What? I’m on? I’m sorry. Let me get a clean pair of skivvies, I’m not quite ready yet…
So here is the column of bullshit from last week.
“If you live in the Midwest, where else do you want to live besides Chicago? You don’t want to live in Cincinnati or Cleveland or, you know, these armpits of America.” So declared Stephen Moore, the man Donald Trump wants to install on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, during a 2014 event held at a think tank called, yes, the Heartland Institute.
The crowd laughed.
Moore is an indefensible choice on many grounds. Even if he hadn’t shown himself to be extraordinarily misogynistic and have an ugly personal history, his track record on economics — always wrong, never admitting error or learning from it — is utterly disqualifying.
His remarks about the Midwest, however, highlight more than his unsuitability for the Fed. They also provide an illustration of something I’ve been noticing for a while: The thinly veiled contempt conservative elites feel for the middle-American voters they depend on.
This guy again? Stephen Moore. Stephen Moore? Stephen Moore! Motherfucking STEPHEN MOORE. How many moore of these columns are you going to dedicate to STEPHEN MOORE
Seriously, did he sleep with your wife or something?
This is not the story you usually hear. On the contrary, we’re inundated with claims that liberals feel disdain for the heartland. Even liberals themselves often buy into these claims, berate themselves for having been condescending and pledge to do better.
But what’s the source of that narrative? Look at where the belief that liberals don’t respect the heartland comes from, and it turns out that it has little to do with things Democrats actually say, let alone their policies. It is, instead, a story line pushed relentlessly by Fox News and other propaganda organizations, relying on out-of-context quotes and sheer fabrication.
Conservative contempt, by contrast, is real. Moore’s “armpit” line evidently didn’t shock his audience, probably because disparaging views about middle America are widespread among right-wing intellectuals and, more discreetly, right-wing politicians.
Hey dumbass. Everyone makes fun of Cleveland. It’s an easy target, plus people there cheerful and have pretty good humor about it.. Contrast this with Chicago where walking in the wrong neighborhood will get you shot by the locals, or some asshole says you have weed and the cops break down the door of your business looking for kickbacks and shooting my workers.
…and lets be real, I hate fucking cops. They think they can get everything for free…
…and he’s making me defend Cleveland. Christ, what an asshole…
Let’s be clear: There is a real economic and social crisis in what one recent analysis calls the “Eastern Heartland.” This region suffers from persistently low employment among working-age men and has seen a surge in mortality from alcohol, suicide and opioids — “deaths of despair,” in the phrase of Anne Case and Angus Deaton.
What lies behind this crisis? The view of most liberals, as far as I can tell, is that it reflects declining economic opportunity, changes in the economy that have favored metropolitan areas over rural communities. On this view, declining opportunity has led to social disruption, in the same way that the disappearance of urban industry undermined inner-city communities a half century ago.
Those industries didn’t disappear, they went to Texass.
Many conservatives, however, blame the victims. They attribute the heartland’s woes to a mysterious collapse in morality and family values that somehow hasn’t affected coastal cities. Moral collapse is the theme of books like Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart: The State of White America,” and of innumerable articles. One widely read essay in National Review went so far as to label the troubled Eastern Heartland “the white ghetto,” whose people are too indolent to move to where the jobs are.
So who, exactly, doesn’t respect middle America?
When it comes to politicians, of course, what they say is much less important than what they do. So what do the policy choices of liberal and conservative pols say about how they value the heartland? Some Democrats, notably Elizabeth Warren, have been offering real proposals to help rural areas. They’re probably not enough to reverse rural and small-town economic decline, which would be hard to do even with plenty of money and the best will in the world. But they would help.