I was going to post something in-depth and penetrating about class, plumbers and politicians but that Paul Krugman beat me to it in The Real Plumbers of Ohio in the New York Times. I hate when that happens.
Forty years ago, Richard Nixon made a remarkable marketing discovery. By exploiting America’s divisions — divisions over Vietnam, divisions over cultural change and, above all, racial divisions — he was able to reinvent the Republican brand. The party of plutocrats was repackaged as the party of the “silent majority,” the regular guys — white guys, it went without saying — who didn’t like the social changes taking place.
I had a conversation with a youngish ornamental ironworker today. With overtime, he was able to earn enough to stop paying into Social Security and take home an extra $100 to $200 a week. We agreed that in all likelihood, working people were going to continue to get screwed and the economy was going to hell. But we seem to be coming from opposite points of view. Despite these troubled times, he was studiously avoiding looking at how much he was losing in his annuity. I’m closer to retirement so I pay a bit closer attention to the haircut that I’m getting. He was upset because he had "nobody to vote for". New York wasn't going to vote for McCain so he wasn't going to vote at all. He also wanted to have Social Security privatized so he could do his own investing. Evidently doing his own investing by not paying attention to his investments. I think he'd be chum in Wall Street waters.
I see a connection between what Krugman is saying and the guy I talked to today. We have work to do with our union brother and sisters.