Saturday, April 12, 2008

Oh jeez, Barack, you damned elitist!

"In a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long," he told the donors. "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 going to 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."
I don't know how much this will hurt Obama or for how long, as a lot of that will depend on how he handles things. But sheesh, he really couldn't have said something much stupider politically, short of "Rural folks are dumb and backward, and their belief in God, love of guns, and hatred of foreigners is due to the fact that they are inbred. And in a related topic, I'm a gay homosexual man." And the first sentence is pretty much the way the right is going to portray what he said.

Add to that the fact that he said it in San Francisco, the liberalest, "elitist" of cities, and you've got conservatives salivating.

Obama's biggest challenge even before this was connecting with rural white voters. And boy oh boy has he made that harder. Granted, most of them were gonna vote McCain anyway. I'm not saying it'll be impossible for him to recover from this, but it certainly won't help him win over Republicans frustrated with the past seven years of Bush incompetence who might have been considering voting for a guy preaching unity and postpartisanship. We'll have to wait and see. I don't think this will prevent him from winning the Democratic nomination; he's got that mathematically sewn up. But come October, if people are still talking about this, will it affect the fight for the swing voters whom McCain and Obama will be wooing?

What Obama said didn't really rile me up (and if you put it in its full context, you get a different idea of what he was trying to say). But lately, I've gotten quite riled up at something, and this Obama thing is clearly about to inflame that.

Terms used in politics such as "soccer moms" or "Nascar dads" arise every election, and are almost universally stupid. They vastly overgeneralize the people they are attempting to describe. Some of the political labels currently getting tossed around piss me the fuck off. Three of these include "elites," "regular people," and "lunch-bucket voters," and we will certainly be hearing those terms an awful lot in regards to this issue.

"Elites" (and its bastard grammatical cousin, "elitists") bothers me the most, specifically when paired with the angel to its devil, "regular people." "Elites," apparently, all live in Manhattan, San Francisco, Cambridge, and Beverly Hills, and they absolutely despise the morlocks who all live in flyover country. "Elites" literally all own ivory towers from which they look down upon "regular people" and "lunch-bucket voters" (the aforementioned morlocks), judging their meager existences and wishing that they would all just admit how primitive their small brains are. "Elites" don't hunt because they hate guns and gun-owners. They never, EVER go to church because they're all atheists or God-haters. And every day, all they do is sip chardonnay and congratulate themselves on being brilliant and earning their fourth Ph.D. while opining on the tragedy in Darfur (about which they do nothing).

And what the fuck does "lunch-bucket voter" mean? I suppose this refers to a rural citizen of voting age who works a manufacturing job where he brings along something called a "lunch bucket." "Lunch-bucket voters" seem remarkably similar to "regular people," who apparently are the salt of the earth. They care about their families way more than "elites," and their faith is awesome, like God Himself. They're mostly good-hearted farmers and manufacturers, and their natural decency is so beautiful it's like they literally sprang forth from a Frank Capra movie. They don't make much money, and they honorably struggle each month to pay the bills. And when they die, their sons inherit the family farm, which they will eventually pass on to their sons. As I said, salt of the earth.

I live in Manhattan and I went to college. I suppose, therefore, that I'm an "elite."


I wish so bad I were a "regular person." Being "elite" sucks.


Anonymous said...

hi luke, how glad am i that i left ohio before i turned to guns and racism? :) anyway, just writing so you know i spy on your blog sometimes... -debbie

Joe Grossberg said...

The elitism I'm tired of is this loud and petulant minority trying to lay claim to being the "real" Americans instead of an influential minority.

Even setting aside political views, the US is only about 40% white Protestant.