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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-07-07 12:21 PM
Original message
Sick of hearing what modest origins such and such candidate has.
I cracked after a segment on ComedyCentral earlier this week and decided to make a post on GD.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-07-07 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
1. Same here
especially because in the time period that Edwards grew up, it was not difficult for a bright kid from a lower middle class backround (where he really was) to get scholarships to a good state or private University.

Doing well there and graduating then was a path to upward mobility. The question is whether those paths are open now.

There were not major roadblocks in front of John Edwards, there was a major ladder to success. By the time he was in his mid 20s, he was a lawyer married to another lawyer. (a lower middle class kid who became an upper middle class person by age 30.) It was public support of education and the fact that he was a smart guy.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-07-07 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. At this point, it goes beyond Edwards. Jon Stewart has a sketch on how
Edited on Wed Feb-07-07 01:20 PM by Mass
every single candidate presented themselves at the DNC and it is starting to look like a soap opera. When are these people going to realize that being from the middle-class is the norm, not the exception. In the 04 election, even Kerry and Dean were middle-class. Upper-Middle class certainly, but still.
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whometense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-08-07 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. I saw that, and
thought it was hilarious.

Also noted Jon Stewart's assigned campaign songs for Obama (Jesus Christ Superstar), Hillary (Milkshake):

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And their like
It's better than yours,
Damn right it's better than yours,
I can teach you,
But I have to charge

Jon: "I think it's a misstep."

heehee
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-08-07 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Well no
Kerry and Dean weren't middle class. I don't know how people in the upper 2% of American income ever end up considered middle class in this country. There's a huge difference between budgeting food and mortgage at $45,000 a year and budgeting college and retirement and vacation funds at $150,000 a year. Other than that, yeah, I agree. True middle income is the norm. Harry Reid, otoh, wow, now he came up rough.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-08-07 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. The problem is there is no consistent definition of middle class
Most of the articles in 2004, described how Kerry's family when he was growing up was upper middle class. Income-wise, this was true. Kerry, himself, NEVER called himself middle class (upper or otherwise). His website referred to a "priviledged background".

That was more accurate, because the connections he had to the elite counted far more than the salary his dad received. Judging from various accounts of Kerry's high school and college days, you could push either argument. Unlike the truly rich friends he had, he had paying jobs. But on the other hand, he had an aunt who covered his very expensive education costs. Tour of Duty has a fantastic account of Kerry and friends taking a long trip to Europe for part of one summer. In both England and France, they stayed with wealthy Kerry relatives, while in Italy they stayed with the Thornes. There is no way to read this than to see John Kerry as a member of this upper class elite and as such got invites to sail with JFK, whose wife's step sister he was dating. (I doubt the Thornes' thought Kerry's family was socially inferior.)

Even when he was relatively poor, he was a welcome guest in many many fancy places. His solution to not being able to support housing was not one open to many people.

Dean grew up on Park Avenue - the best part of Park Avenue, when the family was not at their Long Island estate. This is not middle class, but bonafide upper class.
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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-08-07 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. It is and isn't an argument
One of the best friends working Americans ever had was FDR. He was not poor, had a very, very privileged upbringing and did more to raise the living standards of ordinary Americans than just about anyone else in American history. His Social Security program single-handedly lifted millions of senior citizens from abject poverty to a better standard of living.

The argument has meaning when actions don't follow deeds. Otherwise, I want people who walk the walk as well as talk the talk. I don't care where they grew up or if they had 'silver spoon' families. Actions and stands matter to me more than that.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-08-07 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I think it pretty much isn't relevant
I don't think somebody has to grow up like Harry Reid to understand poverty and dysfunction. Tom Delay's family was pretty dysfunctional and look at him. But I also don't think it furthers economic justice issues by continually pretending upper income is middle income, or that middle income is poor for that matter.
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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-08-07 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Here is some census info on income levels in America
Income

Overview

Real median income for the nation remained unchanged between 2002 and 2003 for all types of family and nonfamily households.

Race and Hispanic Origin

Real median income did not change between 2002 and 2003 for non-Hispanic white households (about $48,000), black households (about $30,000) or Asian households (about $55,500).

Households with Hispanic householders (who can be of any race) experienced a real decline in median income of 2.6 percent between 2002 and 2003.

Comparison of two-year moving averages (2001-2002 and 2002-2003) showed that the real median income for households with householders who reported American Indian and Alaska native, regardless of whether they reported any other races, increased by 4.0 percent to $35,441. There was no change for those who chose the single race of American Indian and Alaska native ($32,866).

Regions

Real median household income remained unchanged between 2002 and 2003 in three of the four census regions Northeast ($46,742), Midwest ($44,732) and West ($46,820). The exception was the South, where income declined 1.5 percent. The South continued to have the lowest median household income of all four regions ($39,823). The difference between median household incomes in the Northeast and West was not statistically significant.

Nativity

Native households had a real median income in 2003 ($44,347), not different from that in 2002. Foreign-born households experienced a real decline of 3.5 percent to $37,499.

Earnings

Real median earnings of men age 15 and older who worked full-time, year-round in 2003 ($40,668) remained unchanged from 2002. Women with similar work experience saw their earnings decline 0.6 percent to $30,724 their first annual decline since 1995. As a result, the ratio of female-to-male earnings for full-time, year-round workers was 76 cents for every dollar in 2003, down from 77 cents for every dollar in 2002.

Income Inequality

Income inequality showed no change between 2002 and 2003 when measured by the Gini index. The share of aggregate income received by the lowest household income quintile (20 percent of households) declined from 3.5 percent to 3.4 percent, while remaining unchanged for the other quintiles.


more at: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archiv...
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-08-07 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. And that's household income
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