Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Playing Right Into a Trap

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In his haste to find something to slam the Tea Party on as the current midterms are encroaching upon us, Mark Benjamin falls right into a very simple GOP trap. He takes this statement from Sharron Angle, candidate for Nevada:

We moved to the state of Nevada when I was three-and-a-half. My father bought a small business out in front of the convention center in Reno — and it wasn’t a convention center then; it was an onion field. His small business was a motel, and so we did those things as a kid that Americans don’t do. We cleaned bathrooms and made beds and swept floors, did laundry, those kinds of things.

He interpreted it as her being racist by confirming that such work was below the average American.

Au contraire.

In my opinion, it’s fairly clear that she was giving the usual politician faux-populist pitch wherein she established her humble salt-of-the-earth credentials while making a sly dig at East Coast Liberal Elites’ often-touted argument that illegal immigration is not a major problem because the immigrants do work Americans won’t do. She even laughed at her own satire, in the video.

Being that Arizona’s right wing is going on a xenophobic head trip right now and she’s the Tea Party candidate, my reading would seem to make the most sense, no? And being that Benjamin’s reaction belied an assumption concerning minorities and the economy that validated her narrative, he fell into a trap: Her narrative is they’re taking our jobs and to say otherwise is to be out of touch with working-class Americans. In that stead, his opposing viewpoint then becomes those jobs are so beneath my elitist purview as to be invisible.

I am by no means defending Angle or the Tea Party, and indeed I’m glad that Paul Krugman and his readers have written what they did this past day, but if any criticism from the left is to be effective, Mark, it must first be accurate.

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