The politics of resentment

Sure, it’s just a quote from one man, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue for a conference paper I should be working on right now instead of blogging, but it just seems that so much of the blue collar support for Republicans is all about the politics of resentment.  Not just that the government takes from you, but to give it to those other unworthy types.  Short little post by Dave Weigel gets at this perfectly:

A lot of Nevadans had given Obama a chance in 2008. Not Kent.

“This is going to sound rough,” he said. “But if you’re a Democrat, you are my enemy. Democrats piss me off. They’ve gotten extremely socialistic.” What did that mean? “Every time they get in, they raise taxes. They screw things up. I’ve got a jeep I’ve had for ten years; I pay $100 a year on the license plate. We just got a new Dodge; $600 to license it. You pay your money, they pass it on to the Mexicans, the colored people. Free education, handouts, all of that.”  [emphasis mine]

No sort of reasoned explanation about how public policy works is going to get past that type of gut-level thinking.

Advertisements

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

3 Responses to The politics of resentment

  1. Well Obama’s reasoned public policy explanations are rooted in pure socialism ala Jeremiah Wright (god damn america) and social justice redistribution of wealth. We need more business schools churning out 2 year programs and teaching people how to enter their own small business and make a go of it. That is much better than government handouts and letting the government be your daddy.

    Johnson’s Great Society Program created welfare as we know it and now we have the fourth generation on welfare, section 8 and foodstamps. We now have the highest level of foodstamp usage in our history. Obama just keeps on killing jobs and sending them overseas with his choking business regs and denying the pipeline and drilling permits.

    John Wilder

  2. Valerie Curl says:

    Yes, many blue collar workers and others feel a great deal of resentment and anger. However, I suspect much of it is caused by fear. The same emotional reactions took place during the 1930s as a result of a similarly caused recession. The biggest problem is trying to get these people to understand not just how public policy works but how governments function and how the money is spent and even if there is enough money to meet all the demands society wants…and why this recession was so completely different than a normal business cycle recession and the consequences of it.

  3. Steve Greene says:

    Well, there’s the problem, if, as you write, “The biggest problem is trying to get these people to understand not just how public policy works but how governments function and how the money is spent and even if there is enough money to meet all the demands society wants…and why this recession was so completely different than a normal business cycle recession and the consequences of it.” it’s pretty safe to say most people will simply go with the infinitely simpler and emotionally more appealing “the government is taking your money and giving it to people who are different it to you”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: