Tuesday, April 15, 2008

on obama's "bitter" comments

i'd drafted this before i'd read robert reich's post on it. just read his words instead which are obviously more eloquent than mine. you hear me? skip the drivel below! i'm just posting it so as to not have wasted the time writing it

people are up in arms (and i'm sure i'll get some ire from cousin in the comments) but having a lot of family in ohio, whose residents are fairly similar to PA, i don't really disagree with him.

most of my family in OH have these demographics: very religious, lower middle class to flat out poor, not college-educated. what they don't get is that they're poor as fuck and that maybe they should be putting economics ahead of whether some girl in nebraska should be allowed to have an abortion. anyone who was truly religious, i think, SHOULD be a democrat anyhow since dems do much more to help the poor, the young, the elderly and don't hate or judge as much (which seems to be what jesus would have done)...but i digress. but how do these people ALWAYS vote? they always vote republican. and i do believe it's because they have no faith that the government will help them out in any economic way no matter which party they vote for. these are people who have no reason to vote republican and they're doing themselves a disservice voting that way.

and don't get me wrong, i understand that the GOP machine has successfully messaged the democratic party as the party of baby-killing heathens. that's damage that's going to take decades to reverse.

but that's what i took away from obama's statements. that there's a hell of a lot of people who just don't realize that the republicans don't give a shit about them, aren't going to do them any favors, and are getting their votes for all the wrong reasons.*

*and yes, i'd say that considering the current state our nation is in, that voting purely to keep embryos going into trash cans instead of into labs to cure disease...is flat-out having the wrong priorities. at this point in time, there are more important things to worry about than niche social issues.

1 people who played with me:

Blogger Cousin said...

Let nobody say that I don't aim to please :-)

Obama's remarks raise two separate questions: the substance and how politically smart they were. When I campaigned for John Kerry in Iowa in 2004 I frequently heard from Bush supporters that while they might agree with Kerry on a lot of issues, Kerry and the Dems just didn't respect them. It wasn't so much about abortion or gay marriage (though I did hear about the latter) as it was popular culture -- that they didn't like the saturation of sex on tv and in music or the way religious people were portrayed as evil or dumb. And now it was payback time. It's easy for us to say "that's just dumb" but how many of us could easily rise above what we felt was a personal attack. I think we're kidding ourselves if we deny that there wasn't *any* tone of disrespect in Obama's comments. It may not help Hillary, but I think it did cost him some votes in the fall.

As for the substance, I agree with most of what he was getting at: it's pretty much a redux of Tom Frank's "What's Wrong With Kansas?" The big exception is illegal immigration -- there's nothing illogical in the least about blue collar workers thinking that *modern* illegal immigration has depressed their wages and threatened their jobs. There's solid academic research to back that up (and with one exception-- the effect of illegal immigrants on health care, which wasn't shown to be that much -- I know of no research that backs Obama/Clinton/McCain/Reich), and Obama is calling them a bunch of nativist racists. Sure, many of them *are* nativist racists, but when it comes to illegal immigration most of the passion is because of the numbers, not race. Indeed, I suggest that if Latino illegal immigrants were instead all from Africa or the Middle East, a border wall would have been built five years ago.

BTW, if you're looking for a place to work for Obama in the Fall and can make it to Iowa (maybe combined with a trip to Chicago), I highly recommend it. The people are friendly, it's a battleground state, and unlike other states, you can actually hand out and collect absentee ballots while canvassing. Talk about delivering the vote for Obama!

4/15/2008 4:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home