Transterrestrial Musings




Defend Free Speech!


Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay




Site designed by


Powered by
Movable Type 4.0
Biting Commentary about Infinity, and Beyond!

« I'm Shocked, Shocked | Main | Party Like It's 1961! »

The Slow Descent Into Hell

Barack Obama showed his deft political touch today, and demonstrated his keen insight into the lives of the little people in this country, with a speech that is sure to be worth at least thirty points in Pennsylvania in the upcoming primary:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them... And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

I asked around the area, to see how his obvious compassion for Pennsylvanians was viewed. This is just one story, from one man in West Deer Township, but I'm sure that it's typical.

"By cracky, it's like the man sees into my very soul!

"Thirty years ago, I had a good job in the mill in Pittsburgh. I was bringing in a good income, going to jazz clubs, discussing Proust over white wine and brie, with my gay friends of all colors. I was all for free trade, so that we could sell the steel overseas, and I never bothered to go to church, let alone actually believe in God.

"But then, the plant closed down, and I couldn't get another job. I went on unemployment, and found odd jobs here and there, but they barely paid the rent on the loft, and the payment on the Bimmer. I couldn't afford the wine and brie any more, and had to shift over to beer and brats.

"Of course, as a result, I started hanging out with the wrong crowd--the beer drinkers.

"And it wasn't just the beer. Some of them actually went out in the woods in the fall, and shot animals. And kilt 'em. With real guns!

"I was shocked, of course. For all their diversity, none of my gay friends would have ever thought of doing anything like that. But with my job loss, and lack of money for pedicures and pommade, they didn't want to hang with me any more. So I borried a twelve gauge over'n'under, and went out with my new beer-drinking animal-killing friends in the woods. And I'll tell you what, when I shot down that eight-pointer, I felt a sense of power over the helpless in a way that I hadn't since I'd been looking down on the rednecks when I had that good job in Pittsburgh, driving around town in my 528i.

"But somehow the killing, and hating those two-timing nancy boys wasn't enough. I was still in despair. I started to search for answers, and I thought that I found them in Jesus. It started small, just church on Sunday, with prayers and a lecture from the preacher.

"But it didn't stop there. Soon I was attending Wednesday night revivals, and huzzahing and hossanahing, and babbling with the best of them. After a few months I'd graduated to juggling garter snakes, then rattlers.

"But it wasn't enough. Despite all the gun caressing, and animal killing, and hatred of people who weren't like me, and anger at the Colombians who were...doing something to me--I'm not entirely sure what, and the tongue speaking and snake handling, I still couldn't find a job.

"My social life continued to deteriorate. Not only was I no longer interested in those sensitive swishes, or literature, but I was starting to look with lust at my sister. And not just look, I'll tell you what. She'd been out of work, too, and was getting mighty interested, if you know what I mean.

"I have hit rock bottom.

"Please, help me, O Bama. Forgive me, O Bama. O Bama, my Bama, rescue me from this living hell in which Reagan, and Bush, and Clinton, and Bush, have consigned me. Restore unto me my loft and my teutonic status symbol. Give me back my poofter friends, and my pinot grigio and my baked gruyere, and lattes. Save me from the killing and the beer, and most of all, from Jesus. Save me, O my Bama, and I will commit my vote unto you.

This is just one story of the many lives that Barack Obama has touched, and blessed, this day in the benighted Keystone State. But with his obvious compassion, and ability to feel the pain of others so unlike him, he is sure to carry the state in a couple weeks.

[Late evening update]

Ace has more:

Obama To Rural Pennsylvanians: Vote For Me, You Corncob-Smokin', Banjo-Strokin' Chicken-Chokin' Cousin-Pokin' Inbred Hillbilly Racist Morons

Yeah, that's about it.

[Saturday morning update]

More from Mickey Kaus:

Excuse me? Hunting is part of working-class American culture. Does Obama really think that working-class whites in Pennsylvania were gun control liberals until their industries were downsized, whereas they all rushed to join the NRA ...


I used to think working class voters had conservative values because they were bitter about their economic circumstances--welfare and immigrants were "scapegoats," part of the false consciousness that would disappear when everyone was guaranteed a good job at good wages. Then I left college. ...

...Rather than trying to spin his way out, wouldn't it be better for Obama to forthrightly admit his identity? Let's have a national dialogue about egghead condescension!

[Mid-Saturday morning update]

This is turning out to be the Blazing Saddles election:

It's amazing how many lines from that movie work for this campaign.

The first question Obama got in Iowa

What's a dazzling urbanite like you doing in a rustic setting like this?

Explaining the Iowa caucus to newcomers

Now, I suppose you're all wondering just what in the heck you're doing out here in the middle of a prairie in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.
Crowd: You bet your ass.

Despite setbacks, Mike Gravel stays in the race

no sidewindin bushwackin, hornswaglin, cracker croaker is gonna rouin me bishen cutter.

Obama's campaign theme

He conquered fear and he conquered hate He turned dark night into day.

Hillary rounds up her operatives

I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.

Ezra Klein hears a speech

God darnit...you use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar whore.

Obama after every press appearance

Ooh, baby, you are so talented! And they are so DUMB!

Obama explaining his post-racial appeal

Well, to tell the family secret, my grandmother was Dutch.

But Hispanics are skeptical of Obama and his supporters

Hast du gesehen in deine Leben? They're darker than us!

The party's new reaction to Hillary

Shut up, you Teutonic tw@t!

The anguish of the superdelegates

We've gotta protect our phoney baloney jobs, gentlemen!

and of course for the current situation

You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Oooh, oooohhh, there's more! I found Obama's Facebook page. Note that one of his favorite books is one about an obsessive hatred of a white whale.

So, is a cigar just a cigar? I report, you decide.

[Update a few minutes later]

One more (more serious) thought. When Obama talks about "clinging to religion," is he saying that his religious belief is founded in something other than economic hardship? Or is he implying that, despite his words and church attendance for the past twenty years, that he's at heart an agnostic, if not an atheist? Was the church thing all for political show (as it was with at least Bill, if not both Clintons)? And of course, if these are his true feelings (and I suspect that one is more likely to hear what he really thinks when he perceives himself to be among a friendly audience), then it's not surprising that he could sit through twenty years of Pastor Wright bigotry and hatred and find nothing exceptional or objectionable about it. He's smart enough to know that others will find it so, so he pretends to be outraged when called on it, but he wasn't smart enough to see how his remarks in this case would be viewed by those to whom he unconsciously condescends.

I think that this could be a campaign killer in the fall. That sound bite will be shown over and over again. I just regret that it came out this soon. Unfortunately, the Democrats still have a chance to eject him before he gets the nomination. But even if they do, it will still be an electoral disaster for them. The problem is that it isn't just Obama. Most of them are just smart enough not to voice their bigotry publicly, but this is how much of the party itself views rural and middle America, and it's going to hurt them all through the fall. And justly so.

[Late morning update]

Mark Steyn has further thoughts:

I had a ton of fun covering Kerry's awkwardness with Americans but, in fairness, it was essentially a consumerist snobbery: he preferred the Newburgh Yacht Club for lunch over the local Wendy's, he'd rather be windsurfing off Nantucket than rednecking at Nascar, etc. Obama's snobbery seems more culturally profound, and unlike Kerry he can't plead the crippling disadvantage of a privileged childhood. Rather, Barack's condescension reveals a man out of touch with the rhythms of American life to a degree that's hard to fathom. As Michelle says, they "chose" to "leave corporate America", and Barack became a "community organizer" and she wound up a 350-grand-a-year "diversity outreach coordinator". I've no idea what either of those careers involve, and most of us seem able to get along without them. But their remoteness from the American mainstream perhaps explains why the Obamas seem to have no clue how Americans live their lives.


And yes, I'm a foreigner. But it takes one to know one, and this guy seems weirdly disconnected from everything except neo-segregationist Afrocentric grievance politics and upscale white liberal condescension. Not much of a coalition.

But that's the modern Democrat Party. Without the media (which is as elitist as they are) in their pocket, they'd never stand a chance.

[Early afternoon update]

Was Obama's faux pas the sound of the horse beginning to clear its throat for its aria? This kind of thing is what keeps Hillary from dropping out.

[Another update a few minutes later]

And of course, Iowahawk has to pile on, with a golden oldie about rebellious youth:

Like most of their classmates, these North Shore Neckies were once bound for some of the top universities in America -- Yale, Duke, Stanford, Northwestern -- until they succumbed to the allure of the Downhome slacker lifestyle. Now some openly talk of dropping out, learning TIG welding, waiting tables at Waffle House or draining oil at Jiffy Lube; some even hint of enrolling at Iowa State. What drives privileged teens to such seemingly self-destructive behavior?


"I guess you might could say we're rebels," says Rachel 'Tyffanie' Stern, 17, lighting a Merit Menthol 100. Once destined for Vassar, Stern is now living with friends after her parents kicked her out of the house for spending her bat mitzvah money on a bass boat. Last month she became the youngest Jewish female to win an event on the Bassmasters Pro Tour.

Pausing for furtive glances, several of the teens share sniffs from a bottle of Harmon Triple Heat deer scent.

"Wooo-eee, shit howdy, that's gonna bring a mess of them whitetail bucks," says 19-year old Wei-Li 'Lamar' Cheung. A former Westinghouse Science Award winner, Cheung has devoted his chemistry and biology skill to building a fledgling hunting supply business.

A first generation Asian-American, Cheung says he was drawn to the group by their acceptance of minorities. "Hell, I kept tellin' all my family and teachers I wanna play fiddle, not violin," he explains. "The 'Necks accept me the way I am."

African-American Kwame 'Joe Don' Harris agrees. "Just because I'm black, teachers were always pushing me to go to Spellman to study Langston Hughes and Thelonius Monk," says the 17 year old. "These ol' boys here never laugh at my dream to be a crew chief for the Craftsman Truck Series."

If there is one aspiration that unites them all, it is the dream of moving to Branson, Missouri. Long famed for its laid-back attitude toward religion, country music and the military, Branson has become a Mecca for radical young Neckies seeking an escape from the stultifying conformity of their coastal hometowns.

Only Barack can save us from this ongoing tragedy.

[Late afternoon update]

Obama is doing damage control with some of the yokelocals. I'm sure that Miss Hathaway will be able to smooth things over, except maybe with Grannie.

[Update on Sunday evening]

I've quit updating have some follow-up thoughts on Obama, and what this means about his attitudes toward individualism, here.

 
 

5 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: The Slow Descent Into Hell.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.transterrestrial.com/admin/mt-tb.cgi/9352

Good stuff here from Tom Maguire, including FoxNews' observation that Obama defended his remarks -- but only those remarks which were uncontroversial, ignoring the actual remarks that have people incensed. Plus some good snark by Kaus: I used to think... Read More

John Podhorertz: (Thanks to Glenn) Well, it has finally happened. Barack Obama has done what Democratic candidates for president invariably do — he has revealed the profound sense of unearned superiority that is the sad and persistent hallmark o... Read More

» Those Wacky Pennsylvanians from Three Sources

We are privileged to call several Keystone State residents "brother" on this blog. I never realized how backwards y'all were until Senator Obama filled me in (c/o Jules Crittenden): You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a... Read More

» Good news, or bad? from Classical Values

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and... Read More

After all the hoopla yesterday over Obama’s condescending, snobby remarks about gun owners and religious people, he is now spinning like crazy to say he didn’t mean what he said. There are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvan... Read More

63 Comments

Anonymous wrote:

More context here (note to reader - not Mr. Simberg's strong point). Here is the full piece.

So, it depends on where you are, but I think it's fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people are most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre...they're misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to 'white working-class don't wanna work -- don't wanna vote for the black guy.' That's...there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today - kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.

Here's how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long. They feel so betrayed by government that when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by -- it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama, then that adds another layer of skepticism.

But -- so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What is the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is -- so, we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing -- to close tax loopholes, you know, roll back the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama's gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we're gonna provide health care for every American.

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background -- there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing.

Sounds quite accurate to me. But trust some morons to look for the sound bites.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Sounds quite accurate to me.

Of course it does. That's because you have a political tin ear just like Barack Obama's.

Mike Puckett wrote:

I toldja the paradox would make it's head explode!

Anonymous wrote:

Anti-Semite, Communist, now Elitist. As I said before, Pedophilia comes next. Yes we can! Mr. Simberg, please go there.

Anonymous wrote:

Elitist

Truth hurts, eh?

As I said before, Pedophilia comes next.

Well, one would certainly hope not. There are plenty of other reasons to not vote for him without that. But the way this campaign is going, with all the almost-daily revelations, who knows?

Mike Puckett wrote:

Rand, why do you bother with it? It is obviously crossed sanity's event horizon and is beyond recovery.

It has approached its Roche(more likely, a 'Roach' limit) limit and it's brain has been stretched like a piece of taffy.

Paul Milenkovic wrote:

they cling to . . . religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or . . . or anti-trade sentiment

Um, based on recent news accounts, doesn't that pretty much describe people who Senator Obama associates with?

Rand Simberg wrote:

Um, based on recent news accounts, doesn't that pretty much describe people who Senator Obama associates with?

Yeah, you'd think that Pastor Wright would be a poster boy for this problem. Except he seems to be doing pretty well in that mansion. Maybe being out of work doesn't explain it that well...

Jay Manifold wrote:

Note to reader: courage is not Anonymous's strong point, or it would not be anonymous.

Honesty isn't either, of course. "... they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." The guns, religion, antipathy, and anti-immigrant sentiment, so far from being a by-product of Rust Belt job loss, have been common since before the founding of the Republic. Strangely, we have survived them all.

The anti-trade sentiment (and related xenophobia), however, is a modern phenomenon stoked entirely by the Democratic Party and its stooges (Perot) since it renounced its 175-year history of support for free trade during the Mondale campaign in 1984. The trade policies they now promote would be a rerun of Smoot-Hawley and very likely set the stage, as it did, for a world war. Surviving that may be a bit more challenging.

T.L. James wrote:

Nope, I don't think the context helped Obama's case any. If anything, it just gave me more evidence that he's a populist demagogue with a piss-poor understanding of political-economy and a taste for putting statist bandaids on every social hangnail.

Funny, though, to see him slip up and list anti-trade sentiment among the unfortunate and undesirable consequences of unemployment, poverty, and political disillusionment. He is implying that if these folks hadn't been "abandoned" when the steel mills closed and been given "broken promises" all those years, why, they too would support free trade.

I bet that this inconsistency goes unremarked by the vast multitudes who are blinded by the Obamassiah's glowing aureole of Hope and Change, though. Even those outside the press.

Bob wrote:

It is worth reading Senator Obama's explanation for what he said, although, of course, it might be worth it to me for a different reason than why it might be worth it for you. Enjoy. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/04/11/obama-defends-bitter-remarks/

Mike Puckett wrote:

Rand,

I think that montage needs to include Shotgun Totin'.

Trip wrote:

Did a liberal really say "truth hurts eh?"

Please use that as your campaign message in the general - please, please, please!

"You know why you should vote for me? Because yall are ignorant, do nothing, god loving, gun toting inbreds and I can help you!"

Good job Anonymous.

mockmook wrote:

I used to think it was crazy to believe Obama was a "Manchurian Candidate"...

But with every day revealing him partying with some new racists/Marxists/terrorists/etc, now I'm not so sure.

What would a Marxist president do to America?

first-hand opinion wrote:

Anonymous wrote:
"Anti-Semite, Communist, now Elitist. As I said before, Pedophilia comes next. Yes we can! "

"Chameleon" comes next... Likewise, "Hypocrite".

'Religion', he says to a trusted fund-raising audience, is something that 'bitter' people 'cling to', as they do to xenophobia and other nasty habits, 'as a way to explain their frustrations'.

Yet he had been assuring the general public:
'I am a Christian. I am a devout Christian. I have been a member of the same church for 20 years. I pray to Jesus every night.'
(http://www.daytondailynews.com/n/content/oh/story/news/local/2008/03/02/ddn030308obama.html)

'I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life'.
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/01/25/obama-i-believe-in-the-_n_83208.html?page=3)

daveinboca wrote:

So Barack has unleashed his inner Michelle, who in turn unleashed her inner Omarosa a while back complaining that mean America, which affirmative-actionized her into Princeton & Harvard Law, was finally coming around to meet her presumptuous expectations.

What a pair of jumped-up Oreos with street-cred wannabe pretensions. Hope they get exposed as the silly connivers they obviously are.

Steve wrote:

In a similar speech yesterday, John McCain told inner-city African-Americans in Philadelphia,

"You go into these ghetto areas in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of other ghettos in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them... And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or drugs or gangs or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-white sentiment or anti-corporate sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Jeremiah Wright and the NAACP demanded that Senator McCain's head be hermetically sealed in mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnalls front porch by noon today.

philw1776 wrote:

Ever since Obama's campaign sent out its "Halp us John Cary" plea for endorsements, its been downhill. Its obvious that supporter and adviser elitist John Kerry and his wife are soulmates with Barack and Omarosa, I mean Michelle.

Adn a note to Anonymous, surrounding Barack's deriding condescension with additional paragraphs of empty speak blather does nothing towards providing context explaining the elitist view.

Does the man ever say ANYTHING of substance?
NO HE CAN'T!

memomachine wrote:

Hmmmmm.

Ultimately the problem isn't necessarily Obama but rather the media.

IMO modern American politics is similar, in a fashion, to a brutal Darwinian process. Much like salmon heading upriver to spawn having to brave the endless line of predators, politicians seeking public office need to pass their own set of predators. Of which the media has always been the premier and paramount predator of all. And when this predation takes place the weak and incompetent politicians are weeded out leaving the more capable.

Yet in the Democratic party this process has been broken for generations. The media has sought to cover the inexcusable incompetence of Democratic candidates as best they can, leaving incomplete the winnowing process on Democratic candidates while increasing the pressure on Republicans.

This generally results in the weaker Republican candidates being eliminated, leaving the more capable to run for office. While the Republicans politicians aren't necessarily better overall, they certainly have shown themselves to be more capable politicians as politicians.

On the other hand Democrats, due to the lack of predation by the media, have put forth flawed candidates one after another. Candidates that should never have been allowed past the starting gate, let alone treated as if they were really viable. In each instance even the most cursory treatment by a predatory media would've resulted in these candidates being eliminated, and thus leaving the field open to other more capable candidates.

But because the media is so reluctant to act on Democrats the political field ends up littered with every kind of twit imaginable. All of whom suck up every bit of oxygen available.

Unreal.

Rand Simberg wrote:

On the other hand Democrats, due to the lack of predation by the media, have put forth flawed candidates one after another. Candidates that should never have been allowed past the starting gate, let alone treated as if they were really viable. In each instance even the most cursory treatment by a predatory media would've resulted in these candidates being eliminated, and thus leaving the field open to other more capable candidates.

Yes, I've been meaning to write a piece on what hot-house plants the Democrats tend to nominate, because the media are so largely Democrats, that set them up for losses once the real campaigning begins. Kerry was a perfect example of this.

Robbins Mitchell wrote:

[This post deleted by site proprietor]

mockmook wrote:

"[quoted post deleted by site proprietor'"

Damn, that's racist and funny!!!!

Should I feel guilty for laughing?

Nope, the elites tell us that "comedy" and "art" gets an "outrage" exemption [see derogation of mainstream religions]. So, all is well.

Brown Line wrote:

Anon, the context doesn't help any. In fact, to my mind it makes things worse. Obama assumes, as does every believer in dialectical materialism, that such cultural attitudes as religion and the possession of firearms are reflections of economic status only: that a man's attraction to religion is inversely proportional to his economic status.

Never mind that his wisecracks about religion and trade directly contradict his loudly proclaimed religious faith and his anti-free trade policy: the idea that my faith, that my politics are the plaything of the economy is, frankly, deeply insulting and, I think, deeply wrong.

Frankly, I'd rather vote for Jeremiah Wright. Wright, at least, lays his cards on the table: there's no bullshit about him. And Wright also has the experience of actually managing a million-dollar enterprise, while Obama's never run so much as a hot-dog stand.

Obama clearly is an intelligent young man, with a lot of ability. But he is as green as the grass; and the truth is that he is nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is. If he were to run for governor of Illinois (my home state), I would vote for him - in part because it's hard to imagine how he could make things worse here, and in part because it would give him the experience he needs to make the next step, assuming he has it in him to succeed. And, frankly, it would knock some of the bullshit out of him.

Speaking of bullshit: Mr Mitchell, the next time you want to make a wisecrack involving a racial insult, please do us all a favor and sit on your hands. Thank you.

Pass the Popcorn wrote:

Bravo! It's Genius! Sheer Genius! I don't even live in PA and I recognize these crackers he describes in a lot of my neighbors! Let's steamroller them now Bamy!

Bob Hawkins wrote:

This post has more updates than an odd-numbered MicroSoft release.

Alan wrote:

The first anonymous is going around to any blogs covering it and pasting in the EXACT SAME comment.

george wrote:

hilarious.

Matthew T. Ridsdale wrote:

"can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts"

So tough neighborhoods are those that include working-class (presumably white) lunch-pail folks?? What does that make the high crime neighborhoods in the those same cities?? Urban paradises waiting to get out from under the white man's heel?

I'm sorry Sen. Obama, but the hope I want, the hope I believe in, is that which reminds us that we're all Americans. That we all want a better life for our kids, our families and our friends.

Somehow I think you will find it harder to locate those "Obama enthusiasts" in the tough neighborhoods now that they know what you think of them.

I "hope" I am wrong, and I "hope" that these ignorant, gun toting, faith-having folks (wait, don't we hate W because he uses the word "folks") can find it in their hearts to trust you and believe a damn thing you say.

Bob wrote:

I think Obama simply making an argument akin to the argument made in "What's the matter with Kansas?" He was NOT saying that "a man's attraction to religion is inversely proportional to his economic status." He was saying that people will base their votes on religion and other cultural issues when they don't see an opportunity to base their vote on their own economic interest. If neither party can make the argument that they'll improve a person's economic standing, they'll vote on issues like gay marriage.

It is worth noting that there is a significant difference between basing your vote on your opposition to gay marriage and basing your vote on gun control. The 2nd Amendment is a hell of a lot more relevant to the presidency than marriage, especially given that state-endorsed marriage is arguably a violation of the separation clause in the 1st amendment.

Fortunately for the Democrats, Obama is a) suggesting policies for a better economic future, b) Not advocating gay marriage (because he is pandering? because of religious conviction? I don't know.), and c) is advocating keeping the 2nd amendment completely intact.

pass the popcorn wrote:

Funny how the very people he just insulted have disportionately more votes in the electoral college. They are the morons. Right Barry.

bc wrote:

BO is the magic mirror in Harry Potter; the one you look into and see whatever it is you desire most. The problem comes in when people look over each other's shoulders. The people in Pa. are looking at what the lettuce heads in SFO want the most, i.e. to feel superior to the people in Pa.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Fortunately for the Democrats, Obama is a) suggesting policies for a better economic future

He is? Fooled me.

and c) is advocating keeping the 2nd amendment completely intact.

Except when actually applied to strike down a gun law. He still refuses to say whether the DC gun ban should stay in place.

Sorry, no sale.

cubanbob wrote:

Anti-American, anti-Semite, Black Nationalist, crypto-Muslim, communist elitist. Yes that is the perfect candidate for the Democratic Party. All he needs now is a Green Lesbian feminist elitist communist to balance the ticket.

Mike G in Corvallis wrote:

I think Obama simply making an argument akin to the argument made in "What's the matter with Kansas?" He was NOT saying that "a man's attraction to religion is inversely proportional to his economic status." He was saying that people will base their votes on religion and other cultural issues when they don't see an opportunity to base their vote on their own economic interest. If neither party can make the argument that they'll improve a person's economic standing, they'll vote on issues like gay marriage.

Sounds to me like Obama's giving the San Francisco elite a classic Leninist explanation for the Pennsylvania rubes not being able to see the obvious advantages of left-wing policies -- false consciousness. If only the poor, deluded fools knew what we know! Therefore, is is up to us, the vanguard party, to raise their consciousness as best we can while we run their lives for their own good.

Bob wrote:

Fortunately for the Democrats, Obama is a) suggesting policies for a better economic future

He is? Fooled me

Well, I didn't expect you to agree, and this is the wrong thread to have that argument (unless you say otherwise, I guess, since it is your blog!), but now we've moved back to talking about subjects that voters should actually be considering. My key point was that he wasn't making the cultural argument about inverse-relationships that you and others here are saying that he is making.

He still refuses to say whether the DC gun ban should stay in place.

I'm not well-informed on this, but I thought the DC gun ban was a matter before the Supreme Court right now. If that's so, it it proper for him to comment? I think it is, but I'm not sure. If he were President, would it be proper? Again, I think it is is, but I'm not sure. In any case, isn't it irrelevant what he thinks about that particular case which might have idiosyncratic merits? It is more important to figure out what gun-related bills he might be willing to sign into law.

Raoul Ortega wrote:

Love the Blazing Saddles quotes. And I think this latest comment by The Obamadhi is his "... but no Irish" moment.

Bob wrote:

Mike G: It is Leninist only to the extent that "It's the economy, stupid" was Leninist. Republicans have long won over voters by promising lower taxes rates. The Democrats have finally that people will often base their votes on economic self-interest. If it took the modern democratic party a long time to learn this, perhaps it shows how far they are from communists! ;-)

Rand Simberg wrote:

Of course it is proper for a president to comment on whether or not he believes a given law is constitutional, regardless of whether or not it's being heard before the SCOTUS. Based on his history as a state senator, and comments that he's made in the past, I doubt if there would be any law restricting gun ownership that he wouldn't sign into law. I think that he gives the Second Amendment lip service, as he does everything else.

And no, this isn't the thread to discuss his economic policies, but they would unquestionably make things worse.

pettyfog wrote:

Sounds quite accurate to me. But trust some morons to look for the sound bites.

What's a 'sound bite'? Would that be some moron saying 'McCain would be happy if we were at war in Iraq for 100 years!' ???? Hmmmmmm, Mr Anonymous Braveheart?

Mike Puckett wrote:

http://www.sportsmenforobama.org/

All you need to know about Obama and his stance and voting records on the 2nd Amendment.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

Bob you're spinning wildly there and in all three rotational axes at the same time.

First off BO isn't the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party isn't BO. The obviousness of this is the current split but it would be the case even if there was no such 45-45 split.

Second many in the DP and certainly BO is saying and running on economic positions that even some socialists over here in Norway would smile at like anti-"free trade" and a preference for protectionism (not that there aren't people seduced by such fools gold here too). However like most socialists over here the sum of their policies just don't make any sense what-so-ever without large tax increases in some from or kind. Doesn't matter what they're saying (or avoiding spelling out) it becomes like Ted Kennedy insisting he's not socialist when even centrist Europeans go "Oh, we know what he's talking about; it's socialism". In other words they haven't yet learned and think they'll get away with it (and sometimes they do (over here too)).

Third Mike G is absolutely correct in his reference to Leninist thinking and Brown Line made pretty much the same point and no it has nothing at all to do with economics except for in the Marxist-Leninist sense of the word within their larger philosophy (which is an "alternative reality" definition that has nothing at all to do with actual economics and even less so with "it's the economy stupid").

Bob, I'll commend you for staying within the confines of three dimensions ^_^

Adam wrote:

Bob: Democrats have been waving entitlements in front of their voting base for quite a while, but you're claiming relief because now they've finally seen the light and can compete with the tax-cut-favoring Republicans on equal ground, now that Obama has managed to show them the way?

Regardless of the argument Obama was trying to make, he quite plainly put forth the notion of bitterness as a main contributor towards people being religious, anti-trade, pro-gun, and bigots. Now problem one is that this implies he views most or all small-towners as bigoted, gun-toting, protectionist bible-thumpers whether he meant this or not. I'd argue he's even more hapless if he didn't mean it. Likely the case is it wasn't intentional or unintentional; he's such an elitist that he didn't even realize how offensive it was.

Problem two is that, while it may be quite accurate that bitterness can contribute to things like racism and protectionism, religion and gun rights are deeply held by a vast amount of Americans for reasons that have nothing to do with bitterness, bitterness over the economy or bitterness for any other reason. It's a "strategic blunder", to use Obama's words, of immense proportions to group those things together in a sentence for any reason, just like it was a blunder to argue for moral equivalency between his hate-spewing pastor and his white relatives.

Your argument about his gun position is, while superficially reasonable, equally tone-deaf. Obama hasn't come out and said he'll take away anyone's guns, well except for that survey he filled out where he said he'd support a nationwide gun ban that is, but you can't seriously be trying to claim that there's any way pro-gun voters will go anywhere near him. The gun-voting bloc is notoriously suspicious, heck I think the NRA and GOA don't have "A" ratings to any of the conservatives but Huckabee for Pete's sake, there is no chance he gets the gun vote.

You can argue technicalities in isolation all day long, but at the end of the day he'd be better off not having said these things mere days away from PA and you know it. That is the issue, not what he thought he said, nor what you thought he said, not even what I thought he said. All 3 of us agree, I'm certain, that given a chance to do it over he'd never have brought guns/religion/etc. into it; they added nothing to his claim that he could rescue us all from our conservative-induced economic doom, and as such it made no sense whatsoever to poke at the bear. He could simply have said "small towners are pissed because they have no jobs but I can help them."

bc wrote:

BO is the magic mirror in Harry Potter; the one you look into and see whatever it is you desire most. The problem comes in when people look over each other's shoulders. The people in Pa. are looking at what the lettuce heads in SFO want the most, i.e. to feel superior to the people in Pa.

Bob wrote:


Habitat Hermit: Regarding your third point, you are right, I was being very sloppy. We can leave Marx and Lenin out of it, but Brown Line is wrong: Obama wasn't suggesting "that a man's attraction to religion is inversely proportional to his economic status."

Anonymous wrote:

It is Leninist only to the extent that "It's the economy, stupid" was Leninist.

Bob, I wasn't talking about economics at all. Lenin used "false consciousness" as an explanation for why the people in general clung to their old beliefs and did not embrace communism, and claimed that the "vanguard of the proletariat" were therefore entitled, by virtue of their superior understanding, to govern and educate the poor, ignorant, stupid, misled masses until they could understand for themselves the essential superiority of Marxism. This way you can tell your supporters that they are more intelligent, better educated, superior in morality, and all-around gosh-darn better human beings than anyone who holds contrary opinions, all in the name of promoting equality, freedom, and justice.

Note that I am not saying that Obama is a Marxist (although he may well be) ... I'm saying he used a classic Leninist explanation.

Bob wrote:

Adam: I can't address everything you said, but I'll this: One of the most frustrating things about this campaign is that people make the following kind of criticism: "Obama or McCain shouldn't have said A because people will think he means B". If they said and meant A, just focus on A, until the public understands he really was just saying A. Here, I'll do it for the candidate I don't support: McCain clearly wasn't saying we'd be at war in Iraq for 100 years. Shame on Obama for ever implying otherwise. Kudos to Obama when he asks how to transform Iraq into a place like Germany or South Korea, which is a question that I think McCain would welcome. I find it frustrating when people say "McCain shouldn't have ever said "100 years" and he is a dunderhead for giving the media a soundbite." It might be true, but that's not a reason to oppose McCain.

I think you are saying, in part, that Obama is a dunderhead for giving the media a soundbite. Maybe, this shouldn't be a reason to oppose Obama.

Obama did NOT say say that bitterness was " a main contributor towards people being religious, anti-trade, pro-gun, and bigots.". He could have been more clear, and so he clarified his comment. He was explaining the voting behavior don't feel like they have the option of voting their pocketbook. You can repeat this idea that Obama thinks people are religious because they are bitter all you want, but you'll be just as wrong as the people who say "McCain wants 100 years of war".

Bob wrote:

I apologize for the poorly edited text! I'll try harder to proofread first.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Bob, you're completely missing the point about what was so offensive about Obama's remarks. Which is not surprising, because you, too, are a Democrat, and you, too, are tone deaf to such things.

He conflated being anti-trade, pro-gun, religious, and bigoted. Now that implies that these things are all similar in some way. They are either good traits, or bad traits, but the implication, and what it is clear that Obama, and much of the Democrat elite believe, based not just on this one foot-in-mouth incident, but many over the years is that these are bad things. Now I happen to believe that bigotry and opposition to trade are wrong, but I don't think that there's anything wrong with gun ownership (and use) or being religious.

But now we know what the Democrats think of ordinary people in this country. The notion that these double ungood thoughts are caused by economic deprivation are entirely beside the point. It was the bigotry of the elitist Democrats on display, and it wasn't pretty. Now as it happens, Hillary believes this, too, but at least she's savvy enough to lie about it, so she'll be able to take big-time advantage of it.

Sam Spade wrote:

While most people focus on the guns and religion part of Obama's statements, the more interesting thing he said was about trade. It implies that he believes that the rubes are scaping goating free trade because of their economic problems. So is he pandering when he opposes free trade, or are the rubes right?

For the Marxist, everything comes down to economics. For people in the real world, the church, hunting and the like are not economic choices, but social ones.

Adam wrote:

When I read your interpretation of his remarks, I had the impression that you were arguing that his remarks were not a political misstep, and I was challenging that.

You are quite right that making a misstep doesn't constitute a good reason to oppose a candidate.

I like your counterexample somewhat, although of course in McCain's case the plain text of his statement doesn't even imply he supports a 100 year war, in fact his very next sentence deliberately elaborates that he only supports our troops 'staying' there if they aren't being harmed or killed.

Obama says:

"So itís not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who arenít like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Now, someone in Obama's camp may give him the benefit of the doubt as to some larger argument he's trying to make, and his subsequent statements are a bit more convincing, but the original statement, in its unedited form, implies bitterness is a common denominator among religion, bigotry, guns, and protectionism, and it also directly implies that there is a subset of people for whom bitterness is the reason they cling to these values. Without any parsing whatsoever it's offensive. It focuses on a hypothetical group of people who, unaware of the scam foisted upon them by conservatives, don't really have their values for the reasons they believe they do.

Bitterness as the main contributor for all people may be a stretch, but within this hypothetical subset of people it absolutely appears to be what he is saying. So much so, in fact, that I can't quite figure out what he claims to have been trying to say until his second attempt at clarification, which was a lot better than the first one.

This is the second time in recent history he's explained how white people should be forgiven for doing things they are unaware they are doing because of their being driven to do it by greedy capitalists. I think a reference to Lenin is appropriate, whether it's a perfect parallel or not.

So whether this quote damages him or not (and that will depend equally on the silliness of the media on the left and the right), I am starting to get the impression that he really does feel he understands the non-affluent white person better than the actual person understands him or herself, and that his premise is that my only hope, in my self-delusion, is to hand it over to him. And while this may not kill him, he'd better lose that tin ear and stop that sort of mistake because the non-affluent white vote is the one hanging in the balance.

Adam wrote:

Rand, you have it exactly right. When you are fighting the perception of your party as a party who thinks guns and religion are bad, the last thing you want to do is imply that they are equal to bigotry and protectionism.

Sort of like it's bad to imply that babies are the same as STDs. No one really thinks he completely equates the two, but you put that in context with the pro-choice nature of the party, and it's napalm. If a conservative made the same slip-up it wouldn't be nearly as big a deal, because it's a lot more plausible that it's a not Freudian in the case of a conservative.

All the pols are making a lot of speeches, and gaffes, but it sure seems like Obama tends to get himself into trouble with comparisons. A cynic would say perhaps because he gets his tongue on a roll constructing his rhetorical edifices and the truth slips out if he fails to grip the hammer and chisel tightly at all times.

I can understand it when he's sucking up to wealthy fundraisers in San Fran, but when he's reading his great race speech off the teleprompter I wonder that one of his staff doesn't just say "Hey Obama, how about we leave out the part where it looks like you're saying your poor Grandma is comparable to your hate-spewing pastor"? He really does appear to be oblivious to the trouble these bad comparisons get him into.

Chris Gerrib wrote:

I grew up in a small town (population 3,000) and still have friends and relatives there. I'm also a member of the National Rifle Association, and have been for decades.

Here's the thing - Obama's RIGHT. There are a lot of single-issue voters in small towns. They are people who lost a job when the factory closed, and would have to move hundreds of miles to get a similar job. (It's no accident that I'm 150 miles from my hometown.)

There are a lot of people in small towns who don't trust people from "over there," wherever "over there" is. When a factory employing 2,000 people closes in a county with less then 100,000 residents, it's an economic disaster, and all the "free trade" cheap TVs at Wal-Mart don't make it better.

Since these folks are being ignored by Democrats and Republicans, they become single-issue voters. What Obama understands, and that idiot who wrote "What's the Matter With Kansas" didn't, is that if neither party will address one's economic woes, then one votes based on other issues.

Bob wrote:

Rand said Bob, you're completely missing the point about what was so offensive about Obama's remarks. Which is not surprising, because you, too, are a Democrat, and you, too, are tone deaf to such things.
He conflated being anti-trade, pro-gun, religious, and bigoted. Now that implies that these things are all similar in some way. They are either good traits, or bad traits, but the implication, and what it is clear that Obama, and much of the Democrat elite believe, based not just on this one foot-in-mouth incident, but many over the years is that these are bad things.

Rand, you're completely missing Obama's pont, which is not surprising because you yourself are not a Democrat or a Republican. As a relatively disinterested third party, you fail to see Obama's list of positions from a partisan zero sum perspective.

Obama never said or even implied that being anti-trade, pro-gun, religious, and/or being bigoted is bad (although of course everyone says that being bigoted is bad). He was saying that what those four traits have in common is that the Republicans have a lock on them! Now, lets pause, because saying that Republicans or their party has a lock on bigotry is controversial and argumentative (and untrue, in my opinion), but he was speaking to a partisan crowd.

In any case, Rand, I believe you misunderstood. Obama was making an argument for why people vote Republican. He was talking about the Democrat-Republican axis, not the Good-Bad axis.

As for being condescending, I just found this link:
http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0408/Whats_the_matter_with_Pennsylvania.html
where there is a video of Obama discussing this very issue in 2004. He speaks out against being condescending, and he points out that he isn't faking it when he talks about the importance of religion in his life. Ben Smith quotes him as saying "If we don't have plausible answers on the economic front, and if we appear to be condescending toward those traditions that are giving their lives some stability, then they're going to opt for at least that party that seems to be speaking to the things that...provide them with something solid to stand on," he said, going on to talk about his ability to connect with voters who supported Bush over Kerry. Ben Smith quotes from 12:00 of the video, but I think it is worth starting about a minute and a half earlier. I haven't watched the whole thing, but the parts surrounding 12:00 do have relevance to this conversation.

Bob wrote:

Except that I'm wrong, because Republicans aren't historically anti-trade. Ooops. On the other hand, according to the Wall Street Journal 10/4/07 "By a nearly two-to-one margin, Republican voters believe free trade is bad for the U.S. economy."

I still think Obama was talking about why swing voters vote Republican, but I oversimplified.

Bill Maron wrote:

Chris, you miss the whole point. There are one issue voters everywhere. Rural people aren't different than anyone else, they just believe in things BO has no idea about and neither do the people at that event. The fact he was patronizing in his speech about them just made it worse and showed his elitism.

MarkD wrote:

It's amazing, time in the Ivy League caused him to aquire the elitist contempt for the common man, but not to shake the common man's oppression induced hatred fed to him by Jeremiah Wright. He's aquired both biases, and the press continues to ignore both and hail him as the great uniter. I do not believe this will stop him. I believe that the media's 15%, combined with his fundraising edge over McCain, and the fact that he's younger and hipper, will enable him to prevail. He's got 7 months to correct all this. Here comes Black Carter.

Bill Maron wrote:

Yeah Bob, he's into religion at his "God damn America" church. No one I know goes to a church like that. I think we're ALL still waiting for those "plausible answers". I'm especially waiting for the ones that don't raise my taxes at least 5-10%.

Larry wrote:

Anyone who claims that Obama is "right" or that what he said wasn't offensive is every bit as clueless to the nature of most Americans as he is. His comment was dead wrong and absolutely offensive to anyone who cherishes our 1st and 2nd amendment rights.

sherlock wrote:

Barack is just trying to explain to some fellow socialists why so many of the rural folks commit the thoughtcrime of voting Republican.

They simply cannot understand how anyone can disagree with their POV and Obama, as a man of the people, is trying to translate for them. Of course, his problem is he doesn't have a clue how to speak or understand the language he is trying to translate, because he is absolutely not a man of the people in any sense of the word - he is a phoney huckster. So his translation or explanation is completely tone-deaf.

Michael wrote:

Dadblast it Rand! Warn people when you're going to put stuff that funny in a post. I just spit my drink all over my monitor.

memomachine wrote:

Hmmmmm

@ Rand

"Yes, I've been meaning to write a piece on what hot-house plants the Democrats tend to nominate, because the media are so largely Democrats, that set them up for losses once the real campaigning begins. Kerry was a perfect example of this."

Yeah 2004 had an enormous list of such lousy candidates. I still cannot get over how the Democratic party just could not bring itself to reduce the 9 Presidential candidates, i.e. the Nazgul, to the more appropriate 2 or 3. That Al Sharpton was one of them was really ridiculous.

But personally my favorite was the Democratic candidate for the US Senate who was scheduled to participate in a live, televised debate before a studio audience. This was a Democratic activist now turned would-be US Senator. Except she got a severe case of stage fright.

While the Republican senator, the incumbent, was waiting at the podium and the audience was seated and ready to go, she locked herself into her dressing room and refused to come out. So they eliminated the live cameras. Still no go. So they eliminated the studio audience. Still no go. Finally they gave up and canceled the whole thing.

I can't remember her name or the state it was in. But I definitely remember falling off my chair and laughing my butt off.

Jim wrote:

Yes, we can't. Yes, we can't.Yes, we can't. Yes, we can't.Yes, we can't. Yes, we can't.Yes, we can't. Yes, we can't.

TGScott wrote:

May Obama-lama-ding-dong find an elk head in his bed, ala' Corleone style.

Leave a comment

Note: The comment system is functional, but timing out when returning a response page. If you have submitted a comment, DON'T RESUBMIT IT IF/WHEN IT HANGS UP AND GIVES YOU A "500" PAGE. Simply click your browser "Back" button to the post page, and then refresh to see your comment.
 

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on April 11, 2008 5:06 PM.

I'm Shocked, Shocked was the previous entry in this blog.

Party Like It's 1961! is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.1