Oh FFS

Christ. Via Charlie Pierce (who has the proper headline), teh Politico is giving air to one of the dumbest charges in our political discourse (and that is a grand field with many distinguished candidates). Apparently, Elizabeth Warren is incapable of being a genuine voice for the middle class because she has money:

“I don’t begrudge her own personal wealth. I begrudge her hypocrisy of trying to play the demagogue against those who have achieved and who have created wealth,” said Rick Manning of the conservative group Americans for Limited Government.

Added National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh: “Her poll-tested campaign rhetoric simply doesn’t match reality as voters learn more about who Elizabeth Warren really is.”

This is immensely powerful dumb. Two points:
1. Being wealthy does preclude a person from being sensitive to the needs of less-wealthy people. The line of attack from the article, as best I can tell it, is one that Krugman outlined in a post a short while ago:

Which brings me to the subject of this post, the apparently equally misunderstood concept of hypocrisy. I’ve been getting some personal attacks on this front, but it’s a bigger issue than that. Here’s the personal version: suppose that you’re a professor/columnist who advocates higher taxes on high incomes and a stronger social safety net — but you yourself earn enough from various sources that you will pay some of those higher taxes and are unlikely to rely on that stronger safety net. A remarkable number of people look at that combination of personal and political positions and cry “Hypocrisy!”

Wait — it’s not just about me and the wingnuts. If you remember the 2004 election, which unfortunately I do, there were quite a few journalists who basically accused John Kerry of being “inauthentic” because he was a rich man advocating policies that would help the poor and the middle class. Apparently you can only be authentic if your politics reflect pure personal self-interest — Mitt Romney is Mr. Natural.

So to say what should be obvious but apparently isn’t: supporting policies that are to your personal financial disadvantage isn’t hypocrisy — it’s civic virtue!

But, say the wingnuts, you say that rich people are evil. Actually, no — that’s a right-wing fantasy about what liberals believe. I don’t want to punish the rich, I just want them to pay more taxes. You can favor redistribution without indulging in class hatred; it’s only the defenders of privilege who try to claim otherwise.

As I said, the stupid, it burns. Conservatives like to level the charge that liberals resent success. Having lodged that entirely false claim, some conservatives will forge on and reason, “Well if you resent success, why are you successful? HYPOCRITE!!!11” So, as you can see, fair reader, they lodge a complaint (which is not true) and then conclude charges of hypocrisy based on their first complaint (which they invented and to which their opponent does not subscribe) and say, “HAH. GOTCHA!” It’s nuclear weapons-grade idiocy*. And yet Politico prints it uncritically, because that’s why Politico exists.
2. Elizabeth Warren is only now wealthy. She grew up with middle-class parents (in the heartland, no less!). So, no. She’s not an elitist. She’s not a blueblood.
* And no, I’ve got no idea whether the campaign operatives actually believe this line of attack, but it doesn’t matter.
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