Rep. Jared Golden Steps In An Enormous Pile Of BS On Twitter

My representative, Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District (we only have two) is pictured here with two of the other three members of our congressional delegation plus their party leader President Biden. (Senator Susan Collins is missing.) Collectively these people have sent $160 Billion to Ukraine.

Here’s what he posted to Twitter yesterday, getting thoroughly roasted by his own party. It appears to be in response to this follow-the-money article: “Golden’s Blue Dogs Get Money From Sallie Mae After Opposing Student Debt Relief” by Dan Neumann in the Maine Beacon.

The ratio on this (negative comments vs. supportive comments) was enormous. It sounds ignorant enough for me to believe that Golden actually wrote it himself, but such tasks are usually done by comms staffers.

Let’s break down his arguments.

The phrase “radical leftist elites” caused equal parts of hilarity and pushback. In Maine??? Super old, super white, and, in the district he represents, super conservative demographics. Some comments waded into the oxymoron of “leftist elites” but I’m going to give Golden a pass on this one because of years of corporate media claiming that people like him and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-CD1) are “leftist” have deliberately confused many about the meaning of that word.

I am an actual leftist, and I don’t believe in elites. Mostly because this is the kind of garbage government they produce.

Next point: “silence and destroy anyone who disagrees with your views and goals.” This one is highly ironic coming from a person who takes big money from tech giants like Apple who are in the business of silencing dissenting speech at the behest of the federal government. But it’s a dog whistle for his largely MAGA electorate.

He stands by his vote against a paltry $10k student loan forgiveness bill. It’s not unusual for him to vote against the Democratic herd (unless it’s on wars or military, that is). Maybe Golden plans to drop the D in 2024 and run as an “independent” since that’s worked so well for Senator Angus King?

Here’s where the comments really went nuts: “They [college loan recipients] were privileged to have the opportunity and many of them left college well-situated to make six figures for life.” Bre Kidman, an attorney who doesn’t live in Golden’s district:

Okay here’s where he really goes off the rails: “The Twitterati can keep bemoaning their privileged status and demanding handouts all they want…”

Some are opining that an intern wrote this but use of the absurd and laughable term Twitterati implies to me that an older conservative author was responsible. Also who “bemoans” their “privileged status”? The bemoaning I hear in Maine is from people living on the streets who’ve got nothing to eat, or are about to get evicted because their rent has skyrocketed, or can’t believe their insanely high grocery bills. Or can’t afford medical care they desperately need. (Golden abandoned his first campaign promise to support Medicare for All after taking money from the health “care” industry plus tech firms looking to expand into health “care”.)

“…but as far as I’m concerned if they want free money for college, they can join the Marines like I, and so many others, have done in the past and many more will in the future.” Now we arrive at the real point of this ungrammatical post (maybe he did write it himself): making college debt prohibitively high, with no escape route via bankruptcy, is a strategy to boost military recruitment. 

Was Golden supposed to say the quiet part out loud?

In any case it’s been an abject failure because currently only 9% of those in the right age band will even consider military enlistment, and the Pentagon is struggling to find enough recruits. Their own research found the reasons that so few want to follow Golden’s example: they don’t want to die or be injured, they don’t want to leave friends and family, and they don’t want to put their lives on hold (in that order).Maybe the decades of U.S. wars where the only winners are the military-industrial complex are a factor? Either way, literate young people who qualify want nothing to do with the U.S. military.Also, much of the pushback on this notion came from disabled Mainers.

Meanwhile, over on reddit, even his fellow veterans weren’t buying it.

Finally, there was a lot of pushback on Golden voting to forgive PPP loans that corporate entities like (checks notes) the biggest law firm in Maine took out in 2020.

All in all, beating up on a generation shackled by predatory loans in an economy where most can’t make a living wage, afford homeownership, or start a family is bully behavior. Way to punch down, forgetting (?) that you represent one of the lowest income areas in the nation. 

But not to worry, he’s fundraising in the rich part of Maine.

Rich Men North Of Richmond vs Try That In A Small Town

Two summer anthems of disaffection with decay in the U.S. could not be more different. Yes, they’re both in the country genre and feature male leads but one is a pro-policing screed that couldn’t be slicker, and the other is as genuine as it gets.

Viral hit “Try That In A Small Town” from Jason Aldean’s 11th album was written by a team not including Aldean, recorded in a studio, and then embellished with one of the more incoherent music videos I’ve seen. Granted I don’t see that many music videos, but my impression of this one was that the lead singer is mailing it in while the montage of images behind him — flag-draped White House, looting, assault — do the heavy lifting. Basically a 2nd Amendment commercial laced with the kind of threats you may remember from your elementary school playground.

The artist denies it, but dog whistle racist imagery abounds. It’s possible this song could be construed as a campaign ad for Trump since the disorder depicted is widely viewed by Republicans as occurring under the Biden administration and Democratic mayors of big cities.

(For an insightful discussion of disorder and other electoral issues, I highly recommend Matt Taibbi and Walter Kirn’s “America This Week: Campaign Preview” available here.)

Newer viral hit “Rich Men North Of Richmond” is performed by singer/songwriter Oliver Anthony in a lightly amplified outdoor setting. He nails the aggrieved white working class male lament in a way that the wealthy Aldean’s performance only mimics. 

Or maybe it’s not even a particularly white point of view? Rapper TRE TV nodded along in sympathy before sharing his reaction to Anthony’s intro, I been selling my soul, working all day, overtime hours for bullshit pay:

That’s how we all feel. We working, ain’t getting nowhere, the money ain’t adding up. You get your check and you’re like, What. Is. This?…Hell, this thing missing a couple of zeros!

I thought the vocals were tough.. and the message. I give this a 10. 

Anthony also takes a potshot at riders on Epstein’s “Lolita Express,” excess taxation, and references the suicide epidemic among young men suffering under top down control from the rich men north of Richmond. An interview with the singer revealed he was specifically thinking of Washington DC swamp monsters when he penned the alliterative line (he appears to like puns, rhyming, and alliteration).

He goes off the rails only once when he engages in fat shaming aimed at food stamp recipients. Hard to know for sure, but maybe he has an ex-girlfriend who’s 5 foot 3, weighs 300 pounds, and is partial to fudge roll?

It cracks me up how conservatives are trying to claim Oliver Anthony for their own. Did they listen to his words? Cue the mainstream media, now in overdrive claiming the song is a big hit with the right but leaving leftists cold. Wealthy media are having to spin extra hard to depict the ballad as a rallying cry for Civil War 2.0. You know, the war the wealthy hope we have instead of the revolution we need.

The problem with their analysis, of course, is that right and especially left have become so diluted in meaning that the terms are increasingly useless. Anthony has shared with journalists that he considers himself a centrist with no allegiance to either of the corporate parties.

Chris Hedges writes searingly about this from time to time. His latest is set in rural Maine aka northern Appalachia where I live and which, this time of year, looks nearly identical to the West Virginia setting of Anthony’s video. “Forgotten Victims of America’s Class War” lays out about as well as anything I’ve read how left vs. right or red vs. blue are increasingly meaningless in a gutted economy that’s failing working people.