Keith Olbermann opened breathlessly tonight with the "breaking news" about remarks Barack Obama made about Pennsylvanians.
I was busy watching Nelson Figueroa working on a no-hitter that ended up being broken up in the 5th inning, combined with more than a bit of politics fatigue after being exhausted by the campaign, the Air America foofarah, and general spring fever.
But it seems that Barack Obama has simply pointed out the obvious
"You go into 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."
And this is a shandeh
I see this as a statement of fact, except it isn't limited to Pennsylvania. For nearly two decades, Americans, particularly in blue-collar areas, have seen their standard of living drop. They've seen the jobs that gave them a comfortable life dissappear. They've seen their incomes drop. They've watched as their children joined the military because it was either that or work at Wal-Mart. Politicians have played on their fears of the future by pointing these Americans' attention away from the corporate CEOs making hundreds of millions of dollars a year by sending their factories overseas, and from Senators and Congresspeople who have sided with corporations time after time. They've sold these Americans "trickle-down economics", which told them that if they just sit tight while the rich shovel cash into their pockets, sooner those rich people will piss a few bucks down upon them. They've played on their fears, first of black people (Willie Horton and the Jesse Helms "White Hands" ad), then of terrorists, then of Latino immigrants. They've succeeded by saying, "Look at the guy below you....HE'S your problem, not the guys who talked you into buying a house you couldn't afford, then bundled your mortgage into bogus investments sold by Bear Stearns, whose executives pocketed millions of dollars before the whole scheme went bust, leaving you with a house you can't pay for and can't sell. That guy below you on the ladder is the REAL problem, not a president sho cut taxes to give more cash to his rich friends and who allowed speculators to drive the price of gasoline to $3.25/gallon and heating oil to nearly $4."
It's worked for Republicans for decades.
When Howard Dean talked about "God, guns, and gays" in 2004, this is precisely what he was talking about. Guns give people a sense of control over their lives when everything around them is going to shit. Turning to religion gives them a framework in which to try to make sense of it all -- and make them think that there has to be a reason why their economic lives and emotional well-being are falling apart. Demonizing other groups -- black people, Latinos, gays, women, anyone different from them -- helps them feel not quite so downtrodden.
It's funny how people who have benefitted from the cozy relationship between corporations and Washington -- people like John McCain and Hillary Clinton -- find it so easy, when someone dares to speak the truth about how American working people are getting fucked over by their own public servants, to shout about "elitism." After all, anyone who dares to point out how Americans have been duped by their own desire to believe that their government serves them, that America is inherently good and that hard work really does bring rewards, might upset the status quo. And we can't have that, now can we. Because then people might ask questions.
Here's Obama fighting back against the McCain/Clinton attacks:
Barack Obama speaks the truth. And I guess to corporatist hacks like McCain and Clinton, the truth hurts. The only question is whether the media will succeed into whipping people into such a frenzy that they vote against their own interests yet again.
UPDATE (via Joe Sudbay
): Astoundingly, at least part of the MSM isn't jumping on the "Obama is an Elitist" bandwagon. Watch this CNN panel point this righteous indignation out for the utter horseshit it is:
Labels: Barack Obama, corporatism, hack journalism, Hillary Clinton, John McCain