Saturday, April 12, 2008
Over the next few days, Senator Obama will use his considerable oratorical skills, and blind allegiance of his Rally People, to refocus attention from the substance of what he said yesterday, as quoted below, to the economy and plight of blue collar working people. It will be the same redirection he accomplished when he responded to questions about his relationship with Pastor Jeremiah Wright by shifting everyone’s attention to the issue of race which was never the point.
His supporters will look for the truth in what he says, without regard to its implications. They will excuse his arrogance because he tells them he’s only saying what we all know to be true. His honesty is brutal, and therefore above reproach. By proclaiming that what he says is what we already think, it must be so. Why else would we believe it? It’s logic that doesn’t make any sense. It’s doublespeak political slight of hand at its very best.
Working people are not simple, they are not more easily led or coerced than more educated, more financially successful Americans. Nor do they “cling” to their religion, rather than believe in it and rely on its power and direction, any more so than the Senator subscribes to his own spiritual foundations.
Working people do not grunt their way into their opinions about immigration or international trade, nor are their conclusions on those or any other subjects less valuable because they may be conditioned by different economic and social circumstances than those of their more privileged countrymen. Indeed, they are not less privileged or less happy because they work in different jobs at lower rates of compensation. The only meaningful difference is that many of them are unable to afford the medical care, quality education, personal safety and other basics of our national wealth that they and their families deserve to share. Fixing that is not about rhetoric per se, but about the specifics of intelligent government and economic policy.
Is the Senator’s language his way of bringing us together, or a just a common strategy for eliciting support by making a given segment of our society angry enough to vote against his opponents?
Rally People, your candidate is not the second coming of anything. He is nothing more, or less, than an exceptionally skilled politician self-packaged to leverage our sensitivities, distract us from his inexperience and lack of substance, and to pander to the understandable optimism and hope of all Americans that an elected leader can somehow make our lives better.
“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, 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.“ By Barack Obama, at a fundraiser yesterday in San Francisco, bold print added by me.