"Poor" candidates

What is it about growing up in poverty/depravation that appeals to the American voter? Those of the Dems who can attest to being from modest beginnings are screaming it from the rooftops. Ok, so Dean and Kerry are affluent. Their parents were educated. They were privileged as children...they were probably read to each night at bedtime! Why apologize? I can't imagine any other country on earth where candidates for the highest office would be ashamed to have sprung from comfortable beginnings. What is it about modest means that appeals to us Yanks?
On the other hand, President Bush
of course grew up with a diamond-encrusted platinum spoon in his mouth. Hey, maybe that's why he has so much trouble talking.

Comments

Whose ashamed of wealth???

Birdie - the answer to your question can be found in the ideologies of both parties, Republican and Democrat.

As you mention Kerry and Dean come from privileged backgrounds. Of course many politicians of every ilk are from wealth or have wealth. Nothing new.

So, you ask, "What is it about growing up in poverty/depravation that appeals to the American voter?" I think a better question would be, "What is it about growing up in poverty/depravation that appeals to the American Democratic voter?

Democrats have always been uncomfortable about wealth. It runs contrary to their fundamental economic ideology that wealth should be shared. Take this away and they lose the core of their constituency. Regardless of the obvious hypocrisy you and others notice. (I have my own thoughts on why many liberal Democrats are uncomfortable about their wealth but I'll save this for another time)

Republicans, for the most part, have no compunctions about their wealth or their constituents knowledge of this. Nor do many Republican voters spite wealthy Republican politicians for their wealth. So long as it was made legally. Populism is rarely, if at all, used. Of course this is consistent with their philosophy of less government and more private enterprise, etc. (FWIW as a Republican, I must admit that Bush's domestic spending, i.e. farm bill is highly disappointing)

So, IMHO, many Democratic politicians are simply uncomfortable with their own constituents knowing about their own wealth. Now the question I suggest that you ask is "Why?"

Why the appeal of "poverty" background?

You raise an interesting question. Why, when these men have grown up in good families who provided them with the best they knew how to do, and achieved the "American dream" is it still popular to bring out the hair shirt during election time?

And Republicans could do it too, but want to acknowledge that this is a country of great opportunity for all. My dad grew up with President Reagan, and although the Reagans lived in town and Dad's family were tenent farmers, I'll bet they all ate beans for supper.

The richest 5% of Americans pay 50% of the taxes. I don't know what percentage of the top 5% vote, but I doubt that anyone takes that humble stuff too seriously.

Also, Clark and Lieberman weren't exactly impoverished.

Re:Whose ashamed of wealth???

Interesting observations, thanks. Not sure I agree, but certainly thought-provoking.

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