Top-Feeders

A comment I just read over at Greg Sargent’s Plumline Blog (Washington Post) made the suggestion that the blue-collar demographic is sliding towards Obama and away from the GOP because they increasingly perceive the GOP as “bottom feeders”.

Now, it’s always fun to use that particular derogation against those one doesn’t think much of but in this particular case I think it not merely an imprecise metaphor but one that points in exactly the wrong direction. Though I’m quite messing up the metaphor, I think we’d be much closer to the truth of things if we went with “top feeders” instead. Let me explain.

The most fundamental narrative theme used by the right to describe Obama has been that he is “the other” – black, Kenyan, professorial, ivory tower, arrogant, Harvard, doesn’t love America, socialist, etc etc. This isn’t merely or even mainly a consequence of his race because it is the same strategy used with some variations all the time (Kerry, Gore, Pelosi). Race is just one aspect which can be and has been used (Limbaugh, notably) to make citizens think Obama isn’t like them, doesn’t understand them, and doesn’t care about them. Nothing unusual in the GOP trying to paint Dem candidates as snooty elitists and their own candidates as truck-drivin’, plaid shirt and bluejean-wearin’ regular folks. That’s boilerplate. Parasitic elite versus hard-working and victimized Joe Regular.

Take the marketing of Dubya. They even went so far as to buy a frigging ranch for backdrop (parodied wonderfully here… http://bit.ly/wDNFII ) which when he left office was replaced with a house in the snooty, rich-guy part of Dallas where he lives now. They knew his real life and real “top feeder” social position was exactly what they had to avoid in getting voters to identify with him.

Which gets us to Romney v Obama.

Particularly now, where almost all citizens are hurting financially while a few at the top are rolling in it even while many up there contributed to this economic disaster (and often helped it along for their own gains) Mitt Romney is just about the worst character the GOP could advance as a “voice of the regular guy”. Everybody knows that’s baloney cut an inch thick. And he’s not helped by being such a social maladroit who cannot help but portray himself as Richie Rich – born into great wealth and power, lived a life in social circles of others like himself, really NOT aware of nor familiar with the circumstances of almost everyones’ real lives.

By comparison and contrast, Obama’s life and values are really far closer to that of almost all Americans and we get that intuitively. Add in Obama’s naturalness with people, his humor and friendliness, his dedication to his kids and family and you’ve set the stage for the blue collar demographic to swing away from the GOP and towards the Dems in November.

To put this in a more concise manner, who and what almost all Americans are beginning to understand they need to reject is the continuing abuse of their life situations and opportunities by the top-feeders.

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Michael Gerson on Newt

Washington Post columnist and former Bush speechwriter, Michael Gerson, who really doesn’t want Newt to stand astride right wing continents, is getting downright nasty. Here’s his opening sentence this morning…

“The epochs of Newt Gingrich’s public life are defined by the books that have revolutionized him — generally of the type that sell well at airports. “

Actually, I think that might be the best line I’ve read from Gerson, combining the delicious malice of, say, a Hunter S. Thompson and the intellectual elitist snootiness of, say, a Michael Gerson.

Now, he’s right, of course. No arguing that. The airport bookshelf is barely a step up from supermarket-checkout offerings – those dismaying racks of gold fonts and motivational-shyster smiles…Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Herman Cain, Sean Hannity. Ann Coulter, Paul Gigot. “Hurry past these strange nightmares!!” something inside us cries out.

And Gerson is right too on the matter of Sharia and this modern instance of the paranoid style of American politics and pathological theologies. So, tip of the hat, Michael.

But most of all, I want to celebrate Michael’s final line, a fitting bracket for his first…

“But those views demonstrate a disturbing tendency: the passionate embrace of shallow ideas.”

Yes! And the important discernment – indeed the critical discernment – that Michael makes here is identifying how, within the modern conservative movement that Michael has done his part to create and forward, Gingrich stands unique in the embrace of shallow ideas.

Treat yourself to Michael’s column here… http://wapo.st/s8DyAL

(ps… that’s for you John, in case you peek in)

Graphic Greed

http://bit.ly/nZX7mS

The tragic tale of oppressed billionaires

Glenn Greenwald has a must-read piece on Continetti’s apologia thingy to the Koch brothers in the Weekly Standard regarding how influential billionaires are being cruelly victimized by bloggers and the like. It’s a tragic tale. http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/03/27/koch/index.html

And Benen quotes Charles Koch and comments…

“”His father was a hard core economic socialist in Kenya… So he had sort of antibusiness, anti-free enterprise influences affecting him almost all his life. It just shows you what a person with a silver tongue can achieve.” 

Now, Koch’s vast wealth proves that one need not be intelligent to get rich, but remarks like these are still just embarrassing.” http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_03/028649.php

Not merely embarrassing in getting details wrong, I’d point out. Consider the stunning lack of self-awareness here. Obama is profoundly influenced by a father who was absent and played almost zero part in Obama’s life. On the other hand, the Koch boys who were raised by and gained their millionaire to billionaire fortunes from a co-founder of the John Birch Society, that’s invisible to the dork.

Wikileaks

Here’s a very good primer on the Wikileaks project.

Assange is in the cross-hairs of a lot of very large and powerful entities including various governments and corporate interests. In fact, it is difficult to think of a precedent case of so much activity from so many quarters bent on suppressing or destroying a publishing enterprise (which is what Wikileaks is, of course). The reason that Assange and Wikileaks have gained such an unprecedented level of attack is because they pose a profound threat to existing power structures in the world. Watch and, I would ask of you if you think this important, to pass it on to as many others as you can.

The Future, maybe.

The following Mitch McConnell quote has been much discussed and I’d like to add a thought on it…

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

That’s honest, as everyone acknowledges.  We can even presume that this intention is founded not on a blind and unthinking need to hold power but on a belief that a liberal President will inevitably fail the country.  If that’s correct statement of belief, and everything suggests it is, then another way to say the thing would be:

“Our primary duty is to ensure that liberalism is kept out of power”

Two observations can be made from this.  First, “liberalism” has replaced the prior “destructive and un-American other” Manichean pole which was held by “communism”.

The second observation, or prediction, would be that once these Republicans (who hold this belief or ideology) do regain the WH, the single most important thing they will wish to achieve is the elimination of instances of liberalism in government which are, per the ideology, the necessary causes of things wrong in the nation.  An immediately subsidiary goal will be to prevent the possibility of future instances of any liberal President regaining power or of liberals having power in the other branches of government.

It should be clear that this ideological stance leads straight to one permissable ideology of government and one-party-rule.

Feathered thing

h/t Andrew Sullivan