Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Conversations on American Elitism

Here's what Barack Obama said when he was on the Left Coast: "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. "

Karl Rove thinks this is a Marxian statement [h/t to Think Progress]. Whatever that statement was, it wasn't Neo-Con-ian. Thank God.

I rather agree with Fred Newman on Talk/Talk: "I don't really know how the remark plays to the people who Hillary has now appointed herself the defender of. So, she wants to get some mileage out of it. This gives her the freedom to get into personalistic accusations about Obama and his past. And that's what's so sick about politics. It's a very dangerous business to put yourself out as a spokesperson for millions of Americans who hold very complex and varied views on values, on religion and on guns."

Andrew Sullivan was horrified by Hillary's follow-up ad: "Without batting an eyelid, Clinton effortlessly adopts the entire worldview of the most cynical of Republican operatives and applies it with the delicacy of a shovel to the likely Democratic party nominee. This is a) how desperate she must know feel; b) how utterly irrelevant it is to her what happens in this election unless she is the next Democratic nominee for president. "

And from The Daily Doubter: "I must cut Sean Hannity some slack, however. Hannity isn't an amoral Machiavellian such as Karl Rove who is perfectly happy to use religion and the evangelical leaders he reportedly called "the nuts" as a political tool. No, Hannity is just a witless authoritarian follower and partisan hack who attacks which ever Democrat is on the sheet of paper he's gotten from his producers; Hannity also has an ability which is key to his success as a Fox News pundit and radio personality - he has an unlimited capacity for self-blindness, double standard, and hypocrisy." [Hey Daily Doubter -- tell us what you REALLY think! ;-)]

With all due respect to Michelle "Them's Fightin' Words!" Obama (And if you're smart, you don't want to fight nobody who grew up on the Southside of Chicago..... see the YouTube video here from Keith Olbermann's show), elitism isn't a factor of where you come from. Many working class people who have "made it" are elitist. That's what most major institutions -- universities, political parties, etc. -- cultivate. For my money, elitism is a political issue. When Geo. Washington declined the crown, he made a statement on behalf of American Democracy. That's the politics we need to be cultivating. And that's the politics of inclusion. --NH

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