One of the most absurd aspects of American political culture is watching rich and powerful politicians pretend to be just like the common folk they’re trying to appeal to. ThinkProgress catches a perfect example, a Republican Senate candidate in Massachusetts, state Rep. Dan Winslow, talking about how much he hates yacht clubs while winning a straw poll held at a yacht club:
“They gave us three minutes to speak today; three minutes is longer than I ever wanted to spend in a yacht club,” Winslow said. “I am not a tea and crumpets Republican. I am here because there are activists here. I am running a grassroots campaign.”
This bit of aw shucks, I’m just a regular Joe feigning might be a bit more believable if Winslow hadn’t served on the board of directors of a yacht club as recently as 2011. It reminds me of George W. Bush, the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful political families, who was educated at Phillips Exeter and Yale, pretending to be a shit-kicking Texas cowboy. As Bill Maher pointed out long ago, he was basically wearing a costume. It would have been no less absurd if he had pretended to be a pirate.