Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Monday, April 14th, 2008.

Identity Crises

Democratic Party, elections, News Media

That Bill Kristol is as hilarious as ever today. He is comparing Barack Obama to Karl Marx:

But it’s one thing for a German thinker to assert that “religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature.” It’s another thing for an American presidential candidate to claim that we “cling to … religion” out of economic frustration.

Note the “we.” Another member of the elite who doesn’t get it.

Obama in San Francisco does no courtesy to his fellow Americans. Look at the other claims he makes about those small-town voters.

Obama ascribes their anti-trade sentiment to economic frustration — as if there are no respectable arguments against more free-trade agreements. This is particularly cynical, since he himself has been making those arguments, exploiting and fanning this sentiment that he decries. Aren’t we then entitled to assume Obama’s opposition to Nafta and the Colombian trade pact is merely cynical pandering to frustrated Americans?

In Kristol’s world, the unwashed masses who live in those anonymous small towns are too dim to notice where their jobs went (which, if true, would make them almost as dim as Kristol) and wouldn’t be against “free trade” if demagogues would just leave the subject alone.

IMO Kristol shows us how really out of touch he is here:

He’s [Obama] disdainful of small-town America — one might say, of bourgeois America.

Either Kristol has no clue whatsoever about the real working-class folks of small town America, or he doesn’t know what bourgeois means. Or both. Either way, there is a huge class of Americans who are utterly invisible to Kristol.

This goes beyond just looking down on the simple peasants. Kristol doesn’t even know they exist. (See also fubar at Needlenose.)

Meanwhile, Obama is fighting back. ABC News reports:

“Shame on her,” Obama said, echoing one of Clinton’s own atacks on him. “Shame on her, she knows better.”

Obama said he was disappointed with her for her response and then launched into a new criticism of Clinton over her recent admission of being a hunter, and compared her sarcastically to Annie Oakley.

“She’s running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment, she’s talking like she’s Annie Oakley! Hillary Clinton’s out there like she’s on the duck blind every Sunday, she’s packin’ a six shooter! C’mon! She knows better. That’s some politics being played by Hillary Clinton. I want to see that picture of her out there in the duck blinds.”

Obama said he is amazed and surprised by this “dust-up” but admitted that his words were chosen badly. He said he deeply regretted … that his words were misinterpreted.

This is exactly the right response. He shouldn’t back down. I think it’s possible that, when the dust settles, this episode will have resolved in his favor. Senator Clinton is already having to answer questions about the last time she went to church or fired a gun.

Here’s what’s sad: If I had read this column by Carl Bernstein six months ago I would have said Carl had fallen victim to Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Now, I suspect it’s close to the truth.

Here are some really good “see alsos”: Kevin Hayden at American Street; Ron Beasley at Middle Earth Journal; RJ Eskow at Huffington Post; Oliver Willis.

Here’s a particularly excellent commentary by Gary Younge. And David Lightman of McClatchy Newspapers writes “A surge of new voters in Pennsylvania is likely to help Obama.

Update: Robert Reich:

Bitter? You ain’t seen nothing yet. And as much as people like Russert, Carville, Matalin, Schrum, and Murphy want to divert our attention from what’s really happening; as much as HRC and McCain seek to make political hay out of choices of words that can be spun cynically by the mindless spinners of the old politics; as much as demagogues on the right and left continue to try to channel the cumulative frustrations of Americans into a politics of resentment – all these attempts will, I hope, prove futile. Eighty percent of Americans know the nation is on the wrong track. The old politics, and the old media that feeds it, are irrelevant now.

Read the whole thing.

Update 2: Quote du Jour from John Cole:

So, in case you are keeping score, yes, American voters are dumb enough to vote for Bush twice (and I include myself in that number, sadly). They are not, however, dumb enough to sit around and listen to an Ivy League educated lawyer who has spent all but two of the last 40 years living in a Governor’s mansion, the White House, and a NY mansion and who made 110 million over the past six years call someone else elitist.

Go figure.

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