Good class origins

In Stalin's Russia and Mao's China, 'good class origins' were considered essential for an ambitious apparatchik. 'Good' in the sense of humble —— the poorer the better. When high church communism was discarded, the children of accomplished Chinese and Russian families could relax, and even boast of their familial ties. But not the Democratic Party.

A strange need to portray themselves as the victims of impoverished childhoods has gripped many of the most prominent Democrats. Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, the keynoter of last night's Convention session began his address by claiming,

'My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin—roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant.'

In fact, Obama's father was an ECONOMIST. A quick google search will reveal that the goat—herder trope is exactly one day old. His father was indeed from Kenya. He met Obama's mother, who was white, when both were students at the University of Hawaii. When Obama was 2, his father left the family and returned to Kenya, where he eventually became a senior economist in the Ministry of Finance. Obama was raised by his blonde mother.

In reality, the departed dad had raised goats as a child. I guess since I was a busboy at Denny's in my youth, my son can brag when he is older that "I am the son of a busboy at Denny's." If the Democrats regain their hold on the levers of power, such a claim may be essential to his ever holding a position of responsibility.

But Obama is far from alone in repackaging the past
John Edwards claims incessantly that he is the son of a mill worker. The shack where his family lived for about a year when he was an infant has been displayed as his childhood home. This is all technically true. But his dad, obviously a smart and hard—working man (like his upwardly mobile son) rose through the ranks, eventually becoming mill supervisor, living in a nice house up on the hill — a manse which is never photographed, or even fondly remembered by candidate Edwards. The black workers of whom he was the boss are never even mentioned. Nor is the fact that his father was in charge of a non—union work force in a Right To Work state.
 
John Kerry let everyone think he was of Irish descent, even speaking at St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Boston in words clearly meant to imply his pride in his Irish heritage. His paternal grandparents were European Jews, who changed their name from Kohn. His hometown newspaper, the Boston Globe took him to task for deception because they have interviewed him over the years and referred to his Irish heritage, without ever being corrected.

Like Al Gore claiming to have raised tobacco, Kerry has recently recalled fondly riding the plow on a farm (in truth, an uncle's vast estate). Given his patrician airs and elegant clothing, it is doubtful that many farmers feel much solidarity with him due to his childhood recreation with the family's employees.
 
George W. Bush cannot spin his paternal descent. Nor has he tried.
 
But let's look at Dick Cheney. He was a rural boy from Wyoming who repaired utility lines as a real job, after dropping out of college. He did go on to finish college and enter graduate school, eventually fulfilling the American success ideal through dint of hard work and intellectual brilliance. He did not use fake science to win malpractice suits.

Nobody should have to be ashamed of coming from a poor background. It is highly admirable to rise in life through one's own talents and application. But to claim a phony heritage of oppression or ethnicity is despicable, revealing at best a tendency to lie for advantage. I hope the Democrats follow in the path of the Russians and Chinese, and discard their obsession with class origins.

In Stalin's Russia and Mao's China, 'good class origins' were considered essential for an ambitious apparatchik. 'Good' in the sense of humble —— the poorer the better. When high church communism was discarded, the children of accomplished Chinese and Russian families could relax, and even boast of their familial ties. But not the Democratic Party.

A strange need to portray themselves as the victims of impoverished childhoods has gripped many of the most prominent Democrats. Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, the keynoter of last night's Convention session began his address by claiming,

'My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin—roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant.'

In fact, Obama's father was an ECONOMIST. A quick google search will reveal that the goat—herder trope is exactly one day old. His father was indeed from Kenya. He met Obama's mother, who was white, when both were students at the University of Hawaii. When Obama was 2, his father left the family and returned to Kenya, where he eventually became a senior economist in the Ministry of Finance. Obama was raised by his blonde mother.

In reality, the departed dad had raised goats as a child. I guess since I was a busboy at Denny's in my youth, my son can brag when he is older that "I am the son of a busboy at Denny's." If the Democrats regain their hold on the levers of power, such a claim may be essential to his ever holding a position of responsibility.

But Obama is far from alone in repackaging the past
John Edwards claims incessantly that he is the son of a mill worker. The shack where his family lived for about a year when he was an infant has been displayed as his childhood home. This is all technically true. But his dad, obviously a smart and hard—working man (like his upwardly mobile son) rose through the ranks, eventually becoming mill supervisor, living in a nice house up on the hill — a manse which is never photographed, or even fondly remembered by candidate Edwards. The black workers of whom he was the boss are never even mentioned. Nor is the fact that his father was in charge of a non—union work force in a Right To Work state.
 
John Kerry let everyone think he was of Irish descent, even speaking at St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Boston in words clearly meant to imply his pride in his Irish heritage. His paternal grandparents were European Jews, who changed their name from Kohn. His hometown newspaper, the Boston Globe took him to task for deception because they have interviewed him over the years and referred to his Irish heritage, without ever being corrected.

Like Al Gore claiming to have raised tobacco, Kerry has recently recalled fondly riding the plow on a farm (in truth, an uncle's vast estate). Given his patrician airs and elegant clothing, it is doubtful that many farmers feel much solidarity with him due to his childhood recreation with the family's employees.
 
George W. Bush cannot spin his paternal descent. Nor has he tried.
 
But let's look at Dick Cheney. He was a rural boy from Wyoming who repaired utility lines as a real job, after dropping out of college. He did go on to finish college and enter graduate school, eventually fulfilling the American success ideal through dint of hard work and intellectual brilliance. He did not use fake science to win malpractice suits.

Nobody should have to be ashamed of coming from a poor background. It is highly admirable to rise in life through one's own talents and application. But to claim a phony heritage of oppression or ethnicity is despicable, revealing at best a tendency to lie for advantage. I hope the Democrats follow in the path of the Russians and Chinese, and discard their obsession with class origins.