Monday, April 14, 2008

Progressive Derangement Syndrome

I feel like I've stepped through the looking glass.

On the one hand, I read news articles about working class voters voicing their dismay and anger at Obama for dissing them at a fundraiser. On the other hand, I read comments and blog quotes confidently proclaiming that Obama has successfully dodged the bullet of negative fallout. Why, because the media whores on MSNBC don't talk about it?

There is a disconnect between Obamacans (which more clearly defines the particular participants than "liberal elite" or "wine track liberals"), particularly those in the blogosphere, and reality that is increasing exponentially. The less their version of the How the World Must Be corresponds to the everyday fabric of American lives, the more stridently they insist that All Is Well. I've come to the conclusion that it's not just campaign hype, either, or trying to put on a good face. They really do think that if they say something three times with conviction, that makes it true. Something has rotted the brains of previously reasonable people.

All I have is what I see and trying to make sense of it. I'm trying to put it into historical perspective as well, puzzling out where the hell this bizarre mind set has come from. At the core of theis syndrome is an enormous amount of resentment and a powerful desire to punish. I don't find this unusual, as it has characterized much of American national sentiment since the Iran hostage crisis, like an existential chip on the nation's shoulder. On the Left, I get the impression that what many people desire is someone to blame or something to expell to remove the tremendous run of bad electoral luck the party has suffered since, well, Nixon. This resentment has attached itself to the Right's Clinton Derangement Syndrome, but is not identical to it.

The Republicans have good reason to hate both the Clintons - Hillary and Bill beat them. Repeatedly. The Democrats have no good reason to hate the Clintons - they beat Republicans repeatedly. Indeed, most Democrats love these two and are proud as punch about them. It's not as though the party has had significant success otherwise. So, what gives? What is going on with this fanatical and self-destructive behavior on the part of alleged progressives? The closer you look, the more deranged it gets.

Obama goes to a fuindraiser thrown by a Republican billionaire, collecting 2.5 million dollars from the event, and talks about working class and rural Democratic voters as pathetic, bitter losers who have to console themselves gor their loserdom by shooting off guns and believing in superstitions and fairy tales. This is completely in keeping with the derision showered on Hillary for comparing herself to Rocky - to the Obamacan faction, Rocky is a loser, just like the other rubes. They are losers, i.e., they are the people on whom to place the blame for our losses, our humiliations at the hands of the criminal Republicans. I don't think the Obamacans have ever forgiven the Reagan Democrats for their defection to the Gipper.

On the other hand, they don't believe their own words. Obama's fundamental lack of faith was revealed in his dismissal of the faith of others, such that he now has to protest that he attends church. Yes, Precious, we know. That he would attend a church in bad faith, not really believing the Gospel but drinking in the antiquated and self-indulgent sociological arguments of his pastor, doesn't raise an eyebrow among Obamacans. But of course he wouldn't believe that silly mumbo-jumbo; it's just that he has to do some ridiculous things to get elected. (Roll eyes at the unreasonable demands of pandering to the simple minded.)

More important, they don't believe that words matter, at least not those spoken to the rubes to win votes. There is a bizarre belief, we might call it faith, that only the good and the best will be absorbed. Under the spell of this faith, they don't think Obama's words have any power except to make people swoon and no consequences save to increase his vote count. It is a postmodern conceit that reality is what you make of it, crafted and deployed to meet the circumstance, and only irony will result. They honestly don't consider the possibility that the working class and the poor are in a position to pass judgment on these statements and "performatives", that they form considered and sophisticated opinions on the world they confront just the way erudite UC tenured professors might do, or even Ivy League educated A-List bloggers. Whoda thunk it? Words do matter, but the words that people find matter most may not be those you want them to hear. The rubes have ears. They not only watch CNN, they occasionally read newspapers. Some of them even fire up the interwebs and look at them bloggy thingamabobs.

Reading - not just for the highly edjumacated.

What the hell is up with my party? Disenfranchising voters to throw an election? Dclaring vast swaths of party loyalists to be racists? Deriding party stalwarts as "Republican-lite"? Dismissing the economic successes of a previous Democratic administration? Just why are the self-described progressives so frantic to remove Bill Clinton from the company of Democratic presidents? I have provided my answers, but it still remains a mind-boggling phenomenon.

Their vision for America becomes less coherent, less relevant by the day. Their "progressivism" is defined by their adherence to CDS, and whatever else has been declared a worthy goal, like universal health care and economic policies that alleviate poverty, falls to the wayside. Think about it - GKJM's greatest claim to fame is being the center of the opposition to Republican attempts to privatize Social Security, shaming, hustling and supporting Democratic lawmakers into fighting back the attack. He is fully behind the ONLY Democratic candidate I can think of who argues for revisiting the Social Security battle and whose chief financial advsor is a conservative who wants to privatize Social Security. Ezra Klein will send his entire body of work about health insurance and health care down the toilet to support a candidate who didn't bother to address this topic at first and now offers warmed over do-nothing measures. W.T.F?

Netroots progressivism is shown to be rootless, and progresses into greater derangement by the day.



Stephen A said...

Thanks Anglachel. Well said as always. Your observations about JM and Ezra Klein reflect what I have been feeling for months. Incredible!

blog440 said...

Exactly. Every day it seems to get a little worse and I get a little more frightened.

I have NEVER been frightened of a Democratic candidate and his/her supporters before.

CognitiveDissonance said...

The cognitive dissonance of 8 years under Bush has been staggering. But what I've been seeing from Democrats this cycle is almost worse simply because it is so unexpected. This is the one year when we should be able to easily get a progressive democrat elected. The country is hungry for one. And what do we get? A party establishment more interested in a coup against the Clintons then winning an election. If they succeed, the party split is going to be devastating.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Anglachel, thank you for this blog. In the last couple of months, I've become aware of the existence of pro-Hillary blogs (mainly through your links). I visit and love them all, but I think your blog plays a special role.

I go to Corrente, RiverDaughter, TalkLeft, and Taylor Marsh every day. These blogs are incredibly valuable because they provide me with the day-to-day details of what's going on and they are like the warriors on the ground fighting against every negative slimy attack the Dem Elites throw at Hillary. They are incredibly astute at figuring out all the subtle nuances involved in each of these skirmishes.

But you are kinda like the wise old seer-woman who lives in the cave on the back-side of the mountain a day's trek away from the nearest village (who *is* Anglachel?). Every couple of days a puff of smoke comes out of your cave and I come here to see the larger picture - what all these skirmishes are building up towards, what it all means.

As a Democratic Party Lifer, I've always been involved *with* politics, b/c my background has bound my heart to the two issues that matter most to me: (1) the plight of the working poor and (2) asshole men who beat their wives and girlfriends and otherwise humiliate them and shirk their responsibilities to them.

But I've never really thought *about* politics. Where is this all going? What's going on with my own party? Is the horse I've hitched my wagon to traveling in the direction it's supposed to? Are my sentiments being exploited by people who don't really care about my two big issues? How do all the pieces fit together and who's using who in this whole game?

I've been a Democratic Party Lifer because I've seen my Momma go through hard times and she was a Democratic Party Lifer. I figured the Democratic Party must be about helping people like my Momma get through their hard times. For this, they had my loyalty.

But man, has this primary and your blog changed everything for me. I knew something was afoot. I could tell that things were changing. I had ideas, but I've never thought *about* politics. It's not my profession and I have no independent intellectual interest in the subject beyond addressing my two big issues.

And then I found my way to the backside of the mountain and heard the wise old seer-woman in the cave. She's crafting out a big picture that really makes sense to me. (This post is just another in a long line.)

I don't know where I'm going next. I don't know if I'm a Democrat anymore. But I thank you for this blog.

donnadarko said...

Insanity. Yes.

Excellent writing as usual.

jacilyn said...

I am increasingly becoming convinced that the bitterness is the point.

Obama is like the pied piper, going around collecting all the alienated and promising them 'change'.

I say this because I don't think it's that they don't get what's going on. I think they think we're the ones who don't get what's going on. They enjoy seeing what they call "talking truth to power". It's "what needed saying".

It's scary because I see the working class whites being set up as "what needs changing". (What, not the rich corporations who fund Obama?) This is btw the same people who have always belonged to unions, the labor vote.

Do not think that Obama is a Democrat. His actual words suggest he is an outsider, condemning Democrats as fiercely as he does Republicans. They are the Establishment.

Has anyone actually bothered to read Rev. Wright's man Cone, that he went on Fox news blathering about so enthusiastically? Mister time for a Revolution? Who is the enemy - the white man who controls everything and benefits from everything and has an unfair advantage.

This campaign is actively stirring up bitterness and divisiveness. He is encouraging people to wallow in their own perceived superiority. They think they're part of the new elite or something.

Instead of the Democrats being the usual coalition of interests, the new alignment seems to be those who are okay with damning America ("finally a candidate who will say the truth!") vs. those who are...well, what needs changing. What Rev. Wright would call "white America" (and he includes blacks who are "whiter than Cheney" in that categorization).

It would sound a lot like a brewing revolution, except that whatever this 'change' is he thinks he wants, it isn't anything the big rich corporate money people mind too much, apparently. And he's got the media on his side too. So whatever is going on, it has corporate America on its side.

jacilyn said...

Why would Obama say that the Clinton years were bad years for poor a fundraiser for wealthy donors?

TA said...

jacilyn, because some of those wealthy donors (especially in SF) probably BECAME wealthy during the Clinton years and the tech boom. So telling THEM that the Clinton years sucked for everyone won't make a lot of sense.

And the fact that the Clinton years sucked less for the "bitter working class" than either Bush administration, is conveniently ignored. This insistence on running down Bill Clinton's administration - by Democrats! - has me terribly flustered.

Thank you, anglachel.

sas said...

As much as I hate to say this, Reagan said that he did not leave the Democratic party, the party had left him.
As a Democratic lifer, I really looked down on that.

Now I understand it completely.

I feel that the Democratic party is leaving me. This isn't the party who stands for women's issues and the working class anymore.

I am sure some of these SCP's (so-called progressives)probably can't stand the thought of a woman as a leader, but can't admit their own misogyny. They have to swoon over this guy like he's their first prom date, or worse yet, the second coming.

This is a disaster in the making. Hillary is by far the more progressive.

Anglachel, keep on working. Your posts are so insightful.

hells kitchen said...

Very good analysis of the PDS.

My concern is the end game. In a post over at No Quarter, I read that Dean is worried about riots if Obama doesn't win. Have they been threatened? I know Jesse Jackson Jr. has applied pressure to AA politicians, but has it actually been expanded to the entire party? Or is Dean's anxious imagination in need of xanax?

My fear is that it may not make any difference, long term, who wins the nomination. The damage to our party strikes me as being too great to overcome. The situation as I see it now is not kiss and make up. The long knives have done too much damage.

This seems to be a point in history when a new party will rise out of the ashes. It may still be called the Democratic Party or it may take another name. The question is who will the party represent. Are we going to have two parties for the wealthy? One party for the wealthy and the other for the wealthy wannabes? Where do ordinary folks go for democracy?

Common Sense Gram said...

Ditto what China Berry Turtle said!
thanks for writing!

Clyde said...

I know I'm a minority in this sentiment, but I still say that if Clinton does as well as she is expected to during the remaining primaries, she should just consider a third party run. I know many say that would be handing the nomination to McCain, but frankly I don't think there are all that many voters who will be rock hard McCain supporters. Worse, no matter what she does from here on out, the DNC is going to do everything they can to keep her from getting the nomination, even if it means disenfranchising two of the largest states in the country. And while the Media Pundits continue to build up Obama, they have to be salivating at the thought of going on ad nauseum about how the Dems blew it once he is the nominee who will most certainly be forced upon us.

But I know Hillary won't do a third party run as both her and Bill have remained loyal to the Democratic Party despite the fact that a great deal of the Party has not just completely turned their back on them, but have decided to put them in front of some kind of character assassinating firing squad in the process. It's as if they resent the fact that the only successful Dem in the White House was in fact an outsider who was never truly one of them. They want one of their own and they want it now.

Frankly, for voters I see this as the only viable alternative. Either McCain or Obama is going to be a disaster so if Obama is the nominee, than we're in a lose lose situation.

Oh, and I have voted Democratic all of my life since Carter first ran. But I can not bring myself to vote for somebody who is a total fraud from top to bottom, manufactured bought and paid for.

Stella said...

The "progressives" united around reaction to Bush, the war, neocons, etc. We thought it would be easy and obvious to beat them, all we had to do is be Democrats. Instead, they invented a vessel of pure good. This vessel has to be all powerful and all knowing, transceded. But, there is no such thing and many of us know it. My fears are if he wins the GE we will have true believers that will take us to pure tyranny and we will see nothing of the Democratic agenda, cause they will be busy defending the "pure good vessel".

jacilyn said...

Hells Kitchen, I have worried about race riots too.

You can't whip up unrealistically high expectations, chanting promises that if you hope hard enough anything is possible, and bitterness toward those who stand in your way - without the very real probability that things will get ugly if they don't work out.

It is a natural extension of "vote for me or else you're ..." which is how too many Obama supporters think for that to be coincidental.

Wait a minute - not "if" but "WHEN" things don't work out.

lillytoo said...

So either the bloggers were lying then and they don't care about Social Security or they believe whatever Obama says and not their own eyes ...or they got a taste of success under the Bush years and want them to continue ?

Wether there would be real
riots or not I can't say. Will the GOP pay pros for trying to start them? YES.

There is no time for a third party bid. Hillary is about take over this one

Ethan Voccaro said...

You have to give the republicans credit for at least one thing. They vet all of their candidates out in the media and the public, testing whether or not people find them palatable.

And then they choose a candidate which they know can win...even if they have to bring his candidacy back from the dead. John McCain getting the Republican nomination shows exactly why Republicans win elections. The Republican party elite might not have wanted him as their first choice, but they knew how to put a candidate with broad appeal based on the political situations of the time.

Why do we as a party cling so much to sinking ships?

Eleanor said...

Is anybody coming to Denver? I am, and it looks like I may be spending an increasing amount of time in the MI/FL picket line. I'm not advocating violence, but I think it might do the world some good to see protesters on television about this disenfranchisement.

Otherwise, thanks, all. It's nice to feel like you have an online home again.

Shaun said...

Anglachel I have your explanation and would recommend that you read the recent book Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. It explains how once people become locked in to a decision that their brain filters out anything that doesn't fit their version of reality as well as how we are all neurologically wired to overcome cognitive dissonance. Has some great material about why G.W.Bush won't budge on Iraq and the situation with OB isn't any difference. There was a psychological experiment performed in the 50's or 60's that was supposed to demonstrate how depraved the Nazi war criminals were and scientist were stunned that most people did as they were told, even though they believed that they were administiring a life threatening jolt of electricity to another human being. Of course it proved the opposite of what the experiment was designed to do so it's results weren't widely touted and I didn't realize the significance until I read the book. I hope it will help you and perhaps others to put things into perspective to understand the mania as well as CDS.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Here is a very interesting Salon article that complements Anglachel's analysis (found via Corrente). An interesting quote:

On one side of this intra-party divide are the extroverted, populist party regulars like Truman, supported by working-class voters who belong to Elazar's individualist and traditionalist cultures and see politics as a fight against enemies for the spoils of victory. On the other side of the culture gap are the Stevensonian reformers, urbane, ironic, detached, introverted, intellectual and disdainful of petty politics. They appeal to upper-middle-class professionals, as well as to academics and college students, and elite journalists, for whom politics is about inspirational ideals, not material interests.

The article is very interesting and brings in a regional analysis that jibes with the idealogical analysis, much as Anglachel has been doing (and leading) here for a long time now.

Hank Gillette said...

On the one hand, I read news articles about working class voters voicing their dismay and anger at Obama for dissing them at a fundraiser.

Really? What I see are articles by pundits saying that the working class voters should be offended. Many of them are quoting Hillary or McCain. It's nice of Hillary to help McCain with his talking points for the general election.

Shouldn't we leave it to the people themselves to decide whether or not they are offended, and if so, whether it's enough to change their vote? Poll results (so far) are not showing that to be the case. Apparently the ones most offended were those who weren't going to be voting for Obama anyway.

cutepeachpanda said...

This is a great article:
The Feminist Reawakening

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Hank - I'm a real life person who comes from the Southern version of what Obama was talking about. I'm offended. Deeply offended. I've got guns (lots of 'em). I don't cling to them b/c I'm bitter about anything. I own them to protect my family and my home from intruders and, frankly, shooting guns is fun.

Your guy Obama tried to spin it by saying that he was really giving a list of "good" things that us dumbfucks retreat to when times are tough. Guns & god are good.

The problem w/ this spin is that the following was among this putative list of "good" things: "antipathy toward people who don't look like themselves." Well Hank, this Southern podunk can actually read them $20 dollar words like "antipathy", look them up in the dictionary, and figure out what Obama is saying. He's saying that in hard times my dumbfuck southern ass retreats to racism, which is somehow just another one of those "good" things like god & guns.

Well Hank, I got news for you: I AM A REAL FUCKING PERSON. I come from southern podunks and this shit pisses me off big-time. Even though I myself am not religious, I get really ticked off at elite liberal fucks who try to tell me that my neighbors of faith are retarded for having a Bible in their homes.

Perhaps your new spin will be: "Anglachel brainwashed us." Again, us po' dumb ignant folk is jus too dumb to make our own deductions.

There's just no two ways about it. This whole thing shows Obama hates us, or at best views us as poor pathetic saps with whom he must deign to go bolling in order to appeal to our knuckle-dragging ways. Well, know what? We hate him right back.

You might say: "But you weren't gonna vote for him anyway." True, but I didn't HATE the guy back in December, and back in December I would have voted for him if he won the nomination. But shit like this is what makes me HATE the guy and makes it IMPOSSIBLE for me to EVER vote for him.

lost clown said...

eleanor: if this things goes all the way to convention, I don't know how I'm going to pay for it, but some way, I will be there! (and probably standing beside you and never even knowing it since that's where I was planning on spending a good chunk of my time too.)

If we have to deal with McCain in the WH for a party that *actually* adheres to the traditional democratic values and isn't what my friends and I like to call the demopublicans then I'm all for it.

But if we can do that and have Hillary in office, even better.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

By the way, here's the conversation gun-control folk should have with people like me: "Chinaberry, I understand you like guns and they are important to you. Can we talk about ways to balance your interests with the safety of the community? Do you think you could give up on the ease of buying guns, or maybe even give up on the right to own certain kinds of guns, so that the rest of the community could be safer?"

I know Hillary is for gun control. And I know if she becomes President, that's the kind of conversation she'll have w/ me and my kind.

Here's the conversation you DON'T want to have with us:

"Look you chicken-fried southern dumbfuck - your gun ownership is scaring us. Additionally, we have sat down and performed some arm-chair psycho-analysis on you. We think the only reason you like your guns in the first place is because you're a dumbfuck. Ergo, give up your guns."

Yeah, that shit won't go over well at all. Talk like that makes me hold hands with Charlton Heston and say "Out of my cold, dead hands ..."

So, from a *practical* perspective of getting gun control laws passed, Obama is a total ignoramus. Just knowing where he's coming from, I'll oppose any gun-control laws he puts forward. But I could probably support the same legislation from Hillary b/c I know with her it's coming from a place of respect and understanding.

show me said...

Thanks always write what I am thinking.

We are either going to have to struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party or we are going to need to form a new coalition.I am afraid what we are seeing is a melding of elites with their own agendas and the average American is going to left in the dust of the global economy.They are all some form of Republican. Is anybody talking about social justice, the environment, gay issues, women's issues,the uneven distribution of wealth, comsumer fairness? Look what they did to Edwards and Gore before him.Kerry deserved it the jerk! See how they marginalize Kucinish and make him out to be a kook and Nader to me a mean old narcissist, when both speak the truth, Dr. Paul did a bit of that too.The Clintons have always been such a threat because they figured out a way to bridge the gap between business interests and doing well by the people.Hillary is just as progressive as FDR but she has had to operate in a far different world.Bill is the only Democrat with heart, brain and brawn in my lifetime.If there ever was an alpha male in the Democratic Party is is Bill Clinton(and I know it got him into trouble) but he is a mascline feminist, a man who is all guy but loves women. He turns the elites into adolescents.Think about it do any of these punks who critcize him hold a candle?

Chinaberry Turtle said...

I basically see Obama as currently at the same stage Hillary was at many years ago when she made her "baking cookies" comment. She wasn't ready to lead the Dems at that time. She had then, as Obama has now, politically unhealthy views about certain traditional segments of America.

But Hillary has grown and matured into a fantastic political leader who has *learned* to respect all parts of America. And that's what it takes - "learning." You don't just instantly understand and respect people different from yourself. You have to live & learn; you have to find out what the political hot-buttons are; you have to figure out what makes people tick; and you have to believe that, deep down, there is good in every part of America.

Hillary has gone through all that; she has learned. She is ready. With this infamous quote, Obama has demonstrated that he's just not ready yet. He needs more time at the national level to learn all these hard lessons just as Hillary did.

We'll forgive him. We've forgiven Hillary for her "baking cookies" comments. Us Southern podunks have large hearts, but we ask for your understanding before we'll give you our vote.

But this "bitter" comment shows he doesn't understand us yet. Keep working on it Obama. We'll be here to support you when you do understand us.

idear said...

I found this site just a few days ago. It has since become one of my favorites.

Thank you anglachel and posters for your insights.

I had more to say but it got deleted in train of registering, so more later, I hope.

Cathy said...

Some quick comments before I return to work.

One, don't fear "race" riots at Denver. If Hillary pulls it off - and I must continue to believe she will - then it will be the college frat boy burnt out leftist crowd. They are wrongly hiding behind the specter of race to stir up more animosity.

(Face it folks, they do it every year. So best response is "yawn.")

Two, count me in there with the third party run for Hillary. We can't afford either one of these clowns.

Three, folks are interpreting one of your earlier posts to mean the new young "rich" plan to vote the rest of us off the island. (In other words, privatize everything.) Tsk, tsk. Have they never learned anything (probably not). You can't build the moats big enough when you turn your back on almost everyone else. That's especially true when your lives and portfolios are build on sand.

Four, let's follow the famous cliche -- hang together or hang separately.

janiscortese said...


Here you go:

PA Voters Angry at being "Blasphemed"

Indiana Mayors Decry Obama's Remarks

And like Chinaberry, I am also a lunchbucket Dem but from north of the Mason-Dixon line. PA in fact. Blue-collar through and through, despite my advanced degrees that cause latte-libs to mistakenly think I'm one of them down to the core. Repairmen for a father and oldest brother, and my older brother is labor union AND has a BATF firearms collector's license. Pink-collar mom. When I get angry, the Phila accent still comes out.

And I'm angry now. And I know better than to swallow his goddamned insulting swill about how it was all the syntax that I misunderstood -- cuz we dopey lunchbuckets don't even know what $2 words like "syntax" mean, do we?

That spoiled rotten Heir Apparent wouldn't know government and binding or the VP shell model if it crawled up and bit him on his golden ass.

I'm even a gunowner. Hell, I thought I liked target shooting and gadgets, and figured it would be useful as a means of self-defense. It's actually rather funny to listen to a bunch of latte-libs go off on how smart modern women are and how we have the brains to use our uteruses, but then spin around and talk about how we're too stupid and hormone-ridden to be trusted with firearms.

I'm tired of being split in two. I'm sick of it -- in a country that boasts so long and loud about its class mobility, people like me and Chinaberry shouldn't blow fuses in so goddamned many people's brains.

marirebel said...

Stella, I am intrigued with your suggestion that those suffering from PDS have created a vessel of pure good that is all powerful and all knowing (Obama, the always male face of God!). I am mindful that our Country has a long history of seeing itself as pure good, as a light on the hill, exceptional, innocent, and the purveyor of redemption qua democracy worldwide. Often, we have been able to articulate our “goodness” only against the “evil” of our enemies upon whom we have projected our shadow side. (You know, the side that overthrows legitimate governments like in Chile and Guatemala, or that foments revolution and the murder of civilians, like in Nicaragua and El Salvador, or that invades countries, like Iraq, and kills people for no good reason). I see this same type of all good/all evil national mythos translated to the personal level in PDS sufferers, and right wing ideologues. The PDS gang and the ideologues are right; their respective enemies are wrong. Nuance and complexity are unnecessary. The perceived, absolutely wrong enemy, bears the shadow of the ones who are absolutely right. Hence, the PDS gang and the right wing ideologues can only articulate ideas against a perceived enemy. Obama tells African Americans they are being bamboozled, hoodwinked and subjected to the okie-doke . . . by the “enemy.” Billionaire San Franciscans are told that their collective will is thwarted by uneducated small town rubes. There is a significant bullying component to this “I’m totally right/you’re totally wrong mentality.” We see it in George Bush, and shock and awe, torture and extraordinary renditions. We see it in the ugly nastiness of O'Reilly, Limbaugh and Beck, among others. And, we see it in the vile, misogynistic, nasty discourse of the blogger boyz, and their creepy calls for Clinton to prematurely drop out of the race. This totalizing right/wrong mentality is, I think, part of a patriarchal paradigm based on a cosmological hierarchy (male God, autonomous man, women, animals (with whom she is closely associated), and an epistemological hierarchy where knowledge is for domination and power (oh, the "creative class").

janiscortese said...

Don't forget though -- these people are "creative class" only by their own labelling of themselves as such. That doesn't make it true.

One of the postulates of Florida's book is that the bellwether of the creative class is the gay and lesbian community.

Most queers I know are backing Hillary. :-)

These people aren't actually creative class; they are CC wannabes. They think that because they know perl and Java that they're gonna rake in Biggg Buxxx. Apparently, the NASDAQ tanking didn't teach them anything.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

marirebel said:

an epistemological hierarchy where knowledge is for domination and power

Hey marirebel. You know, the more I think about this primary and your comment, the more this fracture in the Democratic party seems like an ancient argument.

We had Platonic Formalists and Aristotelean Materialists in Ancient Greece. Then we had Berkeley's Idealism vs. Locke's Empiricism in the 1600's. Finally, we have post-modernism (Wittgenstein et. al.) and whatever the "realist" side of this dualism is called these days.

Basically, there's two old traditions:

(1) Platonism/Idealism/Postmodernism says it's not the mundane details of the physical universe you see around you that's important; rather - it's the higher abstract concepts you can extract away from all these inconsequential instances that's the key to understanding (or making) the world.

Materialism/Empiricism/Realism says that there aren't really any higher abstract metaphysical forms to be extracted from the world; the world just simply *IS* all the boring physical mundane stuff you see all around you and have to deal with every day.

It really seems like this ancient intellectual struggle is now manifesting itself in Democratic politics. We have Obama and his followers who say that it is abstract ideas that matter; that's the form of knowledge in which we can find power. And we have Hillary and her followers that say it's the boring and mundane material world in which we must find our knowledge and power; anything else is fooling ourselves out of the hard work that's required to get things done.

In the end, I think you're right marirebel. Key to understanding the Obama/Hillary split in the party is understanding the underlying epistemological differences between them. And there's so much (ancient) history in these differences.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

These people aren't actually creative class; they are CC wannabes. They think that because they know perl and Java that they're gonna rake in Biggg Buxxx.

Janis, you are *bad* girl! :-) It's so true though.

Typical Obama Supporter:

Undergraduate Humanities Degree
WTF Do I Do Now?
OK: More Humanities Graduate Degree Stuff
WTF Do I Do Now?
Read "Java For Dummies"
Get Job at Tech Company One Step Up From Data Entry
Get Big "Creative Class" Chip on Shoulder B/C I'm In The 'New Economy'

p.s. make sure not to have any kids lest the whole mystique come crashing down.

janiscortese said...

CT, your dichotomy is really quite interesting. I don't know where I fit in it because my brain thinks in abstractions like breathing, and yet I'm so tied to the proof of the real world. I get so angry when I read crap like that quote from Adlai Stevenson(?) when he says that as long as the Dems stick to their sainted principles, that's best because even though they'll win less often, at least their sacred principles will be left pure.

Yeah. Which is what matters, right? Your principles. That's what it's all about -- YOU. The tiny little world in your mind. And if you lose a few times more and a few more poor people starve and a few more dead women show up in alleyways, then hey, that's just the price you have to pay.

These people think this is a goddamned game. Some little contest they have to prove how morally superior they are.

crackball said...

What gets me about the "creative class" is that it was the Clinton economy and Clinton's support of technology (remember the Bridge to the 21st Century?) that enabled their growth as a so-called "class" in the first place.

crackball said...

What gets me about the self-labelled "creative class" is that it was the Clinton economy and Clinton's "Bridge to the 21st Century," which included federal support for the technology sector, that enabled them to grow as a so-called "class" in the first place.

They might have a degree in Humanities but they sure have NO historical perspective.

crackball said...

One other point about the "creative class" - I know a lot of these people and though they've claimed the mantle of "Progessive" for themselves, they really aren't progressive in the way historically we've thought of progressives -- what they truly are, deep down, is imbued with gigantic streaks of libertarianism. It's their anti-war stance that allows them to claim the term "progressive." But that streak of libertarianism is why they're not hugely gung-ho on socialized medicine or Social Security or the "bread and butter" issues or women's issues, which generally involve supporting programs involving mandates and govt. intervention.

Hank Gillette said...

cognitivedissonance said:

And what do we get? A party establishment more interested in a coup against the Clintons then winning an election.

That's a problem I have with Hillary. Running against her and winning is not a "coup". A coup would imply that she had some natural right to be the Democratic nominee, and early on, that's the way she acted.

Some of my other problems with Hillary are well articulated in this post:

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Hank - here's what the "coup" refers to:

(1) not counting MI

(2) not counting FL

(3) caucus elections that inherently do not reflect the will of the people (2 hour voting window at night??!!)

(4) Obama voter intimidation at caucuses.

(5) Dem party leaders calling for Hillary to drop out even though she keeps winning.

There's no "natural right" argument involved.

peon said...

I think this campaign has provided an answer to the question that so preoccupied the media at the start of the campaign, "are americans more sexist or racist?". At least it is obvious that the white, male, powerful media is more sexist than racist.
As others have pointed out women are breathing down the neck of the entrenched male power structure. Check out percentages of women in university, grad school and professional school. The numbers have sky rocketed over the last two decades. All these qualified women in the pipeline have yet to translate into any kind of parity in positions of power, but men feel it coming and they are scared.
Little wonder they greet Clinton's run for the top spot with such venom. They do not want little girls any more encouraged than they currently are to excell.
Not so with blacks, so Obama is not so threatening. White Powerful Men see him as a one off, and part white to boot.
It is discouraging to see so-called progressives so willing to engage in the attack politics of Clintons that were pioneered by the Rethuglicans.
Hillary is not far enough to the left to excite me but neither is Obama. His speech against the war in 2002 was great but I never saw him in DC at any protests. Conyers came, Boxer, and others. He voted to authorize all the money. He talks trash about Dems; he blabs about the "problem with Social Security" (echoing the Rethugs); his stance on women's right to choose is lukewarm at best. But he is a guy, and his election will hold back the inevitable tide of hard-working, uppity women who are no longer content to raise babies, do laundry and shut up.