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January 4, 2011

GOP ‘11: Corporate Stalking Horses Disguised as “Average Joes”


At their house in a new development, Mrs. Toomey was cooling a batch of pumpkin muffins and churning cookie dough while Mr. Toomey’s daughter slid through his legs and his older son wielded a new Nerf gun.“We’ve got a wonderful little life here,” he said later over coffee at the Trivet diner.

from: Conservative Seeks Balance on His Way to Senate (NYT)

Notice any similarities in these two new NYT profiles of incoming right-wing politicos?

Whereas Pat Toomey (Sen- PA) and Scott Walker (WI – Gov) are both arch-conservatives supporting an unabashed “free market” (i.e. corporate) agenda, they are being framed and photographed in a way that perpetuates the most populist, modest, John Q. Public personas.

In Toomy’s case, the refashioned Tea Party favorite endorsed by Sarah Palin — also a former investment banker who flies his own plane, wants to privatize social security and was President of the Club for Growth — is pictured sitting alone in a diner wearing a simple pullover while he looks thoughtfully out the window.

And then there’s the profile piece on new Governor Walker, who is gunning to eliminate corporate income taxes, decertify unions and reject government aid. In this case, the spin is all in the caption:

Scott Walker, the governor elect, brings his lunch to work. He will also make a voluntary pension contribution after taking office.
Want to know how the radical right is winning hearts and minds? In part, it’s through feel-good news pictures papering over the disconnect between gestures of austerity, displays of simplicity, and a radical agenda to unfetter the corporate state to a stunning degree.

If you see further examples, please forward them along.

(Photos: Matt Rainey for The New York Times; Narayan Mahon for The New York Times.)

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