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As with Douthat's column the other day, David Brooks massively overstates small differences among Republicans and the degree to which some are "breaking free from old orthodoxies." /1…
The 4 GOP Senators he singles out--Rubio, Cotton, Hawley, and Sasse--as representing the "Republican future" have voted with Trump 84.6% or more, about the same level as the sycophant Lindsey Graham./2…
To take one example, the "populist" Josh Hawley opposes a minimum wage increase, worked hard as Missouri AG to take away health care from struggling people and now as Senator supports repeal of ACA, and supported (as did the other three) Trump's tax giveaway to the rich./3
All 4 practice rhetorical populism--they all use the word "elites" a lot--not matched by action. The Harvard grad & working-class tribune, Cotton, in his op ed encouraging the military to attack political protesters, impressively used the terms "radical chic" AND "chic salons."/4
And here's Hawley calling @ThePlumLineGS "a rich, smug liberal elitist," cementing his working-class bona fides./5…
Speaking of @ThePlumLineGS he has also responded to Brooks's column by reminding us of @rortybomb's important work./6
Where is race in this story of "Middle America" "getting screwed"? We know that the working-class is multiracial and made up of women as much as men, but that is not mentioned in this piece. /7
The most laughable characterization is of the "sociological" "Toquevillian" Ben Sasse, who votes as a generic hard-right Republican. /8
Brooks quotes this pearl of wisdom from the "sociological" Sasse: “The main thing the G.O.P. does is try to light the Democrats on fire, and the main thing the Democrats do is light the Republicans on fire. That’s why there’s so little trust in politics.”/9
But there are huge programatic differences between the Parties, which Sasse's cliched both sidesism ignores. To take one example, Joe Biden is putting forth programs that would actually offer meaningful, material assistance to working-class people./10…
I worry about formulations from the advocates of what Brooks's calls "Working-Class Republicanism,"-a phrase that for me, evokes (with a lower-case "r") 19th century labor history, when working-people challenged economic inequality./11
But, unlike 19th century workers, who demanded "living wages," emphasized the need for leisure and a material life of dignity in order to be a full citizen of the republic, these policy wonks' emphasis on "dignity through work" don't seem matched by similar concerns./12
fyi, I wrote about how 19th and early 20th century labor leaders and reformers sought to reconcile working-class republicanism with the modern wage labor economy, including the demands for leisure and living wages in my first book. /13…
Oh, and one final point about Bannon's "big government populism" that Trump supposedly tossed aside when he got rid of him. When he was in the White House, Bannon tried to strong-arm conservatives into taking health care away from working people./14…
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