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Class Warfare
June 9, 2004
By Woody Mena

You have to admire the Republican Party's flexibility. No matter what kind of person the Democrats nominate as their presidential candidate, that kind of person is bad.

Hardscrabble background in Arkansas? No class. Wealthy Bostonian? Aristocrat who thinks his you-know-what doesn't stink.

This flexibility, which lesser individuals might call hypocrisy, may have reached a new extreme with a little game on the GOP website called Kerryopoly.

If you don't want to waste a couple of minutes of your life playing Kerryopoly, the take home lesson is that John Kerry is an extremely wealthy man who has a lot of nice stuff that you and I can't afford. The game very explicitly points out that someone who makes $40,000 a year can't afford a house that costs $3.7 million dollars.

What kind of moron do they suppose is playing Kerryopoly? (Besides thoughtful critics like you and I.) The game even tries to establish its street cred by playing the Pink Floyd song "Money." Get it?

The hypocrisy here is so rank that I feel almost silly pointing it out.

One of the deepest held beliefs of the GOP is that wealth is a sign of achievement and virtue. If you have money, either you or your ancestors worked very hard to get it. (Wealthy Democrats, of course, are different. They're assholes.)

Anyone who begrudges a wealthy person their wealth is trying to wage class warfare, which we all know is socialistic and un-American.

A more subtle, and hence more effective, version of this line of attack is the Blue State myth. The Blue States, we have all heard, are full of brie-munching elitists who don't work for a living.

It shows the true power of the Republican Party that an image so divorced from reality could be so widely accepted. In fact, Democrats make less money than Republicans.

The only way you can sell a story as preposterous as the Blue State Myth is to come up with plausible-sounding anecdotes. David Brooks, for example, claims that people in Blue States don't know what soybeans look like.

I don't know if anyone has done a national study of ability to recognize soybeans, but you can check where they are grown. As Thomas Frank pointed out in Harper's, the top three soybean producing states (Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota) all went for Gore. The top agricultural state, California, is on the Left Coast. How about manufacturing? Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania went for Gore.

In the final analysis, Kerryopoly suggests a certain desperation. The GOP is paying untold operatives to probe Kerry's weak spots, and they have to settle for the brute fact that he has a lot of dough.

How pathetic.

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