While Republicans Cry 'Class Warfare,' Perry Bashes Elites

"Hedge fund managers," Obama said in a speech Monday, should pay the same tax rates as "plumbers and teachers." That will play neatly into another phrase Rep. Paul Ryan tested out in May -- "envy economics" -- while defending his budget plan -- which would have turned Medicare into a voucher system -- from Democrats' attacks by saying, "Class warfare may or may not be clever politics, but it is terrible economics." (He dropped the "may nots" on Sunday, this time about President Obama's deficit reduction plan.) The thing is, Obama's not the only one who knows populism makes for good politics -- so does Rick Perry, the guy leading the Republican race to replace Obama in the White House.

Perry sees elites everywhere, including his own party. He's been attacking his biggest rival for the 2012 nomination, Mitt Romney, as a fancy effeminate elite, telling Iowa voters Friday, "I was the son of tenant farmers and sure wasn't born with four aces in my hand." It was a play on the line Romney used at a debate to downplay Perry's jobs record: "If you're dealt four aces, that doesn't make you necessarily a great poker player." Perry continued with a bit of down-home populist resentment: "There's some folks back in Texas who are real offended by that. We work hard in Texas. We put good, hard, practical principles into play," The Washington Post reported. It's far from the first time Perry's played that card. When asked how he was different from George W. Bush, Perry said, "I went to Texas A&M. He went to Yale."

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