Bitter, Yes. And Why Not?

17 Apr

There’s no doubt that last night’s Democratic debate left small town, suburban, and even city-dwelling Americans bitter. The Obama-Clinton entanglement was a “he said this, she said that–what does it all mean” painfest.   Watching candidates backpedal and rationalize only served to neglect the real issues facing the country.  Most of this nonsense stemmed from Obama’s comments made at a fundraiser last week in which he stated:

“You go into some of 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. 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.”

The real problem here is that Obama is absolutely correct.  Middle class and working people are bitter and they have plenty of reasons to be: NAFTA, Iraq (including the WMD bullshit that hoodwinked us into going there), Enron, gas prices, record oil company profits, the mortgage and financial crises, federal response to Katrina, rising college costs, stagnant incomes, the shift from a manufacturing to service economy, the response to 9/11–meaning a free Osama Bin Laden, etc…   While one can blame George W. for a host of these issues, a Democratic congress resulting from the 2006 midterms did nothing to slow down the war.  In fact, the President was able to launch a “surge” and increase American presence.  

There isn’t a gun in Hangover headquarters, coincidentally located in small town America.  The Hangover doesn’t take “the opiate of the masses.”  We don’t have anything against immigrants (our grandparents being “off the boat” themselves).  However, free trade has scuttled the American manufacturing economy as Ross Perot predicted.  That is frustrating.  If you can’t tell, the Hangover is also fairly cynical, if not disgusted.  But as explained above, we have our reasons.

However, the bitter and apathetic have no one to blame but themselves.  Hello, Ohio!  John Kerry lost the presidency in 2004 because the people of Ohio were more concerned with the prospect of having homosexuals get married than the economic conditions crippling their state.  The Hangover, being  one for common sense, would consider a good job more important than the possibility of gay neighbors “enjoying” marital bliss.  While married gay neighbors might invite you over for dinner every now and then, they won’t provide you with a weekly paycheck so that you can eat on those other nights and make payments on your Honda.

As a result of his remarks, the McCain and Clinton camps are now trying to attach the “elitist” label to Obama.  He should be grateful, whether it is true or not.  (This with the Clinton’s out-earning the Obama’s by 16 million dollars in 2007).  The tag marks Obama as a thinker and an intellectual.  It’s clear that America could use an infusion of brains at its highest level.  Our folksy, horse-riding, jean-wearing, down-to-earth President has been more terrifying than terrific.  At the least, the label distances Obama from Clinton (coat tail-riding policy wonk) and McCain (war-hawking maverick).   Obama speaks well and sometimes advances ideas beyond the standard political rhetoric.  When one candidate is making up stories of a commando entrance into Bosnia and the other is confusing Iraq and Iran, eloquence should be considered a positive.    

Perhaps it is time again for America to have an elitist President.  Our last, FDR, wasn’t so bad, was he?   All Obama has to do is convince America that education, intelligence, and thoughtfulness are actually good qualities.  Even the guy who mows your lawn, pours your drink, or defends your tax fraud case should be able to see that. 


8 Responses to “Bitter, Yes. And Why Not?”

  1. Booger April 17, 2008 at 9:20 pm #

    You are partially correct. However, I do not think Senator Obama’s statement “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.” couldn’t be further from the truth and extremely stereotypical.

    People don’t cling to guns as a way to express their frustrations. They may cling to what they’ve contrived to be exaggerated rights because they’re sick of government telling them one thing and delivering nothing while regulating or controlling everything. It’s not the gun they cling to it’s their right to carry it in the face of someone who might, in some way, shape or form challenge that right (albeit sometimes exaggerated).

    People don’t cling to religion as a way to explain their frustrations. People “cling” to religion more often because of their upbringing and their beliefs in a higher power or God. People are sometimes brought to religion and subsequently “cling” to religion because they’ve fallen on hard times and seek guidance or comfort from a higher power or spiritual leader. The government has left many of these people desperate for far too long. I agree they may be frustrated, but I doubt one of them “clings” to religion as a means to demonstrate how frustrated they are.

    Barak’s nothing but a Bose speaker delivery a sexy message in fine audio quality. He hasn’t a clue.

  2. aaron, of course April 18, 2008 at 11:40 am #

    This is the view that the communi…er…democrats have of the masses and our great country. If you exercise your constitutional right to bear arms, then you’re bitter and afraid. If you hold a strong belief in God then you’re poor and out of work. If you’re concerned over illegal immigration then you ‘hold antipathy to people who don’t look like’ you. In my opinion, elitist does not mean educated or well spoke, it means a lack of connection to those who did not enjoy the same advantages and privelages, it means poking a a stick in the eye of those you hope to govern. It leads you to say things like ‘This is the first time in my adult life I have been proud of my contry’. Why endevor to insult and demean those who dare to enjoy the freedoms we have in this great country? Let’s expose the fraud that is Obama. Well spoken? Hardly. I found him amazingly unprepared to handle the obvious questions he was asked about his associations, politics and past actions. I’m sure FDR’s pastor never said ‘God d*mn America’ (that’s still so painful to type!), and he never had a dinner guest who bombed government buildings. FDR had the strength to fight imperial Japan and fascist Nazi Germany. He strengthened the military and drafted men to serve in the military. He probably would have been kicked out of the modern democrat party a la Joe Liberman or become so disgusted he would have just left, a la Zell Miller. How would MoveOn and Nancy Pelosi feel about the internment camps that house Japanese-Americans, Italian-Americans and German-Americans?

  3. george in the sticks April 18, 2008 at 8:05 pm #

    Aaron,of course,
    I was following your train of thought right up to the interment camps. While clearly MoveOn and Nancy Pelosi–and 99.9 percent of Americans– would agree that internment camps were a horrible idea, I’m not sure what you’re trying to say about FDR and internment camps. Could you clarify that point?
    A voice from the wilds

  4. william schmudt - tigersoft April 21, 2008 at 1:00 am #

    “YES”, PEOPLE ARE BITTER! Bush’s Vanity-War goes on and on. Socialism is only for the rich and Congress. Real wages go down and down. And gasoline|
    goes up and up. But CEOs make ten million a year while their stock
    drops 80%. It’s time for a big change. Right wing taunts to “shut up, stop whining and worker harder” now just make people angrier.
    Obama “caught hell” from the media for telling the truth. But Clinton
    did make me laugh when she called Obama an elitist.


    Obama is EXACTLY right about that. The media make him
    out to be an extremist because he says people are “bitter”.
    They make Obama’s words the focus for the first 35 minutes
    in an hour-long debate instead of getting to the trillion dollar
    issues of Iraq, Afghanistan, jobs, inflation and foreclosures.

    The big corporate US media are very much part of the problem.
    Long frustration does make people grow “angry” and “bitter”.
    That bitterness has been brewing a long time about the
    choices made by Washington and corporate elites that affect
    most Americans in the political and economic realms. The
    prolonged, hugely expensive and unsuccessful wars in
    Iraq and Afghanistan wars are just the most obvious sources
    of the discontent. The disquiet ranges from job losses and
    declining real incomes to the sense that all the existing
    political elites are dishonest, corrupt, self-serving and
    arrogantly unrepresentative.

    How would you feel if your job and home were taken away and
    companies like Hewlett Packerd, which are making billions,
    skirt the laws with impunity and hire permanent employees as private
    contractors through employment agencies, like Kelly’s. The
    rich get absurdly and obscenely rich, but real wages are lower
    than they were in 1971! People read about the bale-outs of
    big banks with hundreds and hundreds of billion dollars from
    the US national Treasury. Yet, 40 million Americans can not
    afford health insurance.

    Republicans expect a balanced budget from their kind. Bush
    gave them record-sized deficits and nation-building far away.
    McCain who has been the beneficiary of socialized health care
    his whole life, won’t back it for the rest of America. Democrats
    go out and vote in the primaries, only to discover that the Democrats’ system of super-delegates can over-rule the Presidential candidate chosen by the majority in the primaries. Frustration
    is non-partisan.

    Will the Democrats really help average working people?
    Don’t hold your breathe. Both Clinton and Obama have just
    promised they won’t raise taxes on people making $250,000/year.
    In what world do they live if they think that someone making
    $250,000/year is in the middle class? The median US income
    is now $36,000/year. Inflation, because of the falling Dollar,
    is rising much faster than median income. So, real income and
    hope are diminishing. The gains of the last 37 years have gone
    nearly entirely to those at the economic top of American society.

    CEO’s, like Killinger of Washington Mutual, arrogantly gouge
    shareholders and pay themselves and their cronies on the
    Board of Directors tens of millions a year. Stockholders shout
    and scream once a year. But in the end, they can’t fire their
    twenty million dollar a year CEOs, despite the collapse of their stock.

    Bush and Cheney have cost America $3 trillion dollars. The
    money has been wasted, stolen and disbursed to Republican
    campaign contributors. America is not safer because of
    Iraq. But its government is all but bankrupt, financially, diplomatically and morally. And it has made enemies of millions
    of Arabs. No one I talk to feels anything but contempt for Bush.
    His approval ratings are 28%. Yet, the Democrats are too
    cowardly to stop his madness by voting down more war appropriations.

    Cowardly Nancy Pelosi and Cowardly Democrats

    With good reason, Congress is disliked even more than Bush.
    Nancy Pelosi took impeachment right off the table. She has refused
    to end Bush’s vanity-war by denying it appropriations. She has
    refused to allow Rep. Kucinich to bring articles of Impeachment
    against Cheney. I wrote last Fall she fails to appreciate that she is in office with a Democratic majority precisely because Americans
    want an end to the Iraq quagmire. I suggested she should read
    the US Constitution and study what the founding fathers like

    James Madison wrote in the Federalist papers about how Congress
    must use impeachment to stop an out-of-control jingoistic President
    -Tyrant, who creates false and exaggerated fear to start an
    unnecessary war, all the while spreading a false nationalism to
    fool the gullible and easily fearful to make his cronies rich with
    war-time profits while and better intimidate his critics

  5. aaron, of course April 21, 2008 at 11:32 am #

    Sure George. First off, that word should have been ‘housed’, past tense. My bad. During WWII FDR took to rounding up those Americans who were of the ancestry of those whom we were fighting-namely Japanese, Germans and Italians-for fear that they would have been sympathetic with our enemies and act as spies and/or sabateurs. Many of these people and families were legal US citizens and no more deserved to be held in camps than any other US citizens of say English or French descent. My point was that the modern day democrat party has devolved to such a point as to be un-recognizable to the values of traditional democrats.

  6. alguschip April 21, 2008 at 1:12 pm #

    “My point was that the modern day democrat party has devolved to such a point as to be un-recognizable to the values of traditional democrats.”

    Aaron, I finally agree with you about something.

  7. aaron, of course April 21, 2008 at 3:54 pm #

    Alguschip, let’s not forget that I was a big ‘D’ Democrat until a few short years ago. I was heartbroken when Gore/Lieberman lost, and I still can’t watch W. for more than 30 seconds at a time without throwing up in my mouth. The Democtratic party has foresaken me but I’m hopeful for a return to normalcy. My God! Since when is it ok for a Howard Dean to set an agenda for ANYTHING?!? I just think that the world has turned on it’s head when the head of the DEMOCRATIC party can disenfranchise it’s own voters in Florida and Michigan and no-one in the party says a word, including it’s first families of Kennedy and Clinton! And it’s NOT ok for an America hater (Michael Moore) to hold a seat of honer at a Democratic National Convention alongside a former President, Jimmy Carter, and other Democratic ‘dignitaries’.
    Then the Dems swoop to victory on promises of Iraq withdrawals and impeachment hearings, and then they proceed to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Arg!! They’re a loose conflagration of self-interested contrarians who lack a clear, unifying agenda. And that lack of clarity and unity makes them susceptible to the threats of the most fringe but also most passionate wing of their party, like MoveOn, who, if you’re not 100% lock step with their radical agenda will gleefully cannibalize their own. A party that eschews discourse in favor of condemnation is untennable and cannot hold. It’s been a brief 8 years since a sort of economic and cultural ‘heyday’ for America, yet it feels like generations ago.
    FDR was the only 4 term president in our nation’s history. He was Patriotic, strong, brilliant, principled, passionate. On the 1 hand his social policies were revolutionary (I’ll say it-socialist-but they just may have saved our nation) and on the other hand he dropped the bomb-twice-in order to save scores of thousands of American lives. On the 1 hand he gave Americans social security, and on the other he gave us the internment camps.
    In politics there will never be 100% agreement on everything, and today’s democrat party is too exclusive, too rigid. It’s ‘leaders’ are afraid of their own shadows, and not 1 of them says anything of any substance. I can name 1 Democrat with a spine, Dennis Kusunich (sp.), and he’s the only Democrat I know by name other than the usual suspects. And didn’t the Hillary and Obama camps conspire to exclude him from the televised debates with that BS line of ‘The American people need to be able to hear the 2 MAIN candidates. We don’t want their message ‘lost’ among your valid points and coherent arguments.’?
    OMG! I started out typing a quick response, and here it is a half hour and a ton of words later. I could go on but I have stuff to do!

  8. RobO April 23, 2008 at 8:47 am #

    couldn’t agree w/you more, Albert. The only sad thing is how much he’s had to backtrack since speaking the truth.

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