Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dept. of Mindnumbing Irony and General What-the-Fuckery

Had I had coffee in my mouth when I read this tidbit from CNN's Political Ticker, I would have spat it all over my computer. It's good I didn't, so that I could bring you this post. Prominent Hillary Clinton supporter Lady (yes, darling, she's nobility) Lynn Forester de Rothschild (yes, darling, those de Rothschilds), is set to endorse John McCain tomorrow. But she's not your run-of-the-mill PUMA, as her noble title and wealth suggest. Why is she supporting McCain, you ask?
“This is a hard decision for me personally because frankly I don't like him,” she said of Obama in an interview with CNN’s Joe Johns. “I feel like he is an elitist. I feel like he has not given me reason to trust him.”
Wow. The mind boggles, frankly. All I can think of is those posters from the '80s of rich people leaning on Rolls-Royces with the line "Poverty Sucks" above. In that spirit, I give you the following.

Ahhh. I feel better now.


Ross said...

This makes my blood boil.

"Elitist" is just another word for "Uppity" and I'll give my virginity to the first bitch who comes forward and admits that s/he's selling out their political values in order to avoid voting for an Uppity Black Man.

This coterie of "anti-elitists"(besides often being text-book elitists themselves) never present compelling illustrations of Obama's elitism. He exudes confidence and authority, he doesn't apologize, he stands up straight and speaks clearly--but this is what presidential candidates are supposed to do. Does he ever say that he's inherently better than other people? Does he support only hiring his prep school classmates to his cabinet? Is he rude to waiters?

No, Obama's elitism is never really articulated but is perceived as a vague, sort of uncomfortable feeling: "Hmm...well...I dunno...Obama's sort...umm...uhhh...well... HE GREW UP OVERSEAS. HE WENT TO PRIVATE SCHOOL."

As far as I can tell, this "elitist" crap is the same kind of double-standard that Hillary supporters complained about last winter: pushy men are "leaders"; pushy women are "bitches". So, is it possible that white men who seek power are "leaders" and black men who seek power are "elitist"?

And is it possible that we're programmed to think this way and act on those feelings unintentionally? Even people who don't consider themselves racist?

Now that McCain has unveiled that psychotic, right-wing trainwreck of a VP, I fail to see any possible excuse for a Hillary supporter to vote Republican, except for a repressed, reflexive perception that Obama is an Uppity Negro. I think he pushes that button for a lot of otherwise intelligent people.

I'm not making points here that other people haven't been arguing for months, but I mightily underestimated the role of race in this election until I began hearing the absurd rationalizations some Pseudo-Democrats have been spouting.


GregM said...

Good points, Ross--it's also a tribal narrative that the Republicans have used for a long time against the Democrats (Richard Nixon, upon being accused of involvement in a scandal, in 1956: "I should say this, that Pat doesn't have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat.)
John Kerry was called an elitist, too, but this time it has the advantage of that racial tinge (the Repubs have been unable to use that reliable trope, the scary black man, against Obama, and it's driving them nuts.)

The bigger issue, of course, is that Republicans have set up a closed-loop system--if you only watch Fox "News" and listen to Rush Limbaugh, you're going to *want* to believe the worst about Obama, so facts don't really matter. I'm still trying to think of how to change, in a large way, this closed loop, because right now facts just bounce off someone in that loop.

Mechuahua said...

Straight from Hillary's yapping trap during the primaries: "I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small town America. Senator Obama's remarks are ELITIST and they're out of touch. They are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans. Certainly not the Americans that I know. Not the Americans I grew up with. Not the Americans I lived with in Arkansas or represented in New York."

Funny, Hillary isn't endorsing John McCain.

Ross said...

Oh, lobbed straight from the desk of Fox News, a walk down memory lane apropos of nothing.

Hillary glommed onto the jingoistic accusation based on one misunderstood comment in order to score points with working class voters. It sounded just as cynical and insincere coming from her as is does from the other multimillion dollar double-surnamed dowager featured in the article.

Mrs. de Rothschild seems to consider herself some sort of hero for taking a stand against "the party that left her"-- a stand that is no doubt shared by dozens of frosted haired heiresses of lesser means who fancy themselves deep thinkers while engaging in the political version of rolling up their car windows in a black neighborhood.

Or getting their chauffeur to do it for them.

I'll look forward to reading some clear, specific and well-defined policy differences Mrs. De Rothschild has with Obama (whose policies were virtually the same as Hillary's) that have inspired her to embrace a party whose aim is to nationalize every uterus in America.

I can agree to disagree with McCain supporters, but turncoats like this make me sick.

Mechuahua said...

Actually, the sound-byte was “lobbed straight” from the desk of CNN.

I understand the criticism regarding deRothschild’s two second comment. I also want to know more. However, I fail to understand your labeling of her as “turncoat” because she chooses to switch her political party. Independents have been doing this for years. Christ, Liberals were so gung-ho with McCain until he stepped into the ring with Obama. So much so that Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter were telling the media they were supporting Hillary over McCain, claiming she was more conservative. Joe Biden was even on record praising McCain.

As for the “elitist crap”, these labels have been prevalent since the beginning of this country. Weren’t both Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin deemed elitist? How about the “white guy”, John Kerry? I couldn’t hear his name without that word in tow.
I don’t see Obama as an elitist, but, like you, I am curious as to why so many people do. I want it articulated and no one seems to be able to do it. I don’t, however, feel it has anything to do with Obama’s race.

Ross said...

I think a dramatic, public switch of alliances in the middle of a contest is the very definition of "turncoat"! Especially when the change comes without any clear reasoning. If this were 1776, de Rothchild's head would be on somebody's block.

As far as racism: I opposed the racism theory during the Democratic primary because there seemed to be similarities in the candidates' respective positions and obvious differences in their experience and public persona---differences that explained voter's choices.

In the current contest, I really don't see any policy similarities. Do all of those former Hillary supporters now think that conservative Republican policies are the right ones after all? If so, why were they all fired up over a Centerist Democrat six months ago? Why would somebody who supported Roe V. Wade in March suddenly support the vice presidency of Sarah "Not Even if My Daughter was Raped" Palin? What about Health Care? What about environmental policies?

Maybe I've just been looking somewhere else when Obama swallows whole rats and rips off his face to reveal green scaly skin ala "V" but this guy has inspired a LOT of people to suddenly get really "independent" on my ass. People who, yesterday, were regular old Democrats and today are picking their noses and stupidly saying "Gee, I dunno what to do…"

To my eyes, these conflicts look suspiciously like the same squirming, unarticulate discomfort that polite white people display when, for example, their teenage daughter brings home a big black date to dinner. Middle class, well-intentioned, self-defined Centerist or Liberal people who don't consider themselves racist but want to live in a "good" neighborhood and want their kids in a "better" school and who avoid driving in "the city" because, well,[hushed tones] "you know..."

Black people sometimes make them feel a little...uncomfortable.

I also think this is why the well-used "elitist" label sticks so well to Obama. "How dare that [black] man try to claim authority over me? Who the Hell does that [black] man think he is running for president?"

An elitist is essentially somebody who elevates himself and his affiliates above the place other people think proper.

Now, in all fairness, is also seems that plenty of people oppose Obama because of his policies or support him simply because he IS black. And mine is just a theory based on my own biases and experiences, but considering what I'm seeing and hearing, it’s the only theory that makes any damn sense to me.

Joey7777 said...

I'm probably still voting for Obama, but he IS an elitist. Speaking to the rich San Francisco audience about "bitter" small-town Pennsylvanians convinced me of that.

Ross said...

"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, a lot of them — like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they’ve gone 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. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, and they cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Now, having grown up in one of these towns, this is about the most accurate, articulate description of the political environment that I have heard any politician dare express. Actually saying it out loud backfired on him, but I don't think it's elitist--I think it's the damn truth.

The following was posted yesterday --it references some of the race issues I mentioned earlier.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles…

Pardon the crappy cold link:;_ylt=Ao34AakuKPZYWoN28eLnBAB2KY54

Joey7777 said...

ross : But, if Obama thinks it's the truth, you'll notice he waited til he was far away in California to speak it. If he believes it, he's an elitist (that's his elitist truth). If he doesn't believe it, he's just the usual phoney politician who speaks differently to different audiences.

Ross said...

Elite: individuals or groups enjoying superior intellectual, social or economic class.
Elitist: Consciousness of or pride in belonging to a favored group or rule by a favored group.

Obama's crime was identifying people who have embraced ideologies based on a shared sense of having been fucked over. These people have directed their anger and insecurity toward minority groups, religious conservatism and weaponry rather than toward the more complicated economic and political forces he believes are the cause of their unhappiness. They “cling” to these false idols in place of the dignity and optimism that opportunities might ordinarily bring.

I happen to think that people who have been fucked over will often misdirect their anger in this way-- toward easy targets rather than appropriate ones --and will seek solace in familiar comforts rather than in uncertain opportunities. To deny this seems to suggest that xenophobic, religious extremist and gun-crazy outlooks have no distinctive root in narrow experiences and opportunities and are equal ethically, intellectually and morally to all other viewpoints. Who's to say that tolerance is better than racism? Why can’t prayer be as effective as medical care or political organizing? What's wrong with owning enough weapons to kill all of my neighbors 20 times over?

Or perhaps recognizing some viewpoints as being rooted in broad experiences and education and essential to maintaining civilization is an “elitist” view.

Either way, Obama’s mistake was doing the political version of dishing on somebody after they left the room-—not that he thinks anything different about rural Pennsylvanians than most Republicans do. God knows the aristocrats who run the GOP have spent a dump truck load of money to flatter the underclass and convince them that they're in charge--"You can be rich just like us once you dominate those [Liberals, immigrants, faggots, socialists...] who are screwing up the world."

If Obama is more of a disingenuous liar, maybe he stands a chance of winning.

Mechuahua said...

Praise be! It is 2008 and heads do not roll off the chopping block because someone changed his/her mind. I understand the definition of the word 'turncoat" but not with the pejorative connotations that make de Rothchild's choice of McCain such a serious offense. Fine, her reason for switching parties may not be articulated as well as it could be, but to surmise racism because she feels that Obama is not an appealing candidate, seems unfair. And what about the Hillary fans who lambasted Obama in the primaries, but now find him to be the Belle of the Ball? Couldn't they also be considered "turncoats"?

Maybe there are other issues besides abortion that people feel are important for leaders to focus on in this country. Abortion rights MAY NOT be as important to the majority of women voters as growing the economy, not raising taxes, or America's security. Maybe McCain embodies these ideals for de Rothschild.

We all cling to some type of ideology. Some cling to religion. Unless, this clinging creates a dangerous fanaticism I don't see it as a harm to society. Clinging doesn't automatically make one a zealot. Can't religious attachment bring hope to a distressed community? Can't prayer and achievement go together? During the worst disasters people turn to prayer and religion, but that doesn't mean things don't get accomplished in the interim.

I'm sure that Obama doesn't imply anything regarding The Faithful's adherence to "false idols". That interpretation alone would definitely lend itself to elitism . People are frustrated but not everyone who owns a gun or is against illegal immigration or prays extensively to "false idols" is a bitter and clingy person.
I don't think Obama's statement was well thought out.