I’m bitter, how about you?

April 14, 2008

Friday, George W. Bush admitted to OK’ing talks on torture between high level cabinet officials. You read that right, the President of the United States admitted to war crimes. And the talking heads on Sunday couldn’t get enough. They couldn’t stop talking about the inherent stupidity, political tone-deafness and near criminality of the remarks of… Barack Obama.

“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,” Obama said. “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.”

This is elitist??? I saw these comments and the furor over them on Saturday while watching TV with my wife. As soon as Obama’s remarks were stated, she raised her hand in the air and said, “I know I’m bitter.” However, the Clinton and McCain campaigns can’t seem to wrap their heads around this line of thinking, so I’m going to try to spell it out for anyone who is still confused. Let’s start with a definition.

 elitist – a person who is or who believes himself or herself to be a member of an elite group

So what Clinton and McCain are saying is that, based on nothing more than the words he uttered in this case, that Barack Obama believes himself to be a member of an elite group? What group is this? Non-bitter Moonbats of America?

Obama may have made a poor choice of words as many are saying (an idea with which I vehemently disagree), but that doesn’t make those words any less true. I look around at Great Bend, KS and I see a town that is hanging on against all odds. One of the local manufacturing plants shut down a few years ago and no one has any illusion about it opening back up. All of the politicians look at those of us out here in flyover country and say, “I’m going to bring the jobs back” and they never come back. They say, “I’m going to make sure your family has health care” and every day you see cans on the counter tops of restaurants and convenience stores admonishing you to drop your change into the can so a little kid can get the chemotherapy that they need to stay alive. They say, “I’m going to make sure that you have a place to live” and then do nothing to stop the snake-oil salesmen who bring their easy credit terms and screw you out of your home.

This country has turned into a nightmare for most of the people in it. Politicians don’t care about how we are doing, what sort of towns we live in, what our kids eat and drink, or what sorts of jobs we work to try to make ends meet. They take the anger from this and redirect it at the things that aren’t like us, be they gays, guns or the idea that the government is going to close down your local church and make your kids start singing “Darwin is Great” before the start of the day. Easy things at which to be angry, sure, but intellectually dishonest as well. And most of us are starting to realise this. Bitter? Bet your ass we are.

So let McCain and Hillary keep filling the airwaves with nonsense about how “elitist” Barack Obama is. It does an absolutely fabulous job of making the two of them look foolish and out of touch.

Bread, peace, and freedom.

Afterthought: Just read a great post from Crooks and Liars. I must admit at one point on Sunday, I was watching Fox’s idiotic contribution to public discourse on the public airwaves they call Fox News Sunday. I wondered if Bill Kristol was going to chime in on this controversy with one of his patented “dumbest thing ever uttered” quotes and thought he let me down. Turns out he was saving it up.

I haven’t read much Karl Marx since the early 1980s, when I taught political philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. Still, it didn’t take me long this weekend to find my copy of “The Marx-Engels Reader,” edited by Robert C. Tucker — a book that was assigned in thousands of college courses in the 1970s and 80s, and that now must lie, unopened and un-remarked upon, on an awful lot of rec-room bookshelves.

My occasion for spending a little time once again with the old Communist was Barack Obama’s now-famous comment at an April 6 San Francisco fund-raiser….

Talk about a non sequitur. Andrew Sullivan at theAtlantic.com has more time than me to tear apart this nonsense.

Bread, Peace and Freedom

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