March 7, 2008

"The battle for the Democratic Party is so bitter because it is a battle over culture."

Writes The Economist:
Mrs Clinton's supporters look at Mr Obama's and see latte-drinking elitists. Mr Obama's supporters look at Mrs Clinton's and smell all sorts of ancestral sins, not least racism. The two groups neither like nor respect each other.

There are actually good reasons for irritation on both sides. The Obamaites are not just otherworldly. They are also weirdly cultish. All the vague talk of “hope” and “change” is grating enough. But many Obamamaniacs want something even vaguer than this—they want political redemption....

It is certainly impressive to see 20,000 people queuing for hours to see a politician. But should they worship their man with such wide-eyed intensity? And should they shout “Yes we can” with such unbridled enthusiasm? The slogan, after all, reminds any parent of “Bob the Builder”, a cartoon for toddlers, and Mr Obama himself rejected it as naff when it was first suggested to him. His supporters are rather like high-school nerds who surround the coolest kid in the class in the hope of looking cool themselves.
Naff! It's funny to read about American politics in British magazines.
But there are also good reasons to be irritated with Mrs Clinton's beer-track Democrats. Blue-collar workers have certainly had a hard time of it. The Cleveland rustbelt is a decaying monument to good jobs that have been shipped abroad or mechanised out of existence. But one of the tragedies of this campaign is that both Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton have decided to ignore Bill Clinton's message—that the only way that America can remain competitive is to prepare people for new jobs rather than cling on to old ones—and instead engage in a silly competition to see who can bash NAFTA hardest.
Even if you like Hillary's "culture" better than Obama's, it's awfully hard to believe that they are going to get from her what they see in her. There is more reason to think the Obamans — for all their dreamy dopiness — are more likely to get what he seems to promise: a turn of the historical page and at least a little racial healing.

28 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Mrs Clinton's supporters look at Mr Obama's and see latte-drinking elitists. Mr Obama's supporters look at Mrs Clinton's and smell all sorts of ancestral sins, not least racism.

The thing that engenders eye-rolling in me when I read articles like this is that the article makes these assertions, and there are no quotes to back them up. This is not the truth, it's the "journalist"'s spin.

rhhardin said...

are more likely to get what he seems to promise: a turn of the historical page and at least a little racial healing.

The cliche ban hasn't had much effect.

Holy cow! It's online. Saves me going upstairs and hunting down that first issue of Raritan back in the early 80s.

Very amusing opening to the essay.

Middle Class Guy said...

“But many Obamamaniacs want something even vaguer than this—they want political redemption....”


The same could be said about Hillary Clinton. She wants political redemption and revenge.

The only thing people are going to get out of Hillary Clinton is four years of anger politics and warfare. If something serious happens, there will be confusion. She has as little experience as Obama in management and leadership. Sorry, but putting up with a serial adulterer is not crisis management.

In the choice between two evils, I would go with Obama. He can and will do the least harm. He is not the angry old White woman with an ax to grind.

gophermomeh said...

For what so many of us often complain about with politicians, I see more so in Clinton. She's solid, old-school...and that's what brings me back to Obama. But 'dreamy dopiness'? Not all Obama supporters are there. As for myself, like Brett, I'm just tired. I'm open to going in a new direction and see how far this wave takes us. And that's what I find fascinating - watching this process evolve - for all the talk - what do we really want?

Fen said...

This is not the truth, it's the "journalist"'s spin.

Its also ignores Obama's own brand of racism - support of racial preferences/quotas and his history with a black supremist church.

Pogo said...

More journalistic spin:
The Cleveland rustbelt is a decaying monument to good jobs that have been shipped abroad or mechanised out of existence.

Instead:
1. U.S. ECONOMIC FREEDOM INDEX
Ohio ranks 43rd of 50

2. 2007 ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness
Ohio ranks 49th of 50 in Economic Performance

3. In Private Employment Growth, 1996-2006, a ten year growth rate of just 2.1% places Ohio 49th of 50 states. This is related to one and two above.

4. "An important dimension of the trend in Cleveland’s poverty rates is the high concentration of high school dropouts within the city. More than a quarter of Cleveland’s adult residents do not have a high school diploma (26 percent of those 25 and older). The rate in the suburbs is much lower (11 percent). Cleveland’s dropout population is so high partly because the city’s graduation rates are so low (just 51.8 percent for the 2004–2005 school year), but the accumulation of past generations of dropouts and their lack of mobility also increases their concentration inside the city."

5. "there is clear evidence that Cleveland was a highly innovative, entrepreneurial city (but more like Seattle than the San Francisco Bay Area) during the latter nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We see this in at least three ways:
• Cleveland’s high patenting rate of “important” technology;
• Cleveland’s numerous entrepreneurial business histories, with increasingly
complex products;
• The Cleveland industrial district’s sharply increasingly manufacturing productivity from 1879 through the 1920s, with its resulting dramatic growth of the region’s industries, many of which were emerging industries nationally—many with close connections to local patents. Cleveland also developed a sizable number of millionaires associated with its core industries.

...places like Cleveland became increasingly expensive locations for manufacturing, due in large part to factors such as unionization. We also know that Cleveland lost some of its transportation cost advantages – slowly before World War II, more rapidly later with the growth of industrial centers on the West Coast and the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Therefore, the combination of declining relative productivity and rising costs
made Cleveland increasingly less competitive. But what was causing Cleveland’s relative productivity to fall?"

Northeastern Ohio failed to respond to the new innovation systems as effectively as it might have done. ...it placed less emphasis on public education and on higher education and university-based research than other regions. It did not develop new firms in rapidly growing industries. It did not develop a new, internationally significant concentration of expertise



Low education + Stifling regulation = No jobs
Globalization and mechanization
(do people still blame machines???) have nothing to do with it.

Balfegor said...

There is more reason to think the Obamans — for all their dreamy dopiness — are more likely to get what he seems to promise: a turn of the historical page and at least a little racial healing.

This is sort of the affirmative action rationale for the Obama candidacy. But -- like affirmative action -- it's a bandaid solution to a problem that runs much deeper, from the broken state-run schools poor urban Blacks get locked into, to an economic system in which illiterate Latin Americans with no English are overwhelmingly preferred over African-American workers.

If there's any "racial healing," to result from an Obama presidency, it will be superficial at best. After four or eight years of a Black president, it's likely that Black communities will still underperform economically, that African-American majority schools will still fail at fulfilling even the most basic educational objectives.

What will be healed, if anything, will be Whites' sense of racial guilt. And that will only be eased for a time. Until the next time they take a train through Baltimore, or take a wrong turn in LA. There's no mystical connexion between the symbol of the Presidency and the wellbeing of a community with millions of people. Symbolism can only go so far.

Pogo said...

And what by the way has happened to the Economist that they cannot even do the briefest of investigations before making such a sweeping and erroneous economic claim?

P. Rich said...

The rust belt is a monument to corrupt organized labor. That would be one of the traditional Dem support groups, and still is on Hillary's list.

As for "racial healing": only if you believe in a cradle-to-grave welfare state and racial quotas a la the 70's and 80's. Obama and his radical spouse are squarely in the "Blacks are victims." camp. He isn't getting 80-90 percent of the "Black" vote because his father was a Kenyan. He's getting it because he advocates massive entitlements and government care for all that ails you.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hdhouse said...

Ohhhh Pogo NOOO NO

If Cleveland's ills were simply so simple.

Henry said...

Living in a one-party state, it strikes me that the Democrats are treating the United States as a one-party country.

The Republican party is demoralized, fading at the national level, and lead by a weak candidate. The Democrats believe their primary season will decide the general election.

As the race became competitive, this perception caused the Democratic faithful to pour in more time and money. It raised the profile of intra-party interest groups endorsements. It also sucked in more money from pragmatic business interests -- those lobbying groups that spend money simply to be on the side of the winner.

Thus the bitterness of the battle. It's the prize -- the presidency -- that makes all the difference.

Unfortunately for them, Hillbama's victory in the general election is hardly guaranteed. In my Democrat-dominated state we have a Republican Governor, a governor that has twice bested the dull machine politicians preordained to win.

Ger said...

"It's funny to read about American politics in British magazines."

Naff is a fun word. Did the article use the words "dodgy" or "bollocks" or "gobsmacked"???

I love those words.

Balfegor said...

He isn't getting 80-90 percent of the "Black" vote because his father was a Kenyan. He's getting it because he advocates massive entitlements and government care for all that ails you.

Actually, I think he's getting it because he's a Black Democrat. It's a straight racist vote, nothing to do with issues. Well, other than not being a Republican.

Pogo said...

If Cleveland's ills were simply so simple.
Enlighten me.

Roger said...

I think an argument could be made that Ohio, an old line labor state, has lost jobs to Tupelo and Canton, MS (Toyota and Nissan), and Birmingham (Mercedes) because the American labor movement is totally outdates and has failed to adopt to a changing international market. Manufacturers are going for right to work states--big surprise. And that Labor continues to affiliate itself with the democratic party continues to accelerate their decline into irrelevance.

Roger said...

Pogo: your analysis is considerably more on target than is HD's; but what else is new?

Richard Fagin said...

Racial healing from Deval Patrick "the Taxman turncoat's" protege? Racial healing from one whose wife is only proud of America because an African American is a serious candiate for President?

Not blooddy likely.

Pogo said...

Recall that in 1978 under boy mayor's Dennis Kucinich's guiding hand, Cleveland became the first American city to default on its debts since the Great Depression. (He had won office in part on a promise to cancel the sale of Cleveland's municipal power company to a private utility.) But six banks threatened not to renew the city's credit on $15 million in loans unless Kucinich agreed to sell. He refused.)

Cleveland remained in default until 1987.

You don't suppose that had anything to do with Cleveland's long economic decline?

Moose said...

Pogo, you leave Dennis alone!

He's got a hot wife and is going to go for a ride very soon with the friendly aliens on their shiny spaceship!!

Original Mike said...

... and at least a little racial healing.

Way back at the beginning, I viewed this as a silver lining of an Obama win. However, your "pajama post" has pretty much disabused me of that hope.

TMink said...

M.C. Guy wrote: "In the choice between two evils, I would go with Obama. He can and will do the least harm."

Good point, Senator Obama has not really accomplished anything, and one would hope he would keep his pristine record!

Didn't he vote "present" more than yeah or nay while in his previous positions?

Trey

former law student said...

And what by the way has happened to the Economist that they cannot even do the briefest of investigations before making such a sweeping and erroneous economic claim?

The Economist has always been a shower of festering shite. Only some anglophilic delusion caused people to regard it as insightful.

the American labor movement is totally outdates and has failed to adopt to a changing international market.

Uh that would be their country-club Republican employers who watched the big car companies go down the drain, roger. For what it's worth, it takes half again as many Daimler workers as Chrysler employees to put together a car. Further, since the 60s, southern states offered huge tax concessions and plant construction subsidies to get those plants, in many cases only to see them bop on down to even cheaper labor Mexico.

former law student said...

Hillary shill, Obama only voted "present" on anti-abortion bills because (1) it was as good as a nay vote, and (2) the head of Illinois Planned Parenthood specifically asked him to, as part of a strategy to retain pro-choice legislators.

Former Congressman and COA judge Abner Mikva (and card-carrying bleeding heart lakefront liberal) explained what Obama's "present" vote meant, in a NYT op-ed on February 16.

garage mahal said...

He voted present 130 times in the IL Legislature. Only 7 were abortion rights related. The "present" button isn't colored yellow for nothing. And 6 times he said he pressed the wrong button accidentally.

Inspiring!

former law student said...

Obama acknowledges that over nearly eight years in the Illinois Senate, he voted "present" 129 times. That was out of roughly 4,000 votes he cast, so those "presents" amounted to about one of every 31 votes in his legislative career.

Duscany said...

People who vote for Obama to heal their racist souls don't realize that you can't heal your soul just by casting a vote. Besides, there are a lot of us who don't feel that our souls are racist in the first place and whatever else we need to feel good again it's not Obama's blessing.

TMink said...

Wow, I am so busted. Former Law Student, no doubt an NSA super spy now, caught me in my till now perfect plan for Hillary! domination.

I must come clean. To the rest of you who poured over my every post, I was accepted as an Evangelical conservative who could not vote for John McCain because he is too liberal. The rest of you saps believed me to be in favor of states rights, virulently anti-abortion, and afraid of big government.

I spent the last three years developing this cover so that I could work my Jedi Mind Tricks on the Althouse crowd to sway the election toward Hillary! Curses, foiled again.

You saw through me Former Law Student. You are too smart and subtle for me. Damn your keen legal mind.

Trey
(extreme sarcasm mode off, but then the Former Law Student already knew that, probably before I even formed the thought to type it)