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.