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Kill the Messenger!

myiq2xu's picture

This is just wrong.

We've all heard that Obama opened his mouth last week and inserted both feet. It was an unforced error and Hillary quite rightly called him on it, as did John McCain and the GOP media. The Blog Boiz have been having a hissy fit ever since.

But some people are using the right-wing tactic of blaming the messenger for the message. In this case the messenger was Mayhill Fowler, who attended the San Francisco fundraiser between Obama and some millionaire contributors.

In an article titled "Faux Obama Supporter Mayhill Fowler Smears Obama, Joseph Palermo at Arianna's
Huff & Puff writes:

I have close friends who attended the Obama donor event in Pacific Heights where Fowler claims she became so upset about his remarks. My friends, an interracial couple who are professors at two public universities in California, assured me that they did not hear any of the "cocky" tone that Fowler claims made her so "uncomfortable." The event was held for like-minded people who want to see Obama succeed. From her writings and her whirlwind media tour slamming Obama, Mayhill Fowler clearly does not share this sentiment. That's fair, but she shouldn't pretend to be an "Obama supporter."

Her charges of "cockiness" on the part of Senator Obama have had their desired effect. She has garnered publicity and has been given a free ride on this non-issue. She appeared on the Lou Dobbs show, and CNN and other news outlets are flogging her false and vituperative sentiments about Obama. Predictably, the Republican Party and the John McCain campaign seized upon Fowler's distortions and used them as talking points. And of course Hillary Clinton, needing some good news after Mark Penn ignominiously resigned when his ties to Columbian lobbying money were revealed, is milking Fowler's smears for all they're worth, (which isn't much).

Mayhill Fowler apparently took away a totally different feeling from the event than anyone else in the room and her spin on Obama's statements to what he thought was a sympathetic audience (save Ms. Fowler) is a sorry distortion. Fowler posed as a "citizen reporter," but she didn't seek responses from others who attended the event, nor did she check her own subjective and uniformly negative biases at the door."
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No where in the article does it quote what Obama actually said, nor does it mention that his words were recorded. One is left with the impression that Fowler misreported Obama's words and that was the sole cause of the controversy.

Why did Palermo feel the need to mention that his friends were "interracial?" Why does he think that Fowler should check her biases at the door, or seek the opinions of others? I would argue that the fact that he thought he was speaking before a "sympathetic" audience makes his statement worse, not better.

This is a transparent effort to change the subject away from Obama's major gaffe and to blame the messenger, similar to what was done to Scott Beauchamp.

Palermo is not alone. I hadn't been to Arianna's place lately but I see it's become a festering cesspool of CDS. The other stories included a "(Bill) Clinton did it too" and "Hillary thinks she's Annie Oakley" along with "people ARE bitter."

Is it November yet?

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Comments

Submitted by lambert on

So his "close friends" don't mean shit. Opinions are like assholes...

And remember, it's not the "bitter" but the "cling to."

See, working people, when they're feeling down, "cling to" religion.

Obama, however, gets to have all sorts of complex and nuanced reasons to listen to Reverend Wright for twenty years.

Anyone seeing an obvious, class-based distinction?

And an insult to working people?

I do.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Its as if these people don't realize that they are leaving a trail of absurdity for posterity. The books written about the SCLB (so-called Liberal blogosphere) will be interesting. An epic tragicomedy, no doubt.

Only tyrants rig elections.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"... cling to religion."

But it was obvious from the get-go that this was just more of his potpourri of positions. Putting down religion is, no doubt, reserved exclusively for when he's trying to paint a vital swing state that's not trending his way as full of bitter, superstitious, xenophobic yahoos.

Ditto for guns, which he happily sings the praises of... presumably because of his extensive experience in duck blinds -- else it would be hypocritical of him to chide Hillary for her lack of same, and that certainly couldn't be the case.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

"When you're in one, stop digging."

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"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

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“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

...is the context of the remarks.

Obama was explaining why he wasn't getting much support from working-class voters.

And his answer comes down to "they're so wrapped up in their own stupid problems and prejudices, they are incapable of the enlightenment that all you rich San Franciscans have achieved"

Obama is trying desperately to get people to forget about that context --- that he was blaming white working class voters for his own inability to connect with them.

Maybe the real reason that Obama doesn't connect with working class voters is that they don't want to be told to check his website for his policy solutions, and be told that this is an election about changing the "process". They want real answers to the issues that concern them -- and have been around long enough to know that the Magical Unity Pony is a dead horse that isn't worth beating.

badger's picture
Submitted by badger on

are not only an inter-racial couple, they're college professors and "like-minded" with Obama.

In other words, they're solid members of the creative class, and there's nothing else we need to know to recognize that their take is absolutely correct and unimpeachable, even when repeated second-hand.

And Mayhill Fowler is from the South - you know those people can't be believed, and they're all racists. She's probably bitter too.

No elitists here.

OxyCon's picture
Submitted by OxyCon on

MARXIST!

That's how the right side of the political spectrum is labeling Obama's "they cling to religion" gaffe.

OxyCon

Submitted by lambert on

The ol' religion as epiphenomena concept, which is just.... wrong, and not wrong in a useful or interesting way. So, in fact, the lizard back brains of the wingers did, indeed, spot an enemy.

The real issue, for me, is that Obama says that working class voters "cling to" religion, but does he himself? No no! That's the condescension and arrogamce, right there. If religion is important to Obama, as human being, then other human beings deserve the respect he demands for himself.

So, why doesn't he do that?

Now, he could dig himself out of the hole he's in by focusing on policy -- universal health care would really help these people -- but n-o-o-o-o. He's got to get snarky about Hillary. That is just so stupid, and does not bode well for the general or, assuming McCain loses, for his Presidency.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

This is precisely why Obama's failure to proudly and consistently honor progressivism/liberalism is a potentially disastrous mistake. Instead of building on the (what was) growing preference for Dem/Left values, he has continued to renounce them, feeding the old Reagan myths about what lefties and their "socialized medicine" are all about.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

campaigning like a moderate Republican.

Assuming he wins the Presidency, Democrats have no reason to trust him and the GOP never will.

Nixon and Reagan could make treaties with China and the U.S.S.R. because no one questioned their anti-communist credentials. Only the most rabid conservatives objected.

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"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

x

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“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

wiggles's picture
Submitted by wiggles on

The event was held for like-minded people who want to see Obama succeed. From her writings and her whirlwind media tour slamming Obama, Mayhill Fowler clearly does not share this sentiment. That’s fair, but she shouldn’t pretend to be an “Obama supporter.”

It's very difficult for me to imagine a Hillary supporter paying thousands of dollars towards Obama's campaign to get into this event just to get some footage for YouTube. This Fowler person must be so filthy, stinking rich she burns $50 bills for heat.

Submitted by lambert on

Indeed. That would be why they're all laughing.

Personally, though, I don't find that $50s burn well enough, maybe because of all those new colors that make the greenback look like monopoly money.

I prefer simply to burn the furniture. No doubt many others in the PA hills are doing the same....

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

space's picture
Submitted by space on

Obama's mistake has been campaigning like a moderate Republican.

My head is spinning.

I get it when people criticize Obama for the Unity schtick. But, if anything, Obama has rubbed me the wrong way by invoking religion too much.

But how on Earth is this latest episode an example of Obama campaigning like a moderate Republican?

He basically makes -- though way inartfully -- the same point as Thomas Frank of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and Clinton's team attacks him for being insufficiently respectful of religion and "real Americans." Has anybody noticed that attacking Obama and his supporters as "latte-sipping elitists" is the sort of thing that one ususally hears from Republicans?

wiggles's picture
Submitted by wiggles on

He basically makes — though way inartfully — the same point as Thomas Frank of “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”

Get a new shtick already, Space. This, "What's the Matter With Kansas?" thing's not nearly as persuasive as you seem to think it is.

Maybe Obama’s point, that it doesn’t help to tell people you have a liberal policy if they have been bamboozled into thinking that liberalism = Marxism, has some merit.

That wasn't his point. Watch the whole video and read the full quote in context. His point was, "you people are so much smarter and more enlightened than those poor, gun-toting, bible-thumping rubes in PA."

space's picture
Submitted by space on

"Maybe the real reason that Obama doesn’t connect with working class voters is that they don’t want to be told to check his website for his policy solutions, and be told that this is an election about changing the “process”."

And maybe not. Maybe the real reason is that they have been lied to by right-wing organizations that have funneled billions of dollars into a massive disinformation campaign. Maybe Obama's point, that it doesn't help to tell people you have a liberal policy if they have been bamboozled into thinking that liberalism = Marxism, has some merit.

I'm sorry, but the Republicans have gotten a lot of mileage about invoking the liberal boogeyman who is going to take away your guns and your bible. That's just a fact.

Charles Lemos's picture
Submitted by Charles Lemos on

that the Huffington Post broke this story and that Obama is getting taken to task over it. If his candidacy does now falter, Arianna will be so beset with grief.

I did look at some of the over 5,500 comments on Mayhill Fowler blog and good portion did in fact kill the messenger but most were a variant on Obama spoke the truth. I don't dispute that, it is that he is lying everywhere else that is the problem.

He tells audiences what they want to hear. I have been saying this since Iowa. The only difference is now people can call him on it because he is developing a public record and now a private one that don't match up.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

and talking down liberalism. He recycles right-wing meme to attack Hillary.

He uses RW talking points on Social Security, has an economic advisor (Goolsbee) who wants to privatizee it, and used "Harry and Louise" to attack Hillary's healthcare plan.

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"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

x

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“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

to catch on to this.

Apparently they are like-minded too.

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"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

x

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

Submitted by lambert on

Heh.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

space's picture
Submitted by space on

Guilty! I made the same point in a prior thread. I guess it is okay to pile on this story in thread after thread, but woe to those who express a different view more than once.

Out of curiosity, what do you not find persuasive? That there has been a massively financed right-wing propaganda campaign to discredit liberal economic ideas or that this is what Obama was getting at?

(Incidentally, folks, if you are going to play the "elitist" game, Chappaqua is a hell of a lot more out of touch from the economic realities that most Americans face than San Francisco is.)

space's picture
Submitted by space on

I don't dispute any of that. Those are all reasons why you don't see me out pounding the pavement for Obama.

My point is that I hate RW talking points wherever they come from. Hearing Hillary supporters bash "latte-sipping" "elites" makes me as nauseous as hearing some wingnut bash brie and wine.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

Feel free to express them.

"Out of curiosity, what do you not find persuasive? That there has been a massively financed right-wing propaganda campaign to discredit liberal economic ideas or that this is what Obama was getting at?"

The latter.

------------------------------------------------
"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

x

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

space's picture
Submitted by space on

His point was, “you people are so much smarter and more enlightened than those poor, gun-toting, bible-thumping rubes in PA.”

No, it wasn't. He said pretty clearly that rural voters in Pennsylania had been conditioned to not accept the solutions proffered by liberals. He added that it didn't help when the solution was being made by a black guy with a foreign sounding name.

I hate to break it to you, but the first rule of politics is to identify with your constituents. Look like them. Dress like them. Talk like them. Act like them.

Obama was making the rather pedestrian observation that there probably aren't a whole lot of mixed-race folks in small PA mill towns named Barak Obama. And if rural Pennsylvanians don't identify with Obama as much, they won't accept his proposals as much.

Doesn't make them rubes and doesn't make them racists. Just makes them like everyone else on the planet.

wiggles's picture
Submitted by wiggles on

Is that Obama wasn't making the same arguments as Frank Rich was in "What's the Matter With Kansas?" He wasn't talking about people voting against their own economic interests. He was making excuses for having lost two very large swing states by blaming the voters in those states by referring to them as a bunch of racist, gun-toting, bible-thumping hicks.

wiggles's picture
Submitted by wiggles on

^

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

"He said pretty clearly that rural voters in Pennsylania had been conditioned to not accept the solutions proffered by liberals. He added that it didn’t help when the solution was being made by a black guy with a foreign sounding name."

He pretty clearly did not say that. If he had, we wouldn't need W.O.R.M. 1.0 and 2.0 and all his interpreters in the blogosphere and on television 'splaining what he said.

------------------------------------------------
"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

x

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

space's picture
Submitted by space on

to tell me that he really meant that rural Pennsylvanians are racist, hick, rubes even though he didn't use any of those words?

Whatever. We just disagree.

When the criticism of Obama is based on him being insufficiently liberal, I'm usually on board. When the criticism is indistinguishable from that emanating from Limbaugh or RedState, I probably won't be.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

You complain that America's dialog has been built on RW talking points, yet you don't seem to share the concern of many of us here about Obama's incessant ratification of those talking points... at the very moment when Americans were ready to repudiate them.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

Basic reading comprehension will do.

Spin all you want, but you can't turn chicken shit into chicken soup.

------------------------------------------------
"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

x

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

That's the problem with Obama's spin that he was simply pointing out that white working class voters there vote cultural wedge issues and not their economic interest. Pennsylvania voted for Clinton, Gore and Kerry. They also have a democratic governor and one democratic Senator. So, to the extent Republicans have been able to get white working class voters to vote for them based on cultural issues, that doesn't apply to those in Pennsylvania. The only reason for Obama to say it does (besides the politically expedient reason of discounting his likely loss to Clinton there) is because he's putting all working class, rural, and poor white into the same cultural box. Of course, they fall for cultural wedge issues, they're poor and white aren't they?

If you want to talk about voters who vote against their economic interests because of cultural wedge issues, you aren't talking Pennsylvania. You're talking about all those voters in red states that Obama likes to tout his popularity with. Those voters screwed Pennsylvanians over by voting for Bush twice and now Pennsylvanians are the ones labeled as the ones who fell for the cultural bullshit. When they didn't.

It probably also doesn't help him that he and his supporters constantly tout how they're going to win states like Colorado and Virginia and so the Democrats don't need to be worry so much about carrying those white, working class voters in Pennsylvania. So basically, having supported the democratic party in the last four elections, their votes are being discounted in favor of winning over red states. That alone should piss them off.

And that's my main problem with this entire mess. Obama said something that has the ability to hurt not only him, but down ticket Dems in November and instead of just apologizing, he continues to try to spin his way out of it. If he'd just have apologized, I'd be criticizing Clinton for not moving on.

But the constant spinning is insulting and, perhaps it's my Appalachian roots, but I'm calling bullshit where I see bullshit, especially when it involves a bunch of rich dem donors laughing at the bigotry of working class Americans. Because, of course, there is no bigotry among the rich or the creative class even though a higher percentage of those white working class voters will vote for the democratic ticket in November than rich whites will (most of them are Republican).

And I don't consider it attacking Obama from the right to stand up for the importance of working class voters, most of whom are democrats, and the dignity and complexity of their lives. To the contrary, if he understood them a little better, perhaps he'd still be advocating for universal healthcare.

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right -- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. " - Eleanor Roosevelt

space's picture
Submitted by space on

I agree with those posts completely. When is it out turn, indeed.

I don't know how many different ways that I can say that I absolutely share concern about Obama. Anyone who wants my vote probably shouldn't needlessly take on Paul Krugman. (But if you want to politically benefit from my concern, it's best to never hire Mark Penn to be your chief strategist. That concerns me too.)

But the key word is "concern". I am concerned about Obama. I remain vigilant about his campaign. But what I read here is, for the most part, simple cheerleading and simple bashing, not concern.

Bash Obama from the left (weak on Social Security). Bash Obama from the right (hates Real Americans, guns, and religion).

I also find it amusing to be accused of "spinning" when I all my favorite candidates are out of the race I'm more or less a spectator.

wiggles's picture
Submitted by wiggles on

But I supposedly need Corrente to tell me that he really meant that rural Pennsylvanians are racist, hick, rubes even though he didn’t use any of those words?

"They cling to guns or religion (bible-thumping) or antipathy to people who aren't like them (racist) or anti-immigrant sentiment (also racist) or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Gun-toting + Bible-thumping + racist + racist = hicks, aka rubes.

And there's not really one word about economic self-interests in that whole spiel.

Submitted by lambert on

And we don't "just disagree." Your spin is just wrong, that's all. But your needs are up to you.

Funny, though, that you show up all of a sudden when Obama starts having this problem.... And not before...

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by lambert on

I mean, it's so "pretty clear" that the ______ ers have to add words in square brackets to make it, well, even more clear.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Lost in Space's picture
Submitted by Lost in Space on

Case in point: PA Governor (and former Mayor of Philadelphia) Ed Rendell, in talking about Obama's candidacy, made the point that there are some white voters who are not ready to elect a "Black" candidate - by making a correlation between Obama and (Republican Candidate) Lynn Swann, who ran against Rendell in 2006 for PA Governor . Rendell also praised Obama for his ability to "bring in new voters" in the same article. (Article source here - Foxnews.com (from AP Newswire))

For pointing this out, Rendell was excoriated, called a racist, a bigot, and much more. And that was just in the Foxnews.com comment section. I am afraid to venture out to other sites to see what other colorful monikers Rendell got pasted on him.

Now Obama uses a much broader brush to paint more than just small-town Pennsylvanians as "not ready," but as racist, xenophobic, gun-toting religious bigots, and this is supposed to be a continuation of a serious discussion on race and class? That doesn't work.

What makes it even worse is that Obama did not have the temerity to say this in PA, but in a very ultra-wealthy San Francisco neighborhood in front of super-rich people. And for an "eloquent" public speaker, he seems to gaffe alot.

When's the next WORM sign coming?
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The enemy of my enemy is STILL my enemy. Those who forget this end up being Vulture scraps.

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The enemy of my enemy is STILL my enemy. Those who forget this end up being Vulture scraps.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I had gotten you wrong once before on another thread, so sorry about that. But, still, I'm just not buying your -- I'd call it -- rationalization of Obama's statement. His intent seems unmistakable: PA voters are shellshocked by economic hardships, and they're "clinging" to the wrong things as a result.

Submitted by katiebird (not verified) on

The quotes were pretty horrible, they were. But I think the reason for the gut-wrenching outrage was because we saw in the video clip his careful lead-up to the laugh-line about how voters in PA are skeptical of a "47 year old black man" (and he & the rich-crowd laughed on cue together.) -- like his age & race are the only reasons anyone would vote for Hillary....

It took me straight back to junior high where the cool-kids would laugh together at the outsiders.

The gaffe-stuff was bad, but possibly forgettable.

The laugh? Anyone who feels like they were on the wrong side of that will remember it.

And isn't most of America on the wrong side of that joke?

space's picture
Submitted by space on

Lambert, Yeah, I tend to pipe up more when I disagree. Makes things more interesting than just saying "me too".

The reason I'm piping up now is that, unlike your criticisms of Obama in the past, I don't agree with this one.

Submitted by lambert on

I have good reason to be careful... And I was about to say paranoid.

Sorry. When I contrast how Obama writes a free pass for himself, and the complexity and nuance of his relationship with his own pastor, and then runs the "cling to" thing riff on, well, why some people won't vote for him in front of campaign contributors... Well, to me, it's the last straw.

It all comes on top of the right wing talking points, being constantly called racist already by the OFB, being purged, the vile misogny, the Hillary hate, the Boiz destroying our media critique... Being, essentially, read out of the party. That's the context for my reaction to this.

People who don't vote for Obama are, basically, scum. There can never be a good reason for them not to. That's what the OFB say, that's what this says.

So, to me, he's not riffing on What's the Matter with Kansas at all, as if the millionaires had ever read it. And if he was, (a) you'd think he would have qualified his statement to that effect, and (b) it was an out of tune riff, since, as BDB points out, PA is reliably blue, so WTF? He's just saying he can win anyhow, so write 'em off. [laughter] Where else can they go, after all? Just like the women.

And to top it all off, he's got to respond to it all by mocking and belittling Hillary more. I mean, I've never encountered a Democratic candidate who wanted my vote less. He never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

So, that's what I hear. To me, it's in the text and in the context. But regardless, that's what I hear. I don't think I'm alone. We'll know in eight days.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

space's picture
Submitted by space on

And there’s not really one word about economic self-interests in that whole spiel.

Oh, really? Maybe if you read beyond the couple of sentences that are on endless loop, you would see it differently.

Obama makes clear that he isn't just talking about any rural areas. He's expressly talking about the ones that have been left behind economically:

OBAMA: So, it depends on where you are, but I think it's fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people feel most cynical about government.

Then he goes on to expressly repudiate the idea that it is simple racism that is hurting him:

The people are mis-appre...I think they're misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to 'white working-class don't wanna work -- don't wanna vote for the black guy.' That's...there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today - kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.

Then he returns to the point about how government is inherently looked on with skepticism. I.e. when you propose a liberal policy, even if is in the locals' best interest, you are going to meet resistance. The point is that this is resistance to optimistic, liberal policies. Not resistance to Obama, per se:

Here's how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it.

Then Obama simply notes the obvious. He's a black guy. He's from Hawaii and Chicago. He's not from Pennsylvaia. He doesn't bowl. He's got a funny name. He's also spinning to his supporters why a loss to Clinton isn't that bad. It's not the message. It's not the messenger. It's not that the people are bad. It's just a tough crowd:

And when it's delivered by -- it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laugher), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter).

Ironically, Obama touches on exactly what the critics here accusing him of not doing, getting more detailed. Understanding that these skeptical locals want more than Hope. Not only that, but he's expressly talking about liberal policies:

But -- so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What's the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is -- so, we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing -- close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama's gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we're gonna provide health care for every American. So we'll go down a series of talking points.

[We then have the oft-quoted section that Obama would love to take back]

He then goes on to make clear that he's not trying to stereotype. He recognizes that people are individuals and you never know:

Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background -- there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing.

As I said, I am skeptical and concerned about Obama. But no fair reading of the above would lead one to conclude that he's insulting rural Pennsylvanians. That he's lumping them in together. That he's calling them rubes and racists...at least no more than all people are suceptible to scapegoating.

It's a sophisticated and nuanced world view that most politicans wisely refuse to admit to. But it is one that I share.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

You mention it, but you leave it out, because then the "fair reading" changes.

Still no chicken soup - but don't stop trying.

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"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

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“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

wiggles's picture
Submitted by wiggles on

about working class people voting against their own economic best interests.

It's not the part you bolded, is it? Because tax cuts for the middle class is just something politicians say all the time. It's like "improving our schools," and "standing up to special interests."

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

Now he's knocking Hillary for knocking back a couple with the boys.

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"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

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“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

all that spin is after the fact--he was answering a question about why working class people weren't voting for him. His answer wasn't about them voting GOP on wedge issues, but about how all small town/rural people (period) are bitter and frustrated so clinging to faith and guns and racism and xenophobia, etc.

He gave a marxist critique about their false consciousness and the inauthenticity of their beliefs and hobbies and worldviews--and that was his explanation. The audience ate it up bec SF millionaires--and Obama--agree that these people are ignorant racist fools who always have their heads turned by GOP hotbutton bs--which is false too, since 1/2 the country votes Dem and millions of them are working class too, but don't fall for GOP bullshit.

it shows how much Obama validates over and over the GOP spin on everything--he agrees with them that voters are simple ignorant fools who will vote on wedge issues. it's all deeply and clearly insulting to the millions and millions of Dems he needs to vote for him--and it's asinine.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

he agreed with the GOP bullshit that Dems are hostile to religion and reluctant to talk about it--we're not, and never have been. All Dem presidents since JFK have made faith a big deal--Clinton too.

He's done that one a lot--and it's also extraordinarily damaging not to mention politically dumb.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

and he hit the trifecta.

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"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

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“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

"... Mayhill Fowler before she was airbrushed out by Tim Russert and changed into a leaker by Jay-Newton Small is an Obama supporter who sometimes finds it necessary to be a critic of the campaign. She is also a citizen journalist with a platform: OffTheBus, which resides at the Huffington Post. Now if the term "citizen journalist" drives you nuts, or gets you up on your high horse, then call her a writer with a page on the Web that can reach the rest of the news system. The point is Fowler is a particular kind of Obama loyalist, a particular kind of contributor to his campaign. The kind with a notebook, a tape recorder, friends in the campaign, a public platform of decent size, plus the faculty of critical intelligence. The campaign doesn't know what it thinks about such people. ..." -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-rosen/...

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Do you have a link to Obama's lecturing the dems again on faith? Because I've about had it with his conservative assholes = moral people, bullshit.

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right -- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. " - Eleanor Roosevelt

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0... --

"...OBAMA: But, you know, the notion that somebody like myself, who has been working in churches since I got out of college. and whose entire trajectory, not just during this campaign, but long before, has been to talk about how Democrats need to get in church, reach out to evangelicals, link faith with the work that we do. ..."

(we go to churches all the time, and esp during elections--they're just not white evangelical ones)

"... And we want to make sure that, even as we are teaching responsible sexuality and we are teaching abstinence to children, that we are also making sure that they've got, you know, enough understanding about contraception that they don't end up having much more severe problems because of a dumb mistake. ..."

(teaching abstinence to children--and all who get aid all over the world--the current GOP policy--has meant that contraception is not taught, bec when they teach abstinence that precludes any need for contraception. he should know that they're incompatible.)

and he lied about his relationship to Wright too-- "... And so I found that very attractive and ended up joining the church when I got out of law school. Now, I have to say that, you know, in reports subsequently, there's been this notion that he was, by various terms, my spiritual adviser or my spiritual mentor. You know, he's been my pastor.
..."

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

"... And Obama stands there and talks about abstinence education and fighting promiscuity, characterizing an epidemic of rape as "certain situations [in which women] may not be able to protect themselves from having unprotected sex."

And that's after yet more noise ..."

the promiscuity and euphemisms for rape thing was especially horrendous bec it blames the victim--it was so jarring --evil really.

this whole election has brought some great strong new (or new to me at least) voices to the fore--her, and Anglachel especially.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

I suspect the whole "can't protect themselves from unprotected sex" thing was meant to get at the situation where the woman technically consents to sex with the man, but the man refuses to wear a condom.

Not that he deserves the benefit of the doubt in this area. And not that that addresses the imbalance of power and the amount of coercion behind her "consent."

Oh, fuck it. Why am I even trying to defend him on this? He sucks on this. Kate is completely right. No surprise.

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right -- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. " - Eleanor Roosevelt

Submitted by lambert on

Not so. Just not so. And pile the the Harry and Louise remakes on top of that. That's why I resent being called "cynical". Because I'm not cynical about government, or at least the possibility of a legitimate one; I'm cynical about Obama. Obama, tendentiously, and space, for whatever reason, conflate the two.

Now, I do see what Obama said, above:

[OBAMA] So we’ll go down a series of talking points.

Which is what I've been screaming for Obama to do: "More boring bullet points about policy!" People love that about Hillary, and here, Obama is proposing to follow her lead.

But Obama didn't stick to his own plan! (Boy, the contributors must be pissed!)

As I've commented over and over and over -- links to numerous to mention, truly -- the way for Obama to put this controversy behind him would be to talk about policy, and in particular, universal health care.* He could fix his broken plan, genuinely get above the fray, and appeal to these same voters, who may lose their jobs, and their houses, if they get sick. But n-o-o-o. Obama, as a campaigner, never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. He's got to get all snarky and insulting on Hillary instead! Dear God.

And I really, really don't think "cling to" is sophisticated and nuanced at all; at best, it's uncited and recycled Franks; at worst, it's vulgar Marxism, as others have pointed out.

But what really gets my goat is that Obama's written himself a pass on his own nuance and complexity (the Philly speech on Wright), but not for these "lunch bucket" voters. And if he had been honest about the original statement, then he wouldn't have tried to dig himself out of the jam by claiming that "cling to" was Biblical and good and stood for traditional values (anti-immigrant sentiment is good? WTF?)

And at a high level, in space's long quote, the contradictions in Obama's appeal come into play.

On the one hand, we can all agree that working class people have been totally fucked over for a generation by the Conservative movement, like all but a very few of us; pure class warfare.

And yet what is Obama's solution? Well, given the Unity Schtick, it can't be conflict; that would be refighting the battles of the 90s. So, the solution has to be Obama himself and "Obama enthusiasts," in his telling phrase.

The solution has to be Obama himself and his "meta leadership." I call it meta leadership because while Obama talks about leadership a lot, he never really exercises it. Going all snarky on Hillary, instead of going with his original talking point plan would be an example of not leading. Dropping the national conversation on race as soon as Wright was no longer a problem in the polls would be another. Not standing with Dodd on FISA would be another. Not actually doing anything against Iraq when he was in the Senate -- for example, holding hearings -- would be another. I'm sure there are others.

Could it be that the people who don't want to entrust the Presidency and the country to Obama do so for solid reasons? That they don't trust the man or the message? Nah.... They "cling to" things that prevent them from becoming "enthusiasts"....

NOTE * I also said, since his campaign was about politics not policy, that he wouldn't be able to. Looks like I was right. Now it's too late, because Obama and the ______ ers are dug in. May they keep digging.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

jeqal's picture
Submitted by jeqal on

my whole body is spinning, and seems like there and crap I must have missed this latest. He's attacking women now? Something else must be going on in his life he is trying to divert the media from seeing. . . . . . . . . I'm going to Siberia, come get me if Hillary wins.

Obama is the hopiate of the masses--jeqal

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

it's all meta--and also really harmful (again)-- it's all reinforcing and affirming the essential GOP anti-govt stance, where govt's not a practical tool that helps people and works for us and to lift us.

Bec he's defined change as not politics as usual and not the broken DC system, etc, any actual accomplishments would be bad given his premise, so he has to be meta and just talk about talking about stuff, and talk about getting together--instead of actually doing stuff or using Govt to do stuff.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

"Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters nationwide disagree with Barack Obama’s statement that people in small towns “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." A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 25% agree with the Democratic frontrunner while 19% are not sure.

Partisan and ideological differences suggest that the comments are more likely to be a factor in the General Election than in the Primaries. ..." --

http://rasmussenreports.com/public_conte...

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

It looks substantial and tastes sweet, but when you bite into it there's nothing there.

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"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

x

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“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

I've been trying to figure out Clinton's strategy. She has a new, incredibly lame ad out about his comments.

After viewing and thinking about the ad and what her campaign is trying to accomplish, I've decided that there's a reason why she's focused on the god and guns part of his comment and not the racist xenophobes part of his comments. The latter is too toxic and would kill him in the general. I don't think Clinton wants to ruin him for November if he's the nominee.

As for the ad, I don't think voters in Pennsylvania or otherwise are the intended target. I doubt she'll run it very much. I think the intended target is the Super Delegates. She's trying to show them how easy it is to hit Obama and what a difficult time he's going to have responding effectively. She's not even trying very hard and he's been flailing around. As I said, she's seemed to avoid taking on the most offensive comments he made in favor of the god and guns thing. So I think she's trying to give the SDs a preview of what's to come if he's the nominee without completely hammering him.

At least I hope that's what she's trying to do because if that ad is meant to actually persuade voters? L-A-M-E

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right -- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. " - Eleanor Roosevelt

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

she would alienate people she'll need in November.

Unlike Obama and contrary to the lies that have been told about her, she won't "do anything" to win.

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"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong." - Molly Ivins (RIP)

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“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

The ad doesn't even put up his entire quote on the screen. Yet, I bet she gets called all kinds of nasty names by the Blogger Boyz and accused of destroying the party. Even though she's clearly pulling her punches on this issue. She's hitting him hard, but she could be destroying him with it if she wanted to. She clearly doesn't want to, although that's what she's going to be accused of.

Having said that, I fully expect most Super Delegates to see it clearly. They're politicians, they know what she could be doing with that quote.

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right -- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. " - Eleanor Roosevelt