06 September 2008

Random political observation

During the primaries, many observers noted the class divide between the "wine track" Obama Democrats and the "beer track" Clinton Democrats.

It appears that, for the general election, we may have a similar divide between the "arugula track" and the "mooseburger track".

Could be interesting.


Blogger Prash said...

I think I understand the "wine" and "beer" concept...

what is the meaning of : arugula and mooseburger ? It sounds so American and I sound so ignorant ! LOL

06 September, 2008 21:17  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Wine implies "higher" social class, beer implies rural or working class. It's very crude shorthand for the types of voters which Obama and Clinton mostly attracted.

Arugula is a vegetable which is rarely eaten in the US. A few months ago Obama made a comment in public about the price of arugula; this marked him in many people's eyes as a member of the "elite" social class -- until then most Americans had never heard of arugula and didn't even know the word. (Actually, given the situation, it was a bit unfair to Obama, but arugula has become a sort of symbol for Obama being part of a "high" social class which is culturally different from most Americans.)

Palin comes from a rural background and knows how to hunt animals for food, which most city Americans do not. Living in Alaska, she has hunted moose and eaten "mooseburgers" (presumably hamburgers made with moose meat). Again, most Americans outside Alaska had never heard of mooseburgers before they were mentioned in connection with Palin, but the word has already become a symbol of her rural "ordinary person" background, as contrasted with Obama's "elite" character.

Both of these characterizations are very much oversimplifications of what the two candidates are really like, but people often like to have a shorthand for what they know is a more complex reality.

I don't know what it's like in India, but in the US, a politician gains an advantage if he or she is perceived as an "ordinary person" and not as "elite". Even though our society actually has significant class divisions, we like to think of ourselves as all fundamentally equal, and people are quick to resent anyone who seems to consider himself "better" or "higher-class" than others. Any hint of a "snobbish" or superior attitude can destroy a politician's career -- which is why the Republicans are trying very hard to depict Obama that way.

My little posting here was just a joke, but I can see that it needs some explaining for anyone who is not familiar with American cultural conventions -- and with terms that only became part of our common vocabulary very recently!

06 September, 2008 22:04  
Blogger Prash said...

Thanks for the explanation. I just realized that Arugula is my favorite ! It is also called as rouquette widely used in France, especially when we eat Cheese after the main dish and I prefer it with goat cheese.

This is very interesting post. I find!~

Well, my question why do we compare Obama with Palin ? Obama is P. candidate and Palin is VP candidate. I think there is a concerted effort to compare Obama with Palin, whilst drawing attention (& hence, scrutiny) away from Mccain. I believe the truth is, the Republican will accuse of "any" Democratic opponent "elitist", as that has been their strategy for decades.

You are right ! Unfortunately we live in a world of mediocrity or what one calls in Australia "Tall Poppy Syndrome" where one tends to knock down/cut down those who are taller/better or elite. In a world where majority wins, it is easy to attack the higher or rural working class because the majority here is the middle class.

End of the day, each party/candidate does their best to win over the 'majority'. Like everything in life, you must play to win. If you don't play hard enough they you will lose; Play too hard and you will loose also. May whoever is deserving of the title win.

In India, being elite is plus point I guess, because they have experience and education, compared to the vast majority is poor and uneducated (of course many would say otherwise if they consider only the big metro-politan cities, ex: the campaign India Shining didn't help the right-wing BJP party, in fact, it helped the opponent left-wing Congress to win and this is not just because Sonia Gandhi)

In France, there is a culture of "elite" is deep-rooted. In Germany, being "elite" is not a good thing. I have seen many German families send their students to UK or to France to have an education of this 'elite' system.

France is governed by many high civil-servants and politicians who came from the same school called ENA (Ecole National d'Administraion) or Sc. Po (Sciences Politiques). Nicolas Sarkozy claimed that he is 'exceptional' just because he didn't come from any of these system and he belongs to the
"people" as he was just a mere Law student like any French (on the contrary of what he claimed, he is very elite...he was the Senator of a very bourgeois in a Parisian suburb and his life is more elite than these officially stamped elites).

07 September, 2008 20:35  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Well, my question why do we compare Obama with Palin? Obama is P. candidate and Palin is VP candidate.

It's natural to make this comparison because Obama and Palin are both fairly new to politics and both have much less experience in the political world than most previous Presidential candidates have had (it matters for a VP, because the VP's job is basically to wait and become President if the actual President dies). Does Obama have enough experience to handle the job? Does Palin have enough experience to handle the job if President McCain were to die in office and she had to become President suddenly? These are legitimate questions.

As for McCain, he has been a Senator for 22 years, he was in the military long before that -- he has plenty of experience, no one questions that. So only Republicans are interested in comparing McCain and Obama in terms of experience.

Nicolas Sarkozy claimed that he is 'exceptional' just because he didn't come from any of these system and he belongs to the "people"

In this way, Sarkozy is more like an American politician, and different from most European politicians. But in general, yes, American and European attitudes towards "elites" are quite different.

07 September, 2008 21:40  

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