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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Ryan’s Phony Working-Class Persona a Tough Sell

So, here we go again with the bogus “working class hero” b.s. Mentions of Ryan’s “working class” appeal/background are starting to appear in reports by the more gullible MSM press. Romney and Ryan are even conspicuously shedding their neckties in joint appearances. “Aristocrats? Who Us?,” sort of like Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor doing the “That’s right. We bad” prison perp walk in ‘Stir Crazy.”
Yes, Like a lot of upper-middle class kids, Paul Ryan had summer jobs as a teenager. But his father was a lawyer, he grew up in an affluent neighborhood and his family were owners of a multi-state construction company doing projects worth as much as 50 million dollars. It is doubtful that he ever worked a day on a construction site in his life.
Joan Walsh says it well in her Salon post, “Paul Ryan: Randian poseur “:

The other component of GOP fakery Ryan exemplifies is the notion that a pampered scion of a construction empire who has spent his life supported by government somehow represents the “white working class,” by virtue of the demographics of his gradually gerrymandered blue collar district. I write about this in my book: guys like Ryan (and his Irish Catholic GOP confrere Pat Buchanan) somehow become the political face of the white working class when they never spent a day in that class in their life. Their only tether to it is their remarkable ability to tap into the economic anxiety of working class whites and steer it toward paranoia that their troubles are the fault of “other” people – the slackers and the moochers, Ayn Rand’s famous “parasites.” Since the ’60s, those parasites are most frequently understood to be African American or Latino – but they’re always understood to be the “lesser-than” folks, morally, intellectually and genetically weaker than the rest of us.

Reactionary that he was, Buchanan at least embraced protectionist trade policies popular with unions, an option not open to Ryan, who has cast his lot with the globalist out-sourcers Romney so ably personifies. Don’t bet that this ticket will get much traction in blue collar America.

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