Tag Archives: permanent political class

The Non-Percent: America’s Working Class of “John Does”; Updated

by Whitney Pitcher

factory-worker-sparks-flying

Our nation’s political messaging has often been one of dichotomy–splitting America in half to pit us against each other. Both political parties are guilty of engaging in this kind of talk. Some Democrats in recent years have discussed America in context of the 1% (the wealthiest Americans) versus the 99% (the rest of us), essentially trying to capitalize on the pitting the nation’s proverbial “haves” versus “have-nots”. Meanwhile, some Republicans have seen things in the context of the 53% of Americans who pay federal income taxes versus the 47% of those who do not, in essence trying to dichotomize Americans as either productive or lazy. The truth is not every “one percenter” is greedy, nor is every ninety-nine percenter selfless. Not every fifty-three percenter has a strong work ethic, nor is every forty-seven percenter lazy.  In reality, the dichotomy (and the disconnect too) comes between the permanent political class and the American people–primarily the working class. The working class primarily would fall into the 99% or the 53%. These individuals are self-sufficient enough to not be dependent upon the government, but not wealthy enough to be of importance to most politicians seeking campaign donors.

Too often, the working class are political pawns for union bosses and Democrats and frequently only discussed in the context of the “small business owner” for the pro-business (but infrequently pro-market) Republicans. There are rare politicians, however, who recognize that the working class are not political pawns, nor are they a class of citizens the government needs to do something for. They are a class of citizens that the government needs to stop doing something to! Tony Lee and Stephen Bannon co-wrote a great piece at Breitbart yesterday highlighting Governor Palin’s ability to connect to the working class and how the Senate immigration bill has been a slap in the face to the working class:

“Meanwhile, the upper middle classes in coastal cocoons enjoy the aristocratic privileges of having plenty of cheap household help, while having enough wealth not to worry about the social costs of illegal immigration in terms of higher taxes or the problems in public education, law enforcement, and entitlements,” Hanson wrote. “No wonder our elites wink and nod at the supposed realities in the current immigration bill, while selling fantasies to the majority of skeptical Americans.”

Last Friday, a panelist on Fox News’s Hannity’s panel of black conservatives, which included Sirius XM Patriot’s David Webb and Breitbart’s Sonnie Johnson, emphasized that the Senate’s immigration bill would have a “detrimental impact” on black Americans.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), one of the most critical opponents of the immigration bill, noted that the bill would hurt working class Hispanics in addition to all working class Americans and the “poorest among us.” Sessions noted that according to the CBO report, the bill would have a devastating impact on wages of Americans looking for job security, and it would raise the unemployment rate while only solving 25% of the illegal immigration problem. He posited that between 30 million and 50 million workers will be added to the labor force in the next ten years, completely destroying the possibility of upward mobility of working class Americans of all backgrounds. Yet, Republican senators like Murkowski (R-AK), Rubio (R-FL), Ayotte (R-NH), McCain (R-AZ), and Graham (R-SC) voted for the final bill.
“Why would any Member of Congress want to vote for a bill at a time of high unemployment, falling wages?” Sessions asked on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday.

[…]

For Republicans to win back the majority and the presidency, they need to win the so-called Reagan Democrats and a new generation of working class minorities who will have to become Reagan Democrats 2.0. They need to win over the father who got laid off from his manufacturing job and has a child who did everything society said to do–go to college, get a degree, find a decent-paying job in the technology industry–and now may meet the same fate his father did when the labor market is flooded with an influx of cheap immigrant labor brought to do jobs Americans supposedly do not want to do.

These Americans that the immigration bill most adversely impacts make up the backbone of this country and see in Washington a permanent political class who are against them and think they “can’t cut it.” They see in Palin, though, someone who fights for them because she simply “gets” it–and them.

Governor Palin linked the above mentioned piece on her Facebook page, commenting in part:

Once again, I’ll point out the obvious to you: it was the loss of working class voters in swing states that cost us the 2012 election, not the Hispanic vote. Legal immigrants respect the rule of law and can see how self-centered a politician must be to fill this amnesty bill with favors, earmarks, and crony capitalists’ pork, and call it good. You disrespect Hispanics with your assumption that they desire ignoring the rule of law.

Folks like me are barely hanging on to our enlistment papers in any political party – and it’s precisely because flip-flopping political actions like amnesty force us to ask how much more bull from both the elephants in the Republican Party and the jackasses in the Democrat Party we have to swallow before these political machines totally abandon the average commonsense hardworking American. Now we turn to watch the House. If they bless this new “bi-partisan” hyper-partisan devastating plan for amnesty, we’ll know that both private political parties have finally turned their backs on us. It will then be time to show our parties’ hierarchies what we think of being members of either one of these out-of-touch, arrogant, and dysfunctional political machines.

The immigration bill does negatively impact the working class, but the political connected will benefit. Although he ultimately voted for the bill, Democratic Senator Leahy would boost corporate cronyism. Big GOP donors ultimately want “comprehensive immigration reform” to pass as well. What will the House GOP do? Will they cave to political pressure in order to receive the needed money for their next re-election–their own constituents be damned?

The immigration bill is not the only way that the working class is being passed over for the sake of the political connected class. Look no further than the next divisive issue de jour–climate change. Earlier this week, President Obama gave a speech touting his next “green” push. This push was gleefully described by an Obma adviser as a needed “war on coal”. The war on coal has already started, however. In President Obama’s home state of Illinois, in the blue collar town of Decatur, nearly 500 Caterpillar workers were laid off this past Spring. Caterpillar is the world’s largest maker of mining equipment, and with decreased coal mining, less mining equipment needs to be manufactured. Meanwhile, President Obama is promising $8 billion more in green energy loan guarantees in his new climate change plan. Past is often prologue,and in  the 2009 stimulus package, 80% of Department of Energy loans went to companies with connections to Obama donors. It would surprise no one if this new round of loan guarantees again go to the political connected. Suffice it say, yet again, the working class gets a pink slip while the permanent political class get “green slips”.

The working class are not simply a voting bloc, however. They are the backbone of our country and the essence of Americana’s John Does. As so well voiced in “John Doe’s” speech in Frank Capra’s “Meet John Doe” (H/T to this great Rebecca Mansour piece from 2009):

We are the meek who are supposed to inherit the earth. You’ll find us everywhere. We raise the crops; we dig the mines, work the factories, keep the books, fly the planes and drive the buses. And when a cop yells: “Stand back there, you!” He means us, the John Does!

America’s John and Jane Does are the hope of the earth. The permanent political class would do well to recognize them not as a group to be placate or to be pandered to, but instead as the very people who made America what it is today and who make it what it could be tomorrow, if the permanent political class does not transform America into something unrecognizable.

Updated: Please also see this great piece from earlier this year by our very own Gary Jackson with a wonderful reference to “Meet John Doe”.

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New Year’s Resolutions for the Permanent Political Class

by Whitney Pitcher

new-years-resolutions

Every year at this time, many of us make resolutions for the upcoming new year. We resolve to lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, spend money more wisely, spend more time with our families etc. The common thread in all of these resolutions is that we are resolving to reform something about ourselves personally.  Meanwhile,when government sets out to reform something, it is very rarely a resolution to change something about themselves as elected officials. More often than not, their reforms are aimed about changing something about us “ordinary folks”, our relationship to government, or how government spends our money. The word–reform–is generally just a euphemism for government expanding, liberty shrinking legislation. We hear of health reform, immigration reform, tax reform, entitlement reform and all kinds of other reforms, all aimed at changing us as individuals, as taxpayers, and/or as business owners. In essence, these reforms are all variations of “constituent reform”. To be sure, much of this reform is needed, but most of the time, this is largely because of government mismanagement, (e.g. entitlement reform). Very rarely will government officials resolve to reform anything about themselves as a matter of policy or legislation.

We only need to look to the news of this past week to see the lack of personal reform and the overwhelming projection of “constituent reform” in our governmental officials. Senator Diane Feinstein proposed a gun control bill that would ban many types of guns, including handguns while she works in a building protected by armed security. In other words, her legislation would enable her to remain protected while us “ordinary folks” would be limited in our methods of protection. In the midst of “fiscal cliff” discussions where President Obama urged Congress to act like “ordinary folks” who do their jobs and meet deadlines,  he issued an executive order that gave pay increases to Vice President Biden, Congress, and some federal workers. “Ordinary folks” don’t give or receive even small pay increases during times tough fiscal times, but that was what President Obama did for politicians who are not doing their jobs. (Ironically, the details of this pay raise are found on a government website–www.opm.gov–OPM–other people’s money) This kind of behavior is commonplace is government. Politicians create a different set of rules for themselves than they do for “ordinary folks”–be it in the right bear arms to protect one’s family or in increases in their salaries while simultaneously discussing confiscating more money from our paychecks.

Very rarely are there politicians who seek to engage in political reform and promote a form of populism that views government largess and political privilege as the villain rather than business or the free market. Sarah Palin took a pay cut as mayor, rejected a pay raise as governor, passed ethics reform aimed at the legislature, executive branch and lobbying among a myriad of other policy reforms and personal populist decisions. Retiring Illinois Congressman  Tim Johnson was one of the first sponsors of the STOCK Act in 2006 aimed at making insider trading by Congress illegal, years before the practice was put under the spotlight by writer Peter Schweizer. Senator Rand Paul once returned half a million dollars in unspent funds (taxpayer money) budgeted for his office. These are a few examples and are all important steps indicating a broader vision about government’s relationship to its constituents.

As part of that larger vision of government, I’d like to propose a few new year’s resolutions for our government. First, reform yourselves. Don’t require your constituents to live under regulations that you are exempt from or give yourselves special privileges that your constituents cannot access. Do your “fair share” (as much as I loathe that phrase) by refusing to accept a pay increase while inflation, tax increases, and regulation shrink the incomes of your constituents. Don’t propose legislation without competitive bidding that only provides an avenue for cronyism, waste, and bloated contracts.  Stop giving subsidies, loans, grants, and special deals to your political donors. These are the kinds of political practice that have led to 5 of the 10 wealthiest counties being in the Washington DC metropolitan area.  Government can also take a cue from the resolutions set by us “ordinary folks”–lose weight. Our government is fiscally obese. Most proposed spending cuts are not actual cuts. When legislators propose slowing government spending rather than legitimately cutting it, it’s essentially the same as if “ordinary folk” resolved to gain less weight than last year, rather than resolving to actually losing weight. So, politicians, cut the crap, cut the fat, and sing Auld Lang Syne, just like us “ordinary folk” resolving to reform yourselves, not project reform on your constituents.

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Sarah Palin–the Galileoan Expo Eraser

by Whitney Pitcher

Since Deb Fischer won the Nebraska Republican Senate primary on Tuesday, the discussion of the power or intent of Governor Palin’s endorsement has been discussed by many in the media. Some have tried to pass off Fischer’s win as the result of the fact that her opponents turned their guns on each other, and she escaped unscathed.  In other words, Governor Palin’s endorsement had little to do with the victory. The folks at Breitbart, and even some at the New York Times, have recognized the power of Governor Palin’s endorsement.  Heck, even, Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post, gave some backhanded credit to Governor Palin for Fischer’s win. However, there are those who are questioning not only the power of Palin’s endorsement, but the intent. They are trying to imply that Governor Palin primarily endorsed Fischer because she is a woman, when so much of the support for Fischer extended far beyond that.

It’s easy to recognize with Deb Fischer’s win that Governor Palin endorsement played a big role in  Fischer’s campaign, alongside a big grassroots effort in Nebraska. This is the kind of boost that Governor Palin provided that helped Nikki Haley win her gubernatorial primary in 2010.  Governor Palin’s endorsement is powerful, but it isn’t solely about getting the candidate over the top to win. It’s about changing the way the game is played. It is not about gender, though Governor Palin definitely wants to see more conservative women in politics. Remember too that Governor Palin endorsed Rick Perry over Kay Bailey Hutchison and Deb Medina in the Texas gubernatorial primary and Joe Miller over Lisa Murkowski in the Alaska Senate primary in 2010. Really, those two endorsements tell quite a bit of the story when it comes to the meaning of her endorsements.

When Governor Palin released her congratulatory note about Deb Fischer’s victory, she noted:

As recently as a week ago, Deb Fischer was dismissed by the
establishment. Why? Because she is not part of the good old boys’
permanent political class. The message from the people of Nebraska is
simple and powerful: America is looking for real change in Washington,
and commonsense conservatives like Deb Fischer represent that change.

This is what Governor Palin’s endorsements are about–real change and ridding Washington (or the state halls) of the permanent political class.This is not better seen than her recent endorsement of Richard Mourdock in Indiana to replace veteran Senator Dick Lugar, nor in her endorsements opposite the Bush endorsed Kay Bailey Hutchison and coattail riding Lisa Murkowski. While many questioned her 2010 support for Christine O’Donnell, her intention was to send a message to the Establishment and to the permanent political class–which extends beyond those who hold political office. The message echoes Reagan’s — “those voices don’t speak for the rest of us”.  Suffice to say, Governor Palin is the Expo eraser to Karl Rove’s dry erase board. It’s about the principles of the party, not the party itself. While the Roves of the GOP want the tent to get bigger, the Palins of the GOP want to ensure that the tent–no matter its size– has its stakes driven into solid enough ground that it won’t collapse.

It’s not solely about opposition to Rovian-Schmidtism political strategy though. Governor Palin views politics and policy in a way that very few in politics do– both politics and policy must revolve around the people, not the party. Governor Palin recognizes that politics is not just a battle between right and left; it’s a vertical battle between top and bottom–both within the party structure and as a matter of policy. Governor Palin is the political Galileo ( with Ronald Reagan as Copernicus). You may recall that Galileo was an astronomer who pursued the ideas Copernican  heliocentrism–the concept that the earth revolved around the sun, rather than the other way around. The Catholic church declared him a heretic and put him under house arrest where he continued his work, and of course, he was eventually proven right. This Galileo-Palin comparison may not be perfect in its entirety, but it shows an important point. Those in the permanent political class wish to believe that all political power revolves around them, when it really revolves around the people–the people who vote, not those who pontificate. The same concept is true for policy. The big government views of the Left and the “pro business” views espoused by many in the GOP think that government exists to do things for the people or for businesses. Governor Palin is pro market. Who is empowered in a pro market economy? The consumers (the people). The people determine whether or not a business fails or succeeds by their purchasing power–not by the special loans of the big government Left or the special tax breaks of the pro-business GOPers, but of the the Galileoan pro-marketers.

This is what makes Governor Palin’s speech in Iowa late last summer so compelling. She laid out a vision of a pro market economy–no corporate taxes, but no corporate welfare, no special tax breaks or subsidies either. In other words, let the people decide what business fail or succeed by their purchasing power. Also, as Governor Palin wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, echoing Peter Schweizer’s book Throw Them All Out,  let there be no more crony capitalism and no more special treatment of politicians. This is the very thing that Deb Fischer espouses too. If you look at her campaign website, Fischer notes specifically “reform Congress and Washington D.C.” as one of her policy plans. As example, Fischer mentions some of the very same things in this policy plank that Governor Palin did in her WSJ op-ed:

Tighter Ethics Laws

  • Prohibit Members of Congress and federal employees from trading
    stocks based on information obtained on the job that is not publicly
    available.
  • Prohibit Members of Congress, their staffs and federal employees from disclosing nonpublic information for investment purposes.
  • Prohibit Members of Congress, their staffs and federal employees
    from purchasing land based on inside information that is not public
    available.
  • Require Members of Congress to be subject to the same laws and privileges as every citizen of the United States.

This brings everything full circle. Whether it’s an endorsement or policy driven speech, Governor Palin’s influence is powerful and so is her impact on ridding the political system of the permanent political class and replacing it with what the Founders stated at the very beginning-“-We the People”.

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