Humble Beginnings

Christian Schneider lambastes Pawlenty for politicizing his blue-collar roots:

Should we discount Paul Ryan because his family was fairly well off? Did Mitch Daniels drop out of the presidential race because his father was an executive at a pharmaceutical company? Is Al Gore’s opulent upbringing more objectionable than, say, everything he’s done since then?

Douthat defends T-Paw:

[T]he point of highlighting a candidate’s humble background isn’t just to suggest a “jes’ folks” common touch. It’s to emphasize how far they’ve come in life — all the way from that “house with a car up on blocks” to whatever distinguished office they hold now. In these kind of political narratives, growing up poor isn’t just being presented as evidence of character and accomplishment in and of itself. Rather, what’s being suggested is that growing up poor and then making something impressive of yourself is a more significant accomplishment than being born in relative comfort and doing well in life.