Sunday, April 13, 2008

Annie Get Your Gun

I want to say a few words about the whole dust-up over Obama's recent "elitist" remarks. First of all, as if anyone has not seen them, here are his words:
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 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.

The hubbub over these remarks is a whole lot about nothing. First of all, he is absolutely right. Nothing in his remarks is untrue. Second, I don't thing these remarks are particularly offensive. Hillary Clinton and John McCain have pounced on Obama for being elitist and out of touch, a charge that may come back to bite Hillary in the ass. But these candidates are saying that what Obama said was that people become religious because they are bitter. That is not what these words say. If people to cling to religion and faith, then that means they already have religion and faith in their lives. They are turning to their religion to help make sense of their situation.

I am very happy with they way the Obama campaign has handled the nonsense as well. Instead of groveling and backtracking, Obama has taken the opportunity to say, more or less, "What I said was true."

People who vote only on second amendment issues may take offense, but they were not going to vote for a Democrat anyway. But Hillary sure has taken this opportunity to promote herself as the voice for gun rights. Today, Obama took her on: "She is running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsman, how she values the second amendment. She's talking like she's Annie Oakley . . . Hillary Clinton is out there like she's on the duck blind every Sunday. She's packing a six-shooter. Come on, she knows better."

But Americans have shown in the past two elections that nuance and complexity are not traits they want in a leader.

Is this goddamn primary season over yet?


At 8:43 AM, Blogger undulatingorb posited...

I don't understand the hubbub, since Obama's remarks show his compassion for the "regular Americans." Where I might say that people cling to taking away rights from those that are different can be chalked up to these people being incredibly stupid and mean, he gives them a more valid reason for their actions. But I have lost all hope for this election, so...

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Tom posited...

no matter how you justify it, the whole string of comments is a bit belittling. i mean, im not saying its something i wouldn't say, but i would definitely consider it a faux pas. i feel like all three of these people are being incredibly fake, because there is literally no other way to campaign for president. im sure there are varying degrees of fakeness between them, but one thing is certain, and that is that the fake shit is all designed to please everyone and offend no one. so, through simple deductive reasoning, one can conclude that if anything slips out that offends a bunch of people -- and i should clarify that if i were a religious person in Pennsylvania that lost my job and owned guns, i would most definitely be offended -- , it must be a truer indication of that candidates feelings and of their character. in this situation, i think that obama's comments about those people indicate that he looks down upon religion, guns, and prejudice (looking down on prejudice is ok, because it is immoral and socially unacceptable. i think a great deal of democrats feel the same way about religion and guns, and that's a shame. (let the record show that i was neither baptised, nor do i own a firearm)),

i think that the main point here, is that (not that i have a real amicable choice in the situation, but...) i dont want my president to be someone who has obvious feelings of disdain and superiority (and if you say his remarks don't convey superiority, you're crazy because it was, among other things, patronization at its finest) toward certain demographics because of assumptions he makes about their character and motives for how they live their lives. making assumptions like that is the exact opposite of empathy and compassion, and, making them is one thing, but as president sooner or later he's going to act on them. that's not ok.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Tom posited...

i would also like to note that what he was saying could be construed as compassionate, but let me assure you, if that is how he is going to give it, the people in Pennsylvania don't want his compassion.

oh, and about two thirds of the way down that first paragraph, throw an apostrophe in there in "candidates" thx

At 4:47 PM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

It's not over until Denver. I personally am still holding out for a full blown taser fight after things get rowdy.

As far as Obama's comments, they're a perfect example of a candidate pandering to a San Francisco audience that would fit right at home at U(SSR)C Berkeley.

You can't tell me though Dub, that these comments aren't condescending. Maybe Obama wasn't aiming them as such, but they're the exact thing I hear all the time from liberals (not you, but others) who look at someone who is Christian and conservative and immediately labels that person as some sort of backwards-thinking, 19th century living hick. Personally, I'm sick of it. I'm not saying that similar emotions and frustrations don't go both ways, because they do, but this is just another example of a liberal labeling small-town conservatives in their perceived image, without any hint of nuance or complexity.

I like nuance as much as the next person. What I like more is a candidate who shares my views on issues. Mr. Obama is not that candidate. It's just a difference in priorities.

PS. The fact that he mentioned anti-trade sentiment is fitting.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Jason posited...

It certainly does not seem to be a very strategic comment.

At 8:03 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

I absolutely agree that he could have worded things better, but I guess I just see more behind the words. But I also know myself well enough to know that if McCain had said the same things, I'd be on the opposite side. Likewise, if McCain had said the same things, the people attacking Obama would be defending McCain.

That's how we all are.

But Parker, as for your comment about liberals "who look at someone who is Christian and conservative and immediately labels that person as some sort of backwards-thinking, 19th century living hick" . . . I don't look at conservatives this way. But I do look this way at people who allow right-wing politicians to convince them to vote their fears rather than for the candidate who may actually help their lot in life.


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