"Obama And Elitism" In George CostanzaLand

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:54

I wish there as a way of getting a message like this out:

The son of a navy admiral who was also the son of a navy admiral, who has been in the senate since the time that Poison was taken seriously, and has been running for President since 1999 is calling me elitist?  

by: Valatan @ Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 21:01

Of course Obama is an elitist.  He's a friggin US Senator for God's sake!  They're all elitists!  The only question is, what kinds of elitists are they?  They're either elitists who want to raise other people up. Or elitists who want to keep other people down.  It's really just that simple.

In Malice In George CostanzaLand, I focused on how two elite twits (Chris Matthews and sidekick) criticized Obama for acting like a regular person and asking for what he wanted in a diner, rather than performing an act of being a "regular guy".   The folks who ru[i]n our political system are so totally immersed in Versailles that all they know is how to pretend to be "regular guys."  Actually being a regular guy is, quite literally, inconceivable to them.

But, of course, the diner story went nowhere.  Another attempt to present Obama as a clueless elitist has been much more successful--spinning his remarks about the causes and consequences of rural and small-town bitterness.

And, unfortunately, this second attempt has even been furthered here on Open Left, in the frontpage diary, More Obama & Elitism.

But it should be absolutely clear that the context for both episodes is exactly the same.  Both took place in George CostanzaLand, where "appearance and reality, trivia and subtance, lies and truth, myth and reality have all changed places."

Obama told the truth

and the media treat it as a gaffe. Classic case. He's exactly on point about working-class frustration with Washington politicians.

by: jcullen @ Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 20:47

Paul Rosenberg :: "Obama And Elitism" In George CostanzaLand
In More Obama & Elitism, tremayne wrote:

Full disclosure: I like Obama and I am more excited (at this stage) about his candidacy than anyone since Dukakis (okay, that didn't turn out so good). But I think some are either missing the point on this "elitism" controversy or just ignoring reality....

The real problem to me is this. He said people: 1. Turned to religion because they were bitter; 2. Turned to guns because they were bitter; 3. Turned on people not like them because they were bitter; 4. Turned against immigrants because they were bitter; 5. Were against free trade because they were bitter.

Now, it may be true that tendency toward and frequency of holding each of these positions increases as one is embittered by the economic situation. But the implication is that people can't do these things or hold these views unless they are bitter. There's the problem for Obama.

In response TerraFF wrote:

The thing is

He didn't say that and people don't think that he said that.

Its an easy misinterpretation to make if you don't do what he said or you don't know anyone like that.  (Which is why the Clintons and McCain are pouncing.  They are out of touch.  You notice its the people like Andrew Sullivan who are saying  other people will be offended by this and not the people in question)

What he said was is that people get bitter about their economic conditions and no longer believe that democrats will help them.  So they vote on social issues.  They would vote on economic issues if they believed the promises.

Andf leshrac55 wrote:

Just the latest in a series of "controversies"

I said this way back, but this is just the standard cycle of he said/she said BS news coverage... Something new for the news to talk about, just as with Naftagate, just as with Wright, just as with Tuzla-gate, and now this.  This will be replaced by debate coverage, which will probably bring up something else to talk about anyway.

I still have a problem with your characterization, although perhaps I'm just being too charitable here:

"The real problem to me is this. He said people: 1. Turned to religion because they were bitter; 2. Turned to guns because they were bitter; 3. Turned on people not like them because they were bitter; 4. Turned against immigrants because they were bitter; 5. Were against free trade because they were bitter."

Again, this is a perception thing, and obviously this is how Clinton, McCain and Fox will want to portray this, but this is NOT what he's trying to say.  It's much simpler than that:  people vote on non-economic issues because they don't trust politicians to actually do anything for them.  That's all it is... They vote on these "solid" issues because it's the only thing that they can kind of KNOW the candidate will support or not support, etc.

And bruhrabbit wrote:

Well aren't you smart than us  

Except like others have said- that's not what he said. It's your not understanding what he said. You can say its inartful. You can say he should have said in a different way- but his point is that- "people don't trust us on economic issues, so they vote their social values." If he had said it more succintly like this I doubt you would have felt hte need to post what you wrote. Instead, the problem is how he said it. In other words, the gaffe is as others are saying- form over substance. Maybe we "don't get it" but maybe, just maybe you don't either. My problem with your diary is that you are turning your opinion into CW which then becomes facts although they aren't facts, something discussed at length by Rosenberg here. He's elitist because he's elistist and I am going to restructure the facts to say he's elistists. Your post only makes sense if you take the two parties- the context- out of the situation. It makes no sense i n the context of Democrats v Republicans. You do know that ?

And here's what Glenn Greenwald wrote, in Great American Hypocrites about the process that Clinton--and now, sadly, Open Left, are helping to promote (he was using the Edwards haircut story as his template):

What is notable here is not so much the specific petty attacks, but rather the method by which they are disseminated and then entrenched as conventional wisdom among our Really Smart Political Insiders and Serious Journalists.  This is the endlessly repeated process that occurred here:
    STEP 1 A new Drudge-dependent gossip (Ben Smith) at a new substance-free political rag (The Politico)--or some rightwing talkradio host (Rush Limbaugh) or some credibility-bereft right-wing blogger (a Michelle Malkin)--seizes on some petty, manufactured incident to fuel clichéd caricatures of Democratic candidates.

    STEP 2 The old right-wing gossip (Drudge) employs his old, substance-free political rag (The Drudge Report) to amplify the inane caricatures.

    STEP 3 National media outlets, such as AP and CNN, whose world is ruled by Drudge, take note of and begin "analyzing" the "political implications" of the gossip, thus transforming it into "news stories."

    STEP 4 Our Serious Beltway Journalists and Political Analysts--in the Haircut Case, Tim Russert and Brian Williams and Adam Nagourney and the very serious and smart Substantive Journalists at The New Republic--mindlessly repeat all of it, thereby solidifying it as transparent conventional wisdom.

    STEP 5 When called upon to justify their endless reporting over such petty and pointless Drudge-generated matters, these "journalists" cite Steps 1-4 as "proof" that "the people" care about these stories, even though the "evidence" consists of nothing other than their own flocklike chirping

Congratulations to everyone who's helped out the Rightwing Noice Machine on this one.  We couldn't have done it without you!

82 percent, folks.  Just remember: That's the "wrong track" number.  An awful lot of folks out here are bitter.  And the last thing that the real elitists want us to do is get clear about who and what we should be bitter about.

They want us to do "The Opposite," while they keep on living the good life in George CostanzaLand.

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Great Post (0.00 / 0)
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There's a genuine concern about these things (4.00 / 1)
  It's only a small handful of OpenLeft contributors who aid and abet the noise machine's promotion of these banal media-ginned "controversies" -- and most of the time it's the usual suspects.

 The problem is that the media fanning these banalities does have an electoral impact, and there's a healthy amount of discussion as to how big the impact will be. When CNN's talking haircuts drool over how this latest "scandal" dooms Obama's campaign (as Wright was going to, of course), we need to do what we can to push back.  As silly as this stuff is, ignoring it is not an option.

 If Obama weathered Wright, I'm pretty sure he'll weather this. BUT -- and this is a big BUT -- he needs the legacy media to broadcast his responses with the same exposure the McClintons' attacks receive. And the Sunday talk shows today were about 10-1 anti-Obama.

 Obama has proven he can brilliantly defuse these dumb lines of attack -- but if nobody hears him, it won't matter.

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

This Is What I Was Worried About From The Get-Go With Obama (4.00 / 3)
But I have to say that the timing, ironically, is the best that he could have hoped for.  By having the media turn on him now he's got plenty of time to adjust.  If they had waited and pulled this switchero in September, I think it might have proven fatal.

I really don't think he gets it yet about the media.  But a couple more go-rounds like this, and he'll a whole lot more clear-eyed, IMHO.  His response to the Wright controversy was so good, and so well-covered that he didn't really have to confront how frikken evil the media is.  But now it's just starting to sink in. Maybe.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
The other thing (4.00 / 2)
The Sunday talk shows have one main audience -- insiders, politicians, and journalists. They are obviously important in terms of setting the retarded Conventional 'Wisdom' that the talking heads then parrot for the rest of the week, but hardly anyone outside of the Belway and the Media-Industrial Complex watches them or cares (look at the ratings).

As you keep rightly pointing out, Paul, the people in this country are a lot smarter than the media stars and politicians generally give them credit for. 82% is a stunning number. Frankly, I think an episode like this just shines the spotlight more brightly on how out of touch these insiders are -- the establishment media just keeps looking more and more silly with what they choose to focus on.

I don't have any real proof on this point, except this: Rasmussen came out with polls of PA yesterday, showing either Barack or Hillary handily beating McCain in Penna now, whereas a month ago McCain was nominally beating both. That's a ten point swing in a month. In spite of all the bullshit the establishment media tries to focus on, when the Democratic nominees actually talk to the voter for an extended period of time, polling shows that the Democrats win.

I don't mean to underestimate the damage the establishment media can inflict on our discourse and our polity, but I think the noise machine era is coming to a close. Either Barack or Hillary will have enough $ to get their message out this fall. Beating the drum to get the establishment media to TELL THE TRUTH about John McCain will take much venting of spleen in the months to come. But the citizen press has made a big dent in the establishment media, and the people writ large get that they've been being lied to for a long time now.

[ Parent ]
Quite Right! (0.00 / 0)
The insider CW doesn't even have enough pull to poison the local media coverage.  If it did, then the campaign wouldn't be shfitng voters from McCain to the Dems.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Elite yes. Elitist? Not so much. (0.00 / 0)
He's not looking down on anyone.  

Beg To Differ (4.00 / 2)
I wrote some time ago about how Obama was a "progressive" in the early 20th Century sense, and that movement was definitely a movement of elites--primarily old-line New England elites.  That was its backbone.  While many of them actively struggled against their elitist attitudes, they really never did cotton to labor unions, and they regarded socialists as the enemy.

Obama's elitism is expressed in the nature of his policy perspectives, in his infatuation with "free trade," his talk about "irresponsible borrowers" as part of the subprime mess, who shouldn't be helped out, etc.  It's reflected as well in snafus like the recent, rapidly reversed, mass expulsion of grassroots delegate candidates.  It's far milder than that of McSame, Tweety & Co, but it's there, nonetheless.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
I beg to differ (0.00 / 0)
Here is what Obama said about the subprime mess:

He called for six principles for greater regulation and modernization of the nation's economic institutions, including:
(1) Government oversight for any entity that borrows from the federal government;
(2) An overall reform of the regulations governing financial institutions;
(3) Streamlining the nation's regulatory institutions;
(4) Regulations should be applied to what an organization does rather than what it is (e.g. financial regulations regarding sub-prime loans only applied to banks, allowing mortgage brokers to issue these loans without oversight);
(5) The SEC actively investigating market manipulation;
(6) And the creation of a financial oversight commission that identifies risks to the nation's financial system.

In calling for the oversight, Obama made a populist appeal.

"If we can extend a hand to banks on Wall Street, we can extend a hand to Americans who are struggling," he said, referring to the Fed's recent bailout of Bear Stearns. He also said that ordinary Americans had experienced the effects of a recession for the past several years and said that this was the only period in American history where incomes had not grown along with corporate profits.

He was introduced by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who told the crowd that "the federal government had become a poster child of irresponsibility." Bloomberg claimed that the current crisis was "an enormous challenge of leadership" and then told the audience that the stage on which Obama would give his speech was the one on which "Lincoln provided a brilliant defense of his position on slavery."

In calling for a more active government role, Obama contrasted his approach with Republican nominee John McCain's.  

"John McCain recently announced his own plan, and it amounts to little more than watching this crisis happen," Obama said. "While this is consistent with Senator McCain's determination to run for George Bush's third term, it won't help families who are suffering, and it won't help lift our economy out of recession."

McCain in turn released a written statement in which he said he was open "to considering any and all proposals" that tried to help those with foreclosed homes. Offering his own rationale for a governmental approach, he argued that aid should go to the "truly needy" to "prevent systemic economic risk" and enact reforms that increased transparency.  Attacking his Democratic opponents, he also said, "[W]hat is not necessary is multi-billion dollar bailout for big banks and speculators, as Senators Clinton and Obama have proposed."

Obama said today he agreed with McCain that the government shouldn't reward irresponsible borrowers with a bailout but claimed that McCain was turning a blind eye to individual homeowners who had not tried to profit on the system. He again touted Sen. Chris Dodd's proposal, which would create a Housing Security Program to help with buyouts of existing mortgages, so those facing foreclosure could pay mortgages at more modified interest rates.

"It asks both sides to sacrifice, while preventing a long-term collapse that could have enormous ramifications for the most responsible lenders and borrowers, as well as the American people as a whole," Obama said of Dodd's plan today. "That is what Senator McCain ignores."


John McCain doesn't care about Vets.

[ Parent ]
Oh God! (4.00 / 1)
I thought we had finally gotten beyond this brain-dead Obamaphile style of "debate."

To wit: Pointing to one policy wonk document does nothing to mitigate other things that Obama has said and done, or failed to say and do.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
But is does serve to put in context if not refute (0.00 / 0)
Your characterization of Obama's statements.

John McCain doesn't care about Vets.

[ Parent ]
Only A Clueless Policy Wonk (0.00 / 1)
would think that a paper 99% of people never heard of puts in context things that are repeated on the nightly news.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Ha Ha. That was a link from MSNBC. You've heard of them, right? (4.00 / 1)
But keep with the ad hominem attacks -- very persuasive.

John McCain doesn't care about Vets.

[ Parent ]
Interesting. I think there (0.00 / 0)
were irresponsible borrowers as well but certainly not all of them but I understand what you mean about the language he's employing. The question for me is does he mean everyone or is he talking about the house flippers? Also, he works (and has worked) with labor unions right? I haven't seen anything to suggest that he's thinks of them as the enemy.  

[ Parent ]
What Part of "Welfare Queen" Don't You Undertand??? (4.00 / 1)
Inquiring minds want to know.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Speaking of elitism... (0.00 / 0)
There seems to be a notion floating around that everyone who signed up for a variable rate mortgage that they most likely couldn't afford was duped into it by the evil lenders.  Of course it's the lenders' fault--they were picking on stupid people!

Cheers, Matt Flynn

[ Parent ]
Not In The Least (4.00 / 2)
This was a sophisticated con, which was first sold to the political elites over a period of 20+ years.  Devolving from there, many of the people involved in the lending process didn't even understand what they were doing.  Folks who signed these mortgages were not only systematically mislead, they were cut off from virtually any independent source of informaiton, and they were denied more reasonable alternatives.

They weren't stupid.  They were targetted.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
martgages and elitism (0.00 / 0)
My tongue was firmly planted in my cheek with the "stupid people" line, but we're still saying that somehow WE know how the whole situation works/worked, and yet the people who were targeted did not.

And the formula was always right there in front of people--a low interest rate for 1, 3, or 5 years, and then a rate that VARIES.  Meaning it could go up, and probably would, given how low rates were.  Some of the folks were happy to be duped, and fools to be surprised by what happened.

Others were not, obviously.  Some weren't sure they could afford their loans, but trusted the lenders when they were told that things would work out.  Others didn't understand that the reason they were sub-prime was because their jobs were high-risk.  They were encouraged to make bad decisions, and they made them.  Still, others knew better than to believe the banks.

I personally had lenders banging on my door to lend me more money than I could afford.  My wife and I said no, and locked in to a fixed-rate mortgage instead.  Are we geniuses?  Are we elite?  I don't think so.  Perhaps we were simply avoiding irrational exuberance after the stock market debacle, but there's got to be some reason why we didn't do it and others did.

Anyhow, it does seem to me that classifying the folks who signed their lives away as victims, while we ourselves were not victimized, can be easily viewed as elitism.

Cheers, Matt Flynn

[ Parent ]
Elitism of elites (0.00 / 0)
Where "elitism" gets turned upside down is when we forget that most people never understood algebra, half of the people have below average intelligence (whatever that means) and most people just don't have a great sense of math and numbers.

Someone tried to sell me a variable rate mortgage several years ago and I basically laughed in their face.  I understood the risk and there was no way I was going to sign up for that.

For those that actually understood they could end up not being able to afford their own house, then yea, it was a choice they made.  But for every one of those you have dozens of people who simply believed what they were told; these nifty new mortgages would allow them to afford a bigger house and/or have more money available for other things.

[ Parent ]
Stupid people? (0.00 / 0)
I hope you think about that long and hard the day you sign your life away on some 3pt font 24 page contract.

There for the Grace of God Go I might be a phrase to contemplate.


The Economic Populist

[ Parent ]
thankyou (0.00 / 0)
I'm so glad someone else sees that.  I feel like I'm in the twilight zone here where because Clinton has her Husbands record plus those DLC/lobbyist connections and we know McCain is a 100% corporate tool, people are trying to turn Obama into what they want him to be versus what is.

Only by looking at what is squarely in the eye can people start pressuring that campaign for policy positions in favor of working America, in the national economic interest.


The Economic Populist

[ Parent ]
This isn't just the GOP (0.00 / 0)
This is also other Democrats whether because they support Clinton or don't want economic issues discussed in this manner (see Big Tent Democrat)  are also spreading this. Do they care? Not so far as I can tell. Instead, they resort to calling people such as yourself "the creative class" or "Obama partisans" as a means of ad honinem attacks on the substances of what you are arguing about their aiding and abedding right wing tactics.  I will say this much- this cycle has been an eye openner for me. The blogs as a whole aren't places where people want to change things. They are places where people want to make a name for themselves and earn a living by becoming a part of the Washington establishment. Much of the "we want to change things" in DC mantra that once was among many blogs is gone because I now understand it was never real. If it were, there is no way they would resort to these tactics. They are too smart not to know what the impact of the tactics are.  If you want to know why I am cynical and pessimistic, this incident is one example among many that typify the greater problem.  

Oh, I Think The Impetus For Change Was Real (4.00 / 1)
I just think that people become all too easily entrenched in a "my way or the highway" approach to change, and once you do that, assimilation into the Borg collective becomes more a matter of "when," not "if."

People resort to such tactics because they are insufficiently critical--or perhaps, overly critical in a superficial way.  They fail to step back far enough to observe themselves crossing over the line from being part of the solution to being part of the problem.

You have every right to be cynical.  But this sort of devolution of high principle has happened repeatedly throughout our history, and yet we've generally managed to move forward, despite some long stretches of retrograde motion.  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Bill (0.00 / 0)
"This is also other Democrats whether because they support Clinton or don't want economic issues discussed in this manner (see Big Tent Democrat)  are also spreading this. Do they care? Not so far as I can tell."

Interestingly the one Hillary supporter who I think hasn't gone on the attack over this is Bill himself. Maybe (or maybe this is just wishful thinking) because he actually cares about the Democratic Party itself and doesn't want to use this GOP talking point because he thinks it ultimately hurts the party, not just Obama.

When asked about it yesterday in NC (where the entire Clinton apparatus was working up resentment to Obama to a fever-pitch, even giving out buttons saying "I'm not bitter"), all Bill said was "I agree with what Hillary said". That's it.

I don't really have a point here, I just found it interesting and made me respect Bill a little bit more.

[ Parent ]
Hey Bruh (4.00 / 1)
I used creative class yesterday in my comments because this is the site where I first encountered it;  Bowers uses it quite frequently and certainly not as an ad honinem.  I cringe every time I read it for the same reason I cringed when I saw Obama's comments, whether intended to or not, they serve to divide folks into almost anthropological categories to be studied as something mysterious and different (and I'll cop to being, I think, the first one to categorize what Obama was doing in San Fran. as engaging in "amateur anthropology" in explaining why small town folks in PA might not be supporting him).  Progressives, Dems, liberals (whatever we want to call ourselves) must not do this, whether we like it or not it is condescending...the only others out there are the right wingers, the corporatists and their media handmaidens.

My point then as it is now is that Obama and Democratic chances in November would be best-served to actually put forward and run hard on some bold truly progressive policies that fundamentally address the anger (and I believe it is anger not bitterness) felt not only by people in the Rust Belt but people all over America.   He did nothing to challenge his wealthy supporters (and my god it is precisely  this crowd who must be challenged because the same policies that have decimated the heartland have actually enriched them)last weekend and he does nothing to fundamentally challenge us except believe in him and his talk about something new and different.  

He said himself the folks he meets who are badly hurting economically want the concrete..so he runs through the talking points.  But that might be the problem, the talking points are uninspiring and really nothing different than they've heard before and certainly don't seem much different than what his challenger gives them.  And in this situation, nebulous talk about change and transformation probably sounds sounds exactly what it is is, nebulous.  So what's a voter in this situation to do?  Certainly in post-industrial America, maybe stick with the devil they know.

It also makes Obama at this point easy pickings for the Reps  and the Costanza media.  And that's where I return to my point from yesterday, as progressives we should be doing everything we can to move Obama as boldly forward as possible (the jury is still out for me whether this is possible, but I accept we have little choice) ...and to challenge him when he's screwing up.  It is the way to cut them off at the knees and actually win.  It is also the right thing to do.  

Much too long, I know.  I won't monopolize the space further.  Have a good day. Peace

[ Parent ]
If people were saying what you just wrote, then (0.00 / 0)
they wouldn't see me disagreeing. However to repeat the same frame that the GOP puts forward is my problem here. Not whether people should criticize Obama for not doing enough. I don't like the labels either. But I also don't like repeating the mantras that the GOP creates to destroy Democrats. Remember it was the repetition of the swiftboating that got to Kerry rather than what the swiftboaters actually did. This is what must stop, and every progressive should understand what they are doing.  

[ Parent ]
Thank You (4.00 / 1)
I loved your point about the Orange Juice - he wanted an OJ so he ordered one.  What is so hard about that to understand?

I will never forget Dee Dee Myers in '04 on one of those talking heads shows saying something like, "What was he thinking going wind-surfing?"  I literally screamed at my TV.    The Clintonistas have been good at playing this game for a long time.  Isn't the whole point of the DLC to make sure America knows that they are not crazy hippy Democrats like the rest of the party?    

Add this to list of unspeakable truths in America (0.00 / 0)
A. People cling to tradition in hard times.

B. Israel (rather than just Occasionally or Often) is an oppresses the Palestinian People

C. Over expressed Patriotism got us into the Iraq War

D. "White Flight" voters often have problems voting for Black Men.

E. 9/11 occurred because of our past involvements in the Middle East.

let's not spread lies (4.00 / 2)
We have to hammer this over and over and over, because we are getting sucked into a particularly stupid trap.

The official line is that people TURN TO guns and religion because of ...

Then the caterwauling begins:  that's not true, we have our religion because we believe in our religion.  We have guns because we like to go out in the woods and shoot animals.  Obama's statement is both false and dismissive of our culture.

In other words, bitterness PRECEDES guns and religion.  But Obama said, "they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment."

That's a completely different statement.  It accepts that people have guns and religion.  It states that people THEN cling ever tighter to these aspects of their lives because of ...

Get it?  No one should ever be able to get away with this switch.  I'll be charitable and call them sloppy, but ...

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...

cling (4.00 / 2)
Problem is 'cling' is not a good choice of words. It speaks of weakness, like a baby clinging to its teddy bear or blanket or mother's skirt.

That's where the charge of condescension comes from. Words evoke nebulous feelings and emotions and attachments beyond their literal meanings and context. Obama needs to nip this one in the bud quick. Might I suggest a full-throated and sustained class-conscious and overtly populist campaign that exposes the economic inequalities in this country?  

[ Parent ]
it's not a matter of word choice (4.00 / 4)
Some people do not like the substance of what Obama said, whether true or not, and no words will satisfy them.  They'll say he called them yokels, whether he did or not, because THEY think small-town folks are yokels.  Our carping over his phraseology ultimately concedes their point, plays their game, when it's the game itself that must be smashed.

Wait, doesn't the word "game" trivialize this?  Wait, doesn't "smashed" sound like 60's ultra-left rhetoric?  Wait, isn't the word "must" imply fascist authoritarianism?  Wait, doesn't the word "fascist" mean that the argument is already lost?  Wait, doesn't the word "lost" irritate Americans who don't like losers?  Wait, doesn't the word "word" imply petit-bourgeois intellectualism?  Wait ...

Oh, fuck it!

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...

[ Parent ]
Funniest Comment of The Day! (0.00 / 0)

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
But the political problem is precisely because of the word choice (0.00 / 0)
John Edwards's entire campaign was based on Obama's clumsy critique. And yet his words were never construed as "elitist" and what not (sure his actions were, in terms of hair cut etc., but never his message or words).

[ Parent ]
Edwards was never a contender (0.00 / 0)
Like Marlowe says of Canino in the Big Sleep, first he'll beat your teeth out, then he'll kick you in the stomach for mumbling.

They'll ALWAYS find something, if finding something is what they want to do.  We have to stay on message and not play the gotcha game.  Their game, they always win.

I thought Marlowe handled Canino rather well.

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...

[ Parent ]
Cling--Klingon--Kardassian--Borg! (0.00 / 0)
I gots more scary words than you!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Borg (0.00 / 0)
Now that would have been a nice substitute!

"They borg to their guns!"  A perfectly crumulent descriptive.

[ Parent ]
slightly OT: Stephanopolous mentioned a new super delegate (0.00 / 0)
endorsement for Obama this morning. Anybody know anything about this?

new endorsement (4.00 / 1)
A DNC member from Minnesota: Nancy Larson
Leaves only one superdelegate from MN undeclared (9 for Obama, 3 for Hillary).

[ Parent ]
Thanks and I see it's now up on Quick Hits n/t (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Thank you for this post (4.00 / 3)
Democrats need to focus on correcting the real outrages being committed in our name: the undermining of our Constitution, the theft of our children's inheritance, the destruction of Iraq and the corporate assault on common decency.

This campaign has a bitter aftertaste.

You'll understand.... (4.00 / 2)
if I don't think of myself as part of the "right-wing noise machine" just because I think in this instance Obama messed up. I'm not just an Obama supporter but an enthusiastic supporter but that doesn't mean I will support everything he says or avoid discussing what to do about for fear of aiding the noise machine. I don't think there are a lot of Openleft readers who will see a discussion like this and decide to vote for McCain as a result.

I was seeing far too many comments like "What? He didn't say anything wrong, what he said was true, people are bitter about empty promises" which failed to address the actual problem in this case. If you don't talk about it/discuss it/think about it then you and/or people within the campaign won't know the best way forward. I think those discussions are EXACTLY what blogs such as this are for.

Common sense would dictate that he would drop (0.00 / 0)
a few points from this for a few days at least. The media is giving it pretty heavy coverage.

Muhammed Ali used to use the rope-a-dope (hanging out on the ropes, letting his opponents rain blows on him) strategy to get his opponents to wear out and/or open themselves up. Then he'd unload. It seems to me Obama's pretty good at rope-a-dope politics.

He'll take a temporary hit but come out okay, as usual. And we may even get to see Bill and Hillary in orange vests before it's all over ;-)

[ Parent ]
Messed up (4.00 / 1)
At some level, the very fact that his comments flared up to a controversy, no matter how contrived, proves they were a gaff.  But there will always be something.  Politically, the most important aspect is how he responds.

Note that politicians always sound overly guarded and unwilling to say what they actually believe.  This is why.  But people hate that in politicians.  Which means to avoid sounding that way you have to be willing to make the occasional gaff.  

It is like getting in a first serve in tennis.  It seems like you would want 100% of you first serves to go in, but you really don't because the only way to achieve that goal is to play too conservatively.  It is worth the occasional gaff in order to sound less like a politician and more like an actual human being.  You just gotta find the correct ratio.

[ Parent ]
And The Fact That The Downing Street Memos Were Ignored (4.00 / 1)
by the US media means that there was nothing wrong in them.

Got it!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Exactly! (0.00 / 0)
Nobody here cared so obviously it was okey-dokey.

[ Parent ]
And Nancy Pelosi ISN'T Speaker of the House (0.00 / 0)
And Hastert's seat isn't now held by a Democrat.


"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Your Rationale Is Impecable (4.00 / 1)
It' just that your premise is mistaken.

I never said you were part of the "right-wing noise machine."  But you are inadvertantly doing its work for it.

82% "wrong track."

When do we get to "bitter"?


"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Oh good. (0.00 / 0)
Glad I'm not part of it, just helping it is all. I feel better. How am I helping it exactly?  

[ Parent ]
You're Helping It By Writing The Diary You Did (4.00 / 1)
instead of, say, something along the lines of what Robert Oak wrote here, which actually addresses the underlying issue, rather than adding further fuel to the spin.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
I keep going back to it, but (4.00 / 1)
in response to my making the same criticism of Big Tent over at Talk Left he returns to being defensive by saying I am ridiculous, etc, rather than admitting his part in spreading these right wing frames. They simply can't admit how they play a part in this.  

[ Parent ]
Ironically, This Is The Same Thing Obama Does (0.00 / 0)
When he praises Reagan, or falsely attacks secular humanists like me for supposedly squealching the voices of religious folks in the Democratic Party.

Hmmm.... now why didn't I think of that angle during the Wright brouhaha?  Could it be because I never even remotely think about shutting people up about their progressive values?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Well, that's my point too (4.00 / 1)
That this attack as a gaffe doesn't help with other arguemnts, and indeed is something that we have argued Obama is guilty of having done in the past also. Namely attacking the idea that we need to fight for progressive values.  

[ Parent ]
Intent is irrelevant to what you accomplish (4.00 / 1)
The road to hell as they say is paved with good intentions. Maybe you need to remember that line the next time you post something without thinking of the consequences of what you are writing. The ironny of course is that even as you talk about Obama's mistakes you can not admit to your own here without becoming defensive about how you aren't a right wing nose maker. Do you think one has to intend to be a right wing noise maker to their job for them anyhow? Did everyone who spread the lies about kerry intend to spread the lies about kerry when he was swift boated?

[ Parent ]
Gosh, When You Put It That Way... (0.00 / 0)
The parallels between Obama's inadevertant "gaffe" and tremayne's inadvertant replicaiton of the rightwing rightwing spin on Obama start to overwhelm everything else.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Creative Class == Elite (0.00 / 0)
Every now and again in these debates it occurs to me that I'm a bit of an elitist as well.  Clearly, I'm part of the "creative class" and don't have a great handle on those who never went to college (or even graduated high school) and live their lives doing manual labor.  While I care a great deal about these people (note the use of the word, "these") it is quite easy for such thoughts to turn academic, theoretical and wonky; i.e., elitist.

I'm sure it comes to a shock that everyone running for president is an elite as are all the talking heads.  Funny, that.

the meme (0.00 / 0)
Obama is wrong, very wrong and so are many people on the blogs.  Calling rural America gun toting fundamentalist,  protectionist, isolationist, racist xenophobes is not how to win friends and influence people.

This theme of either you are for open borders or you are a racist xenophobe has been going on for a long time and yes this isn't the first time I've seen this sort of rhetoric and framing coming from Obama.

Somehow, people thinks it's perfectly ok to name call like this on the left and frankly it's not.

It's also not what is happening on the ground, in small town jobs and  factories, in manufacturing jobs.  Jobs are being offshore outsourced, China is a major economic and also a military threat and yes we have a biased trade treaty with China to move jobs offshore.  Just look at the trade deficit to see the facts.  Look at the costs of illegal immigration and just how much wages have dropped in a series of occupational areas (meatpacking, construction, landscaping).

These economic issues are real.  Worker displacement is real.

I get the feeling people who are blogging all have trust funds or somehow identify with affluence and have never even driven through the rust belt, or gone to Detroit or even talked to local workers as they go about their errands never mind have ever lived in a blue collar area or in rural America.  

The issue isn't bitter, or frustrated, the issue is Obama does not have any policy positions that will truly rebuild our manufacturing base, stop the flow of illegal labor, not endorse the corporate controlled global migration agenda, take on China both in trade and military agenda and truly support and raise up the American people.

Take for example NAFTA.  Obama does not have any policy to really renegotiate trade agreements.  Worker and Environmental standards will not stop labor arbitrage through these trade agreements.  The tariff schedule from China alone ensures that.  Adding insult to injury by name calling these people just solidifies some philosophy that all of these very real issues, with real statistics, real data proving they are real, Obama is going to ignore because somehow it goes against some personal philosophy....the facts that is.

What I find amazing is how so many people are so out of touch, they cannot even realize what the insult in those statements is.  

Close your computers and open your eyes.  Volunteer for Barry Welsh (IN-6th) and get out there and talk to people in an area that has truly been decimating by much of their complaints.  Listen to these people and realize what they are saying is valid.  The complaints from rural America are real, these are real economic issues and has nothing to do with some sort of perceived cultural identity as is being assumed.

They don't trust the candidates because Candidates are not offering solutions which address these issues and put US workers first, simple as that.


The Economic Populist

I Think You're Missing Something Here, Robert (4.00 / 2)
As I've read it, this is actually Obama at his most progressive, actually groping his way toward beginning to realize what you've been talking about all along.

He was saying, ala What's The Matter With Kansas, "Look, we've abandoned these people on economic security, so they naturally turn to whatever they can find."  In fact, he showed the first glimmers of understanding that folks don't support "free trade" because their lives have been left out of the "free trade" equation.

This is still a loooong ways from having any sort of policy that actually does something about it, and I think you know quite well that I have pointed this out repeatedly, and even pointed folks to you work, both here and on your own blog.  So I'm 100% with you on that point.

But my point is that--partly because he's been campaigning in the Rust Belt for some time now--we're beginning to see the first signs of him beginning to sniff in the right direction.  It's been a long time coming, and it's only words so far, but he's beginning to get a clue here.

And what happens?  This controversy erupts that has nothing to do with the fundamental issue he was just beginning to notice and try to come to grips with, and everything to do with burying it.

That's why I'm critical.

The issue isn't bitter, or frustrated, the issue is Obama does not have any policy positions that will truly rebuild our manufacturing base, stop the flow of illegal labor, not endorse the corporate controlled global migration agenda, take on China both in trade and military agenda and truly support and raise up the American people.

Well, that should be the issue.  But this entire brouhahah is all about utterly buryng even the remotest possibility of having that discussion.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Groping is right! (0.00 / 0)
He doesn't get it and because he is from the S. side of Chicago, frankly he really should.  Counseling a bunch of people who lost their jobs in a factory shut down, well, that's not what those people needed, what they needed were new jobs that paid at least the same or better.  They don't need "counseling", they need to be enabled to produce and work.  In all seriousness, doesn't that sound just a little condescending, counseling, as if those people don't already know exactly what they need, which is an income that doesn't imply the working homeless?

It reminds me of the Senate financial crisis bill just based, they gave $100M for counseling to people instead of what they really need which is a way out from under those predatory mortgages and rates!  They need the bankruptcy law changed so judges can restructure the mortgages and thus they won't lose their homes.  Counseling to me means yet another special interest group just got $100M dollars to do a lot of condescending nothingness instead of actually taking action for working America.

I did read What's the Matter with Kansas (great book!) and I have been monitoring Obama's policy positions, votes, and economic advisers for some time.
(Did you read the section of illegal workers wiping out wages in the meatpacking industry and the resulting working conditions thereof by the way?)

Let's talk about What's the Matter with the Left for a moment.

Obama has repeatedly claimed people are immigrant bashing when complaining about illegal immigration, guest worker Visas and even trade.

I hate to say this but we have Democratic leaders pushing legislation constantly per the request of illegal immigrants and so on, but they don't put Americans 1st .  I mean Americans are getting rejected from college, cannot afford college, having their job offshore outsourced that they just went to college for and into massive debt for... so when they see something like the Dream Act, it really pisses them off.  When their kid with the 4.0+++++ just was rejected from even getting into college and they see this, yes, it's assuredly pisses them off.  Working America and their needs are ignored yet come hell or high water, the illegals get legislation written for them.  I don't want to get into this legislation being good or bad, more I'm trying to explain the anger.  

Obama  would not even acknowledge that black unskilled workers now have a 40% wage repression as a direct result of illegal immigration in a debate.  Now anyone who has ECON101 from college should understand the law of downward sloping demand curves, i.e. increase supply, all else reasonably static, wages will go down.  

I mention these facts on a left blog, you can bet there will be 3 retorts pulling up some propaganda sheet versus something from a real labor economist or the GAO, CBO claiming that just isn't so.  Well it is so and frankly they need to deal with these economic realities in policy proposals.

No, he has no grasp what they mean by trade.  Those trade agreements are NOT free trade by any stretch of the theory.  People don't even know what they are talking about and have never actually read the trade treaties.  Do people honestly believe that allowing China to have a tariff schedule is free trade?  Do people believe that labor was mobile in the theory to create a balanced equilibrium that benefits both trading partners (Labor is not mobile in the theory for it to work!)  Do people believe that if one enables the free movement of capital around the globe to guarantee corporations remain unfettered as they hunt the world searching for the cheapest labor market to move manufacturing to...that somehow that would not cause a massive race to the bottom on wages and labor?  Do people honestly believe that the means of production are even mobile in the actual theory of free trade in order for it to correlate to the definition of free trade?

People are not against trade, they are disgusted by the selling of this bunk as trade.  These treaties are glorified outsourcing agreements.

No.  So, in policy, on paper, in votes, in the lack of legislation introduced, Obama simply does not have positions or any record to imply he would be different.  

That is the issue.

That was the issue with Kerry in 2004.  After using Benedict Arnold CEOs rhetoric to win the primary he plain dropped it and in the 2nd debate Kerry claimed he could do "nothing about outsourcing", which is pure bullshit.  It should have been "I can do nothing about outsourcing that my corporate lobbyist friends and super elite pals will like".

The people in Ohio (I was there), threw up their hands, said they are both the same and voted their cultural identity since there was no true economic choice.

We have basically a similar situation here.

He can rip McCain, rip Clinton (and while Clinton is looking good on policy position statements, on paper, we all know about the issue of bait n switch) but in terms of actually proposing strong solutions which are sorely needed, well, it's not happening.


The Economic Populist

[ Parent ]
bury the real issue (0.00 / 0)
That was the first thing I wrote about over on The Economic Populist.

Absolutely none of them want to deal with the real issue which is changing policy in multiple areas that puts working America 1st and foremost, builds up the United States middle class, economic justice.  

I missed this earlier when I read your comment.  I agree and that's the first thing I saw when this came up.  But, the entire campaign none of them want to focus on these real issues for it offends their donor base.  


The Economic Populist

[ Parent ]
A Correction, Of Sorts.... (4.00 / 1)
Well, Robert, I decided it was time to stop with the acknowledging that you'd put your finger on the underlying issue and start with the acting like I meant it.  So I took our little exchange up above, and turned into a new diary, "The Missing Debate On Rural/Small Town Anger--It's The Rape of The Economy, Stupid!"

A bit crude and off-the-cuff, but it gets the table set, I think.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Also (0.00 / 0)
China is not a military threat. Frankly, the only real military threat in the world is between the collective ears of our establishment.

China may be a strategic competitor, a country that bears watching especially due to its horrendous human rights record (not that WE aren't without much, much fault in that arena, especially due to the actions of the current regime). But it is no threat.

Trying to turn China into an enemy is the province of all the hothouse crazies of the AEI and other neo-con friendly "think-tanks" and house organs.

Doesn't help your argument.

[ Parent ]
China is a military threat (4.00 / 1)
I guess you are ignoring the reality of economic and industrial espionage going on, which is now the 2nd biggest threat according to the FBI, or their military build up, Darfur, Tibet, or how most cyber attacks against US infrastructure originate in China...

must have also missed that major intellectual property theft in the billions, that happens again to be China #1 perpetrator.  

Destroying a nation-state through economic means is a form of war


The Economic Populist

[ Parent ]
Come on (4.00 / 1)
Pirating DVDs, even in the millions, does not make a country a military threat.

As for espionage, well, that works in both directions.

China is a desperately poor country that masks that fact due to its sheer size.

China's GDP is half of what ours is, and their GDP per capita is thus about 1/10th ours. They still spend anywhere from 33% to 67% less on military spending as a percentage of GDP than we do. Their 'military buildup' consists of them spending still less than $60 billion per year on military spending; our 2007 spending was approximately $470 billion, not including approximately $200 billion in 'emergency' appropriations for the wars and another $30 billion for nuclear weapon maintenance.

The only way China could conceivably impact the US is by trying to crash the dollar -- which would also kill their own currency.  

[ Parent ]
Privating DVDs???? (4.00 / 1)
That's what you think is going on, DVD theft???   Not even close!  Try stealing top secret military technology, advances in manufacturing techniques which give a critical edge, business secrets, patents, IP worth billions that is also strategically critical from a manufacturing viewpoint and a security one.    Try getting industrial know how to move to China, buying US assets and if that doesn't work, plain stealing it.

Per Capita isn't showing the real facts.    GDP facts:

The economy of the People's Republic of China is the second largest in the world after the US with a GDP of $10.21 trillion (2006) when measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. It is the fourth largest in the world after the US, Japan and Germany, with a nominal GDP of US$3.42 trillion (2007) when measured in exchange-rate terms.[5] China has been the fastest-growing major nation for the past quarter of a century with an average annual GDP growth rate above 10%.[6] China's per capita income has grown at an average annual rate of more than 8% over the last three decades drastically reducing poverty, but this rapid growth has been accompanied by rising income inequalities.[7] The country's per capita income is classified as low by world standards, at about $2,000 (nominal, 107th of 179 countries/economies), and $7,800 (PPP, 82nd of 179 countries/economies) in 2006, according to the IMF.

I guess you're missing the report where Chinese nationals are in many cutting edge R&D labs in the US stealing that very know how and bringing it back to China.

I guess you also missed the fact that within 5 years China will exceed the United States as the world economic power.

China modernization report:

it is now commonplace to suggest that China's
economic prowess could threaten the US in 20 years. Yet the experience of the past five years makes it clear that China is a huge threat now and could be dominant in five more years.

From US-China Economic and Security Review Commission:

Chinese espionage activities in the United States are so extensive that they comprise the single greatest risk to the security of American technologies

I didn't even pull up all of the incidents of recent FBI reports.  These are actual reports, research, not just some claim that those damn Chinese make illegal copies of our American movies.  


The Economic Populist

[ Parent ]
And they are still not a military threat (4.00 / 2)
I already stipulated in my original reply that China is a strategic competitor. But none of what you have written provides any backup to your claim that they are a military threat.

As for Chinese nationals being in our R&D labs "stealing our know-how", uhh, paranoid much? There are "foreign nationals" from all kinds of countries in the US here doing graduate work and research. Many return home, but many stay here and add to US economic growth and innovation.

Believe, I am well versed on IP -- it's sort of what I do. But gaining R&D know-how is quite a stretch from stealing all of our secrets. I'm 100% sure you are right that China is not properly enforcing IP law that it agreed to enforce to become part of the wto, but that in no way equates to them being a military threat. But let's also be clear, IP isn't as important as rule of law generally, human capital, and other areas where China can't hope to compete relative to the US. The loss of manufacturing jobs to China and elsewhere and the increasing stratification of the American economy and society is indeed a gigantic problem -- but conflating that with a military threat is bad news for everyone.

Building up amorphous enemies using dramatic language is part of the paranoid style that the far right loves to employ to achieve reactionary ends.  

[ Parent ]
Power of the Pen (4.00 / 1)
I wish Matt and Chris had not given people the ability to write diaries which are unbalanced and biased.  Open Left endorsed Obama and is a progressive blog which stands for truth.  Obama did not say anything which is untrue.  What has happened instead is that his words have been taken out of context, instead of people looking at the reality that yes, the Republicans have used wedge issues like abortion, guns, gay marraige and guns to distract us from how much the country is suffering.  Just call or visit some of the working, or unemployed poor.  Yes, some people are racist, bitter and angry about immigrants, blacks, spanish, outsourcing, etc.

When I read the venom expressed by McCain's supporters and the continued organized bashing of Obama by the Republicans and the Clintons, my heart sinks. What hope is there for the country to fix the problems when we lie to the people about the state of the country.

We are aiding the right wing media in distorting the truth of the meltdown of our economy, the diaster of the war in Iraq and the emptiness of the shallow "war on morals".  We can do better and we should.  May God help us.

In Defense of tremayne (0.00 / 0)
It saddens me to see someone who posts on this website with thoughtfulness and sincerity being accused of furthering the right wing noise machine.  What tremayne wrote is not an accusation that Obama is an elitist.  Rather it merely does some work to explain why on first appearances the statement that Obama made might alienate some voters.  And while first appearances may not convey what Obama really meant by that statement, first appearances do matter because for a lot of people they are all they going to get.

I am Obama supporter.  Have been since long before Iowa.  But my first impression on reading that statement was that while essentially true it could be alienating to a lot voters.  The way to win someone over or change their perspective on issue is not to tell them that they only cling to their beliefs because they're bitter.  Obama's response to the accusations of elitism was good (if only it gets sufficient press coverage!)-- I couldn't agree more that a big part of the reason people haven't been voting on economic issues is because they don't believe that politicians will help them.  If he had said that when he was in SF there would have been nothing to talk about here.

Tremayne's criticism of Obama's statement may seem like harping over a minor or essential point.  And I do think that mistake that Obama made is a relatively insignificant one that has been over-inflated by the right wing noise machine.  But I do think that there is deeper point behind what Tremayne was saying about Obama.  To win voters it's important to show them that you respect their belief system even if you disagree with some of their individual beliefs.

The thing that bothers me about discussions of the right wing noise machine on places like Openleft is that concerns about the real problem, a dysfunctional media which covers truth and bullshit with equal standing, can sometimes lead to arguments for simply ignoring everything that comes out the noise machine.  The trouble is that while there is a lot bullshit coming out of there, it is often mixed with kernels of truth.  Ignoring the noise machine isn't going to shut it down.  Accusing people on this site of being part of the noise machine isn't going to shut it down.  What we need to do is recognize the truth in it's full complexity-- even if some pieces of it are coming to from that odious noise machine itself-- and then broadcast the truth as loud as we can to drown out all bullshit that swirls around it.

Thanks (0.00 / 0)
You're right, just because we may disagree with 80, 90, 95? percent of what a Republican might have to say doesn't mean we get to ignore 100 percent. My point is more or less the same as Todd Beeton's here. It's important to figure out how best to respond the gaffe, er truthtelling, er comments by Obama. Some are saying, whatever he does he shouldn't apologize.  Shows weakness. Well I'm not so sure. We have a President who hates acknowledging mistakes and/or apologizing. Beyond apologizing or not another approach might be to go straight to those rural PA areas and hold some town meetings. And try to get some non-supporters to show up and let see how Obama handles that. I suspect he'd do quite well.

[ Parent ]
Mis-Analysis Doesn't Help (0.00 / 0)
If you apologize for something based on a rightwing meme, then it doesn't just show weakness, it validates the rightwing meme.

That's a problem you have studiously avoided, as numerous folks have critiqued your analysis as fundamentally flawed.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
I have to assume at this point (0.00 / 0)
you think your thinking is beyond mistake, and that you are immune to right wing frames? Why do you think this if indeed that's what you think?  

[ Parent ]
You're Being Played (0.00 / 0)
I suggest you read both the books I've reviewed here in the last week or so, Free Ride and Great American Hypocrites.

All of us have been soaking in this rightwing maranade for so long, we often don't even realize it.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
What's shocking to me is that they think its impossible for (0.00 / 0)
them to be played. That they are infaliable and immune to the same marketing techniques that affects the rest of society.  I keep saying this is marketing 101. We all like to think we are so sophisticated and beyond it, but we aren't. The road to tell is paved with this sort of stuff.

[ Parent ]
The Best Marks (0.00 / 0)
are those who are certain of their own sophistication.

Along these lines, The Amazing Randi, who has debunked all manner of psychic frauds, says that scientists are among the easiest people to fool, precisely because they are so certain of their critical facilities, but so unused to dealing with human deceit, as opposed to the mysteries of nature.

It's not that they're mistaken about their thinking.  But we all have blind spots, no matter how sharp our vision is outside those blind spots.

Additionally, all the way back in the early 1980s, I knew a researcher at SRI who was hired on to a project to apply Maslow's hierarchy of needs to marketing.  Selling to the "fully self-actualized" was apparently quite appealing to them.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
OT- having dated several guys who thought they were (0.00 / 0)
fully actualized, I have learned to run the other way. Maybe the marketers can tell me why.

[ Parent ]
If You're Going To Be Fully Actualized... (0.00 / 0)
I think it's best to be a Discordian, a Pastafarian, a member of the Church of the SubGenius, or at the very least a Desperate Housewives fan.  (On right now, here in California.)  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Enjoy the progressive bubble while you can.... (0.00 / 0)
You're not going to deal with this issue during this election cycle by claiming that "they're all elitists," or even by claiming it's all a media conspiracy.

Many Americans, Democrat and Republican, are distrustful of intellectuals, and of certain kinds of elites.  Business elites get a pass, because there's a cultural myth that making it as an executive or entrepeneur is similar to the work of the average American, or that it is honorable work.  

Large numbers of Americans reject evolution.  Large numbers of Americans sent Bush to the White House twice.  Large numbers of voters, unable to sort out policy, vote for candidates because they trust them or can relate to them.

Anti-intellectualism and anti-elitism are cultural facts in the United States and they aren't going away any time soon.

In that context, Obama's statement was a real mistake, not a manufactured controversy.

5 Is A Large Number??? (0.00 / 1)
Large numbers of Americans sent Bush to the White House twice.

Bush won the 2000 election 5-4.

The rest of your comment is similarly dubious, though not quite as humorous.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Dubious? (0.00 / 0)
Roughly 48% of the voters cast their votes for Bush is 2000.

A touch over 50% did in 2004.

Without those numbers, there would have been no 5-4.

That's a large number of Americans voting for a person of no qualifications, grasp of the issues, or ability to express himself.

Are you suggesting that Bush's acendency to the presidency doesn't support the notion that Americans are shamefully anti-intellectual?

Gore and Kerry were infinitely more qualified than Bush, and their policies more in tune with the wants of most Americans.  In fact, Democratic policies have probably polled better than Republican policies since the mid-Reagan era.  Still Democrats lose.  And again and again, they are portrayed as out of touch, elitist intellectuals.  It doesn't work because the media invents this prejudice out of thin air - it works because the media and the Republicans play a very real prejudice.

[ Parent ]
The Media Lied About Both Bush and Gore For Something Like 18 Months (0.00 / 0)
Sure, the US has deep strains of anti-intellectualism.  But that's only part of the picture.  You can check out the Daily Howler archives for a painfully detailed record of the rest.  The lies told about Gore, putting lies in his mouth he never uttered. The total blackout of Bush's many lies is better handled in David Corn's book.

But this is not about people being stupid or anti-intellectual. It's about the elites and the dominant institutions of American culture turning deeply hostile towards the American people as a whole, and becoming incredibly, literally unbelievably dishonest and mandacious.  The average American is simply not used to dealing with people like this, certainly not an entire power structure.  And yet, this is precisely what they've had to deal with for the last 20-30 years or so.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
I wonder... (0.00 / 0)
do you think Bob Somerby would deign to post on this blog?

I would doubt it, because his target lately has included - quite rightly - pro-Obama blogs such as this, which ape the behavior of the MSM.  This isn't a game just for the MSM elites anymore.

After watching bloggers stoke faux controversies like "100 years of war" and "as far as I know" and the daily descent of Olbermann, I'm a touch cynical.  Complaining about the shallowness or dishonesty of media coverage seems to arise only when it affects one's chosen candidate (that comment includes pro-Clinton blogs, although they have been less powerful in pushing narratives than pro-Obama blogs in this regard, perhaps solely because they are outnumbered).

Regardless of the media or blogging environment, Obama's comment was politically daft, as many have noted (the defense of "truth" has been met by the accurate observation that he isn't the Sociologist in Chief).  No one has to lie about it, or take it out of context to show it was daft.  Should we be talking about substance instead?  Yes, but the blogs are pushing their own brand of trivial, dishonest cant themselves.

I'm sorry we live in a value free world, but selective indignation, or twisting his words to eliminate the obvious problem with them, doesn't move us forward.

[ Parent ]
Sorry, But I Don't Trust Your Judgement (4.00 / 1)
But I will do you the favor of explaining why:

After watching bloggers stoke faux controversies like "100 years of war" and "as far as I know"

You're 1-for-2 here.  "As far as I know" is a faux controversy, because if you actually hear the interview, rather than just read the transcript, you can hear the incredulity in her voice.  She's like, "You've got to be kidding," but she's trying to be diplomatic about it, keeping away from "Jane, you ignorant slut" territory.  But, of course, you can't hear that tone in a transcript.

But McCain's "100 years of war" is for real.  Sure he was alluding to a Korean-style occupation.  But he has no plan, no answers, no explanation of how to magically transform Iraq into Korea.  And he is, apparently, willing to stay forever until the change magically occurs.  (After all, his argument against setting a time-frame and leaving would be just as vaid 50 years from now as it is today.) So "100 years of war" is actually being kind to him.

Now, this is not to say that people can't make bogus anti-McCain arguments.  And it's even true that some folks make the "100 years of war" argument in a sloppy or dishonest manner.  But it's not the argument itself that's dishonest.

Complaining about the shallowness or dishonesty of media coverage seems to arise only when it affects one's chosen candidate

Well, obviously you don't read the bloggers I do. Folks like Digby, Glenn Greenwald, David Neiwert, etc.  No one's stopping you, yet you apparently read folks who are disappointing to you, despite the fact that no one's forcing you to.

Another reason I distrust your judgement, I suppose.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Whether McCain (0.00 / 0)
has a plan is entirely different than arguing that he said something other than what he did.  I'm with Somerby on both these statements, and the wasteland of the blogs and their lack of standing to complain about media triva and bias.  Don't trust my judgment - I'm pretty anonymous.  Take it up with him.

[ Parent ]
Why Bother? (0.00 / 0)
Somerby is quite set in his ways.  And his ways are something like 99% accurate.  So why waste time and energy wrangling with him over the 1%?

To be honest, I haven't even read him on this subject.  And I can't be obsessed with sloppy-thinking bloggers.  The fact that someone makes a bad argument about something doesn't mean there isn't a good one to be made.  And the good argument here isn't simply that McCain doesn't have a plan.  It's that he denies the need to have a plan (sound familiar?) and as a direct consequence he is, de facto committed to war without end.

As I said before, the "100 year war" charge is letting him off easy.

Back to Somerby, again. One thing people need to do a lot more of is simply accept differences of opinion, approach and judgement as part of life.

When someone has done a lot of good work, it is often best to agree to disagree, and move on to something more productive.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Somerby (0.00 / 0)
while not a great intellect, is someone worth listening to on this topic, and what he is saying now is important.

He was in the forefront of critics of the novelization/manufacturing/trivialization of political media coverage.  Now he has lots of company, mostly repeating what he said three years ago.

But he's moved on to a tone of despair.  He notes:

1.  Big name liberals don't call the media on this game, because they want to move up in media circles;

2.  Many on the left are engaging in the same tactics, instead of challenging the rules of the game consistently, which is a sucker's game in the end, because the party with the best policies suffers when policy is ignored; and

3.  Humans probably aren't capable of rational discourse, at least not on a national level, being too tribal, and reason being too difficult for most of us.

In other words, the media won't police itself, the citizens of the blogosphere won't police the media, and the people don't know the difference anyway.  He's coming awfully close to saying that democracy is doomed to failure.  I tend to see the same thing - there isn't any way rational discourse, rather than dishonest, gossip-like propaganda, will consistently triumph, and I lack the stomach to choose either side of a propaganda war.

Thanks for the discussion.

[ Parent ]
Somerby 4-15-08 (0.00 / 0)
He's quite good on this topic.

He notes, I think correctly, that elitism is a real problem for Democrats:

"Unfortunately, many "progressives" simply can't understand the nature of this decades-old problem. They can't understand why it's bad politics (and basically foolish) to ridicule people for being religious. They don't see why it's bad politics this week to build jokes around the word 'gun-toting.'"

He quotes George Will as someone who understands the difference between FDR, a wealthy man who was never perceived to look down on working people, and Stevenson, an intellectual who was "a critic rather than a celebrator of middle-class American culture."

The problem of elitism doesn't center on whether Bush or Clinton or Obama lives in a big house, but whether they look down on those who don't.

There is a real and a false problem of elitism for Democrats - the false one is the "orange juice" issue, which probably doesn't have much traction (that is, whether Obama lives like everyone else).  The real one is reflected in Obama's statement about bittnerness and clinging, which can be fairly interpreted as ridiculing or minimizing people's values.

And, btw, the issue with "100 years of war" isn't whether there is a stronger line of attack against McCain, but whether his remarks were fairly characterized in context.

[ Parent ]
If you think that only 5 people voted for GWB in 2000 (0.00 / 0)
you live in a Dream World.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
You think its intellectuality that drives this? (0.00 / 0)
Interesting, i think its the opposite. I think its about emotions. The GOP's greatest strength is to deny the emotions that will help the Democrats win.

[ Parent ]
Bitter (0.00 / 0)
Politically, I'm surprised at how Clinton is totally screwing this up.  For some reason she is focused on the "bitter" part and not on the guns and God part.  But I think Obama wins this battle over bitterness.

I say the same thing (0.00 / 0)
it's a bit of a mind twister to claim he's been elitists about something that  many americans if you bother to ask readily admit they feel about politics.  

[ Parent ]
I say the same thing (0.00 / 0)
it's a bit of a mind twister to claim he's been elitists about something that  many americans if you bother to ask readily admit they feel about politics.  

[ Parent ]

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