Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Barack Obama to the Middle Class: Drop Dead

The Drum Major Institute has a cool new report analyzing whether members of Congress have voted for or against the middle class. The problem is that they seem to do a bit of question-begging by defining the issues so that their conclusions are foregone.

For example, in the section "Legislation: Bill Descriptions" (the site uses frames so that you can't link to specific sections of the report), under the BORDER PROTECTION, ANTITERRORISM, AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CONTROL ACT subsection, they assert "The middle-class position: The Middle Class Opposes."

Well, no they don't. The middle class should oppose the House's anti-immigration legislation, but they largely support it. It's arguable that the legislation is against middle class economic interests, but to claim that it's the middle class position and then to claim that the Republicans thereby vote against the will of the middle class is disingenuous and question-begging. Republicans arguably vote against the interests of the middle class, but not the will. In fact, they pander to the will.

To be fair, in the intro, the DMI explicitly writes that the authors "assign a grade to each member of Congress based on his or her support for the middle class." Which pretty much means that the DMI is not evaluating whether the middle class supports the legislation, but whether the legislation supports the middle class. However, the language in the bill descriptions suggests my first interpretation.

What's interesting about the document is that it sneaks in normative judgements on how the middle class should vote. Well, perhaps sneak is extreme. In the executive summary they write that one of their goals is to "point those concerned about the American middle class in the right direction on key pieces of legislation." But the body of the report is written as if the middle class supports legislation that is in their economic interests, when in fact they usually do not.

But I quibble. Basically, I like the report, and it's interesting that Hillary scores an A, while Barack Obama scores a C. She knows who her people are.


  • At 11:37 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    this post is very convoluted. i'm going to see if i can clean it up when i'm more rested.


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