22 June 2008

Voices from under the bus

One of the things I've been doing while I was off line is trying to put my finger on exactly why it is that I -- who have been talking for months about how utterly vital it is to avoid another Republican administration -- now find it so hard to stomach voting for the Democratic nominee.

There is, to begin with, the matter of foreign policy and national security, always something of a concern when contemplating a Democrat as Commander in Chief. It wasn't until this that I became completely comfortable with Hillary Clinton on that score. I'm still not comfortable with Obama, partly because his record suggests that his statements are, shall we say, not always a reliable guide to his actual intentions.

Then there's the whole Wright/TUCC issue. Does Obama find rabid America-bashing and anti-white racism to be acceptable? There's no sign of that in his own statements, but if he doesn't, then why did he take as his spiritual mentor, for most of his adult life, a man who preached those things? Why did he attend that man's church for equally long? If I were religious, I would not stay for even a moment in a church whose preacher talked about blacks the way Wright talked about whites. If a white politician did have such an intimate, lifelong connection with such a preacher, black voters (and white voters with a conscience) would have every right and reason to view that politician with great suspicion.

It's also striking that so many Obama supporters on the internet seem incapable of addressing Clinton supporters except in the language of scorn, reprimand, and insult. Watching Obama trolls in action in the comments section of almost any pro-Clinton blog will confirm this. Clinton supporters wouldn't be human if we didn't feel increasingly alienated from the Obama camp by this. The relentless sexism and misogyny aimed at Clinton during the campaign (documented for months at sites like this one and this one), and the failure of Obama and most of his supporters to condemn it or even acknowledge it, also rankles.

But none of those points is the thing that really bothers me about Obama and what he represents. To get at that main issue, let me point again to this article from May, which I already linked to here.

[T]he Barack Obama campaign and its sympathizers have begun to articulate much more clearly what they mean by their vague slogan of "change" - nothing less than usurping the historic Democratic Party, dating back to the age of Andrew Jackson, by rejecting its historic electoral core: white workers and rural dwellers in the Middle Atlantic and border states.

The Obama advocates declare, though, that we have entered an entirely new political era. It is not only possible but also desira-ble, they say, for Democrats to win by turning away from those whom "progressive" pundits and bloggers disdain variously as "Nascar man," "uneducated," "low information" whites, "rubes, fools, and hate-mongers" who live in the nation's "shitholes."

Obama's campaign and its passionate supporters refuse to acknowledge that these voters consider him weaker -- and that Clinton's positions, different from his, as well as her experience actually attract support. Instead they impute racism to working class Democrats who, the polls also show, happen to be liberal on every leading issue. The effort to taint anyone who does not support Obama as motivated by racism has now become a major factor in alienating core Democrats from Obama's campaign.

Gallup figures presage a Democratic disaster among working-class white voters in November should Obama be the nominee. Yet Obama's handlers profess indifference - and, at times, even pride -- about these trends.

Everyone knows there is truth in this. During the primaries it was commonly observed that Obama and Clinton were emerging as the choice of "wine track" and "beer track" Democrats respectively. But we don't like to talk explicitly about class or even admit it exists in our country. As commenter "The Chaplain" ironically observed on my earlier posting, "The concept of "Class" is so European, my dear. It's an issue that Americans want to believe doesn't apply to us. We are (allegedly) the great meritorious society full of Horatio Algers." What makes the quotes above unusual is their bluntness.

This is ugly. Very ugly.

My head is still saying that a Republican Presidency would be bad for the country. My heart is starting to say that the Democrats don't deserve to win if they're going to do it like this, by beating down the very people they should be championing and allowing a lot of rather nasty, shallow, and bigoted types to revel in triumph over them.

In the primaries of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, etc., these rural and working-class Americans were struggling to make their voices heard -- to a party which is turning away, to an activist base which gleefully dismisses them as yokels or hillbillies or even racists, to a commentariat (in the MSM and blogosphere alike) which brushed aside millions of votes with the dismissive bleat of "it's over". The message is clear: We don't care what you think, we can win without you.

Is this healthy for our country? Can it be good for our country that the party which is supposed to stand up for the interests of the working class against the party of privilege, now brushes off the working class as a dispensable distraction from its glitzy and flashy "new coalition"?

The situation reminds me of the disgusting and Orwellian "debate" over illegal immigration. Illegal immigration mostly benefits business interests and the wealthy, so it is hardly surprising to see the Republican establishment favoring it, as with President Bush's enthusiatic support for the amnesty bill last year. What is shocking is the Democratic party's attitude. Illegal immigration mostly damages the interests of unskilled and semi-skilled American workers -- the very people the Democrats should be standing up for. Yet the party prefers to play ethnic politics, and call everyone who opposes illegal immigration nasty names. If you want the United States to enforce the same control over immigration that every other country on Earth takes for granted, then you are a racist, a xenophobe, and all manner of other repellent things.

So where do you turn, when what was once your party can ignore your voice in choosing its Presidential nominee -- because they have cherry-picked enough yuppies, college kids, and yearlings to drown you out?

Then there is the matter of the other major Clinton-leaning demo-graphic: women, especially older women. The party establishment seems to view them as nothing but an obstacle, and an easily-surmountable one at that, to the Obama coronation. The immense historical significance of electing our country's first woman Presi-dent -- especially in the eyes of those who actually experienced the struggles for female equality which today's twentysomethings are too young to remember -- is unworthy of mention. They are old and therefore out of touch, old and therefore probably racist, and that explains everything.

So, as I asked above, where can these two insulted and rejected constituencies turn? There is an obvious answer: they can turn to McCain. Blue-collar and rural voters in the rust-belt swing states have historically been open to both Democratic and Republican appeals, finding the former more willing to defend their economic interests but the latter, in many ways, less culturally alien. That's why those states are swing states. The Democratic party's current tack seems almost calculated to drive these voters into the arms of McCain, who is no fool and did not build a 22-year Senate career by insulting people whose votes he needs and has a solid chance to get. The feminist contingent's options are less clear, but my sense from the blogosphere is that their anger and disappointment are intense -- perhaps intense enough to help shift the political course of the nation.

But wouldn't a McCain Presidency be a disaster? I'm no longer so sure. McCain is not a typical Republican, as many conservatives' deep unease with him demonstrates. Unlike Bush, he supports stem-cell research. He recognizes the reality of anthropogenic global warming and favors serious action to combat it. The biggest issue is, of course, Roe vs. Wade and the Supreme Court, but even there, McCain may not be as bad as we think. And Democrats will surely strengthen their dominance in the Senate this year. They should be able to block extremist judicial nominees.

I would far rather see Hillary as President, but I'm starting to feel that I could accept McCain. And I'm starting to feel that I couldn't accept Obama -- not when his victory would mean the vindication of his "new politics" and of the tactics which were used against Hillary. A McCain Presidency would be an acceptable price to pay, if it meant defeating those tendencies and getting the party back on track.

The Democratic party establishment and too many of Obama's followers have betrayed the people whom the party is supposed to represent. They need to be punished, and the party brought back into line. It is as simple as that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could have settled for the McCain of 8 years ago, maybe, but not the McCain of 2008. He's sold out shamelessly.

I'm not down on Obama, but I'm disturbed by the messianic mantle many of his groupies confer on him. There is no way anyone can live up to such hype. I hope he's elected, I hope he does a decent job, and I hope his followers will cut him some slack when he disappoints them, as he inevitably will.

24 June, 2008 15:28  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

I knew early on that I would never vote for Obama as President. To be honest, I didn't think he had a chance of winning the nomination, I had no idea the fix from the DNC was already in (by evidence that the DNC was moved to Chicago in such a short time...that takes a lot of time and planning, and was obviously done very early on in this race, if not before it started).

I'm still not sure if I'll vote McCain or not vote for President at all. In my case, I live in Illinois, so my non vote or vote for McCain won't count for much. If he can't win Illinois, then he's really on trouble.

I think that this will be a close race, and I have no doubt that there will be some major voting discrepancies. I have to wonder if it was a plan for Reid and Pelosi to ignore any legislation to force a law for a paper trail. They may be planning on taking full advantage of that...Chicago style. Think about it, look at the way the Obama thugs got away with harassing voters, stealing ballots at the caucuses, locking out Hillary voters, etc. during the primary. Get ready for some major trouble in the general election, and this time it may be coming from the Democratic party.

25 June, 2008 08:15  
Blogger Rita said...

I am keeping my mouth shut & reserving my judgment. There is so much about politics & politicians that I don't know.

I have immersed myself into politics for the first time this election cycle. At a local & federal level(if that is the right term).

I hope this isn't too far off the subject but, I have a few observations so far; One is how the majority of people I'm around, liberal Democrats & Independents,(present company excluded) indulge in speculation & change their minds often as the election cycle goes on. This disappoints me as it shows a lack of realistic goals, purpose, & political savvy from the beginning. I have surmised this flip-flopping is due to the individual voters ignorance, which causes them to be led around by the nose by media spinning & other outside influences.

If a person doesn't have a Political science degree or major in government, how does he/she navigate in the murky waters of politics?

Does anyone have an answer to that?

26 June, 2008 09:17  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

If a person doesn't have a Political science degree or major in government, how does he/she navigate in the murky waters of politics?

I don't think the subject is actually so difficult that you need a degree in it to understand it, though that probably helps.

By analogy, a person with a philosophy degree would probably get more out of reading Nietzsche than someone like me who has only a random accumulation of knowledge on the subject, but even without such a degree I can still understand it and get something from it.

Some people's political concerns are fairly simple (always vote for the more liberal candidate, always vote for the anti-abortion candidate, or whatever), and it's not hard for such a person to figure out which candidate best fits his bill.

Changing one's mind isn't necessarily a sign of being a mental lightweight. Over the last year I've gradually moved from supporting Giuliani, to supporting Hillary but feeling certain I'd vote for whoever the Democratic nominee was, to feeling I can't vote for Obama after all. I spent a great deal of thought coming to each of those positions, and in each case I changed my mind because of new information that took time to sink in, not because I was being flighty or ignorant.

It may seem bizarre that the vote of someone who reads only the National Inquirer and believes in astrology and bigfoot counts for just as much as the vote of a political-science professor, but that's democracy. Rule by elites hasn't served Europe very well.

As for the media and spin doctors and their supposed pervasive influence -- actually, even uneducated people are not nearly as easy to manipulate as their so-called betters sometimes like to believe. Trust me on this one. I used to believe most people are like cattle, easily led. I learned otherwise.

26 June, 2008 14:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trust me on this one. I used to believe most people are like cattle, easily led. I learned otherwise. I am not so sure as you about that.

Of course you have put a lot of time & thought into your decisions. that is commendable. But, does it make you right? Is it correct? You say, some people's political concerns are fairly simple But what if they are not?

Do you think that maybe the best way to be political is to be a politician?

26 June, 2008 17:19  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I used to believe most people are like cattle, easily led. I learned otherwise.

Here we have a perfect example. The Democratic party leadership, most of the left-wing blogosphere. and even the media are all confidently trying to chivvy Clinton's supporters into line behind Obama. Yet the PUMA movement is growing in vigor and determination. We are not so easily herded.

But, does it make you right? Is it correct?

It gives my political stances the highest possible probability of being "correct" -- assuming that a "correct" stance means one which is in practical alignment with my values and objectives.

You say, some people's political concerns are fairly simple But what if they are not?

Some people's are, some people's aren't.

Do you think that maybe the best way to be political is to be a politician?

Far too much work. :-)

26 June, 2008 18:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain betrayed his own positions of 8 years ago, he is not trustworthy. a no vote is better than voting for McCain.

29 June, 2008 19:10  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Chaplain, Mary Ellen, Handmaiden -- thanks for your comments.

Anonymous -- you are entitled to your opinion, but without specifics it is hard to assess.

29 June, 2008 20:00  
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20 July, 2008 16:00  

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