation and taxation when necessary.

It's hubris. The conservatives' fatal flaw.


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