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.
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.