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January 7, 2008

Our Man In New Hampshire #2: Rudy’s Segway (Or: Screw The Working Class)

This is the second in a series of campaign dispatches from BNN Contributer Alan Chin.





(love the platform)

(love the expression)


(click images  for full size)

If Rudy’s 36-minute visit to the Segway plant generated some great infotainment, what the media somehow missed was the reaction of the people working there.

Next Up: John McCain

(All images courtesy Alan Chin.  New Hampshire.  January 5, 2007  Used by permission)

  • Sion Touhig

    What happened to the working class in the US? I’m just curious – is the term ‘middle class’ now used to avoid an ‘unmentionable’ term?
    The blokes in the Segway factory don’t strike me as middle class at all, at least not in the way it would be amorphously defined in the UK…that is, if its ever now used as a term at all.
    You certainly won’t hear it used by any UK politician, so I’m guessing it’s the same deal in the US?
    If you don’t mention them, they don’t exist, so you don’t need to do anything for ‘em…right?

  • James, Los Angeles

    I love Alan Chin’s work. Thanks for bringing a dose of reality to all of those over-hyped photo ops preferred by the giddy, giggly schoolgirl political press.

  • The BAG

    Thanks so much for the comment — and the distinction. I didn’t get done putting this together until the very early hours and I’ve incorporated your terminology. That said, I think your observation is telling. I can’t say I’m completely right about this, and am curious to listen carefully to the language the next debate (or course, certain to deviate radically between Dem and Repub), but I’m not sure how much “working class” or “blue collar” workers are referred to by the presidential candidates as a group. I could be wrong. If I’m not, though, perhaps it might have to do with both the embattled, and partisan political role of the labor unions?
    My sense from the (at least Democratic) campaign is that “middle class” has been used exhaustively as a buzz word to generically (and safely) distinguish from the Republican’s more “upper class” constituency, and that the set of terms that come into play in this more strictly economic partitioning (particularly from John Edwards) is “working poor” or “poor.”
    Again, it would be interesting to hear from readers who are far more knowledgeable than I am on this.

  • Cactus

    The Segway factory may not be the perfect example, but it seems there are mighty few workers in the plant. Don’t suppose ole rudy said much about the off-shoring of manufacturing jobs. And notice how many of them have their arms folded in front of them, which I think means something like, I’ll listen to you but I’m not gonna buy it.

  • Sion Touhig

    The UK political buzzphrase used to avoid referring to working class people is ‘working families’, or ‘hard-working families’ if they wanna ladle on some extra Victorian Values workhouse gruel.
    The very phrase itself betrays the attitudes of the people making it. Unemployed, single parents for example, are completely negated.
    And of course the possibility of any form of social collectivism (regardless of class) is also negated, echoing Margaret Thatchers famous phrase
    “There is no such thing as ’society’. There are only individuals, and families”.
    The working families buzzphrase is coming from a so-called ‘progressive’ UK gov’t thats basically usurped Thatcher/Reaganite policies and expanded them with a new NeoCon edge.
    My guess is that like in the UK, the constituency which has been most beaten around in the US is working class people who aspired to middle class status, the better paid and skilled working class I suppose, who traditionally hoped their children would enter further education for example.
    Their prospects and social mobility has been comprehensively screwed down by successive US and UK Gov’t economic policies, and of course their wages purchasing power continues to fall year on year.
    No wonder the factory workers look sceptical…

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