Much has been written over the years about middle class voters voting against their own interests and supporting Republican candidates who, essentially, seek to gut any tax policy or government initiative that supports lower or middle income Americans, while simultaneously promoting additional tax cuts and policy efforts that benefit the wealthy and large corporations.
Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, being a high-profile case-in-point.
Over the years, liberals have discussed this issue, ad nauseam. It's a puzzle that defies logic and common sense.
This phenomenon has reached new heights of late with the efforts of Republican governors in Wisconsin, Ohio, Maine, Indiana, Florida and Michigan to institute truly radical, anti-middle class policies that undermine the very notion of a sustainable middle class, to say nothing of their attacks on any program or policy that assists those in lower or fixed income brackets.
As always with any Republican movement, the language of this effort is uniform and clearly defined, couched in terms that make it palatable and seemingly reasonable to large swaths of middle class voters.
The governors of these states, and, indeed, every GOP mouthpiece, be they senators, representatives or television or radio personalities, use the same words to frame their efforts to line the pockets of their wealthy benefactors: the rich and the corporate megaliths have been recast as "job creators" who not only deserve the lopsided breaks being proposed in everything from tax rates to environmental policy, but must be given these breaks to ensure that they pull our country from its economic malaise. Because only these "job creators" have that power.
Yes, the "job creators" will rain down their beneficence if only we give them everything they ask for. The rest of us, as "average Joes," can only hope to reap the rewards that will certainly trickle down from the "job creators."
This is nothing new, of course. This has been the Republican mantra since Ronald Reagan enshrined selfishness as an American virtue.
But the conservatives' ability to successfully pit many middle class Americans against their middle class friends and neighbors -- teachers, police officers, firefighters, municipal, county and state workers -- has never been more blatant or, frankly, more successful than it has been of late.
(Granted, the long term success of this strategy has yet to be proven.)
While liberals continue to be dumbfounded by the very notion that teachers, for example, could be viewed as "the enemy" by so many middle class voters, these Republican governors use their ruse as cover for shifting more taxpayer dollars to their wealthy benefactors, dismantling environmental protections, and otherwise destroying government.
"Look over there! They're getting a pension! You don't get a pension like that!"
It's an easy ploy, especially when the GOP message mavens throw in the added chicanery of, "And your taxes are going to support their huge pensions!" As if teachers and police officers and firefighters and municipal, county and state workers are all living like kings and queens in their retirements...
Thus, the disbelief among liberals that so many middle class voters buy this line of bull.
But now it's all about "job creators." "Job creators" must be given every imaginable break. They must be freed from burdensome environmental regulations that protect our food and water supplies. They must be spared any regulation that ensures they're acting not only in their best interests, but in the interests of their customers and society, at large. They must get "tax relief" so they can create even more jobs!
And many folks without so much as the proverbial "pot to piss in" buy this line of bullshit, hook, line and sinker (to mix metaphors).
It's The New Feudalism. Those of us not at the top of the income/land ownership scale wait outside the castle/estate walls to catch whatever crumbs are so generously tossed our way by the elite lords of industry. Even worse, we pay our tithes to these masters in hopes of getting a small portion of our tithing returned.
That's essentially what people like Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin are selling. Granted, his poll numbers, and those of Kasich in Ohio, Snyder in Michigan, Scott in Florida and Le Page in Maine are tanking. And that may be a sign that middle class voters are waking up.
But what will it take to drive home the message to many middle class voters that their fellow denizens of the middle class are not their enemies? That what these "tea party patriots" and others should be doing is demanding retirement security and health care coverage for themselves and their families, not trying to take down the folks from their own class who have managed to achieve nominal retirement security and decent health care?
"Job creators" is just the latest in a long line of upside-down-world GOP euphemisms like "Clear Skies Initiative" that allowed more air pollution or "Death Tax" for the inheritance tax that was one of the biggest builders of an American middle class.
For all those middle class "Tea Party Patriots" who cheered Sarah Palin's anti-middle class rhetoric today in Madison, just remember to substitute "the ultra-wealthy" every time you hear the phrase "job creators" from one of your conservative heroes.
Then think about how you feel about these policies that are pitting you against the very folks who live next door. The enemy is not next door. The enemy is the people who make you think the enemy is next door.
"Job creators?" More like, "Yes m'Lord!"
Welcome to The New Feudalism.