Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stereotypes, Facts and Ideals

Paul Krugman's Friday column is up on the New York Times - Clinging to a Sterotype. He hits all the right notes:

Will Barack Obama’s now famous “bitter” quote turn out to have been a big deal politically? Frankly, I have no idea.

But here’s a different question: was Mr. Obama right?

Mr. Obama’s comments combined assertions about economics, sociology and voting behavior. In each case, his assertion was mostly if not entirely wrong.

Start with the economics. Mr. Obama: “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.”

There are, indeed, towns where the mill closed during the 1980s and nothing has replaced it. But the suggestion that the American heartland suffered equally during the Clinton and Bush years is deeply misleading.

In fact, the Clinton years were very good for working Americans in the Midwest, where real median household income soared before crashing after 2000. (You can see the numbers at my blog, krugman.blogs.nytimes.com.)

***

Next, the sociology: “And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”

The crucial word here isn’t “bitter,” it’s “cling.” Does economic hardship drive people to seek solace in firearms, God and xenophobia?

It’s true that people in poor states are more likely to attend church regularly than residents of rich states. This might seem to indicate that faith is indeed a response to economic adversity.

But this result largely reflects the fact that southern states are both church-going and poor; some poor states outside the South, like Maine and Montana, are actually less religious than Connecticut. Furthermore, within poor states, people with low incomes are actually less likely to attend church than those with high incomes. (The correlation runs the opposite way in rich states.)

Over all, none of this suggests that people turn to God out of economic frustration.

***

It’s true that Americans who attend church regularly are more likely to vote Republican. But contrary to the stereotype, this relationship is weak at low incomes but strong among high-income voters. That is, to the extent that religion helps the G.O.P., it’s not by convincing the working class to vote against its own interests, but by producing supermajorities among the evangelical affluent.

So why have Republicans won so many elections? In his book, “Unequal Democracy,” Mr. Bartels shows that “the shift of the Solid South from Democratic to Republican control in the wake of the civil rights movement” explains all — literally all — of the Republican success story.

Does it matter that Mr. Obama has embraced an incorrect theory about what motivates working-class voters? His campaign certainly hasn’t been based on Mr. Frank’s book, which calls for a renewed focus on economic issues as a way to win back the working class.

Indeed, the book concludes with a blistering attack on Democrats who cater to “affluent, white-collar professionals who are liberal on social issues” while “dropping the class language that once distinguished them sharply from Republicans.” Doesn’t this sound a bit like the Obama campaign?

Anyway, the important point is that working-class Americans do vote on economic issues — and can be swayed by a politician who offers real answers to their problems.

And one more thing: let’s hope that once Mr. Obama is no longer running against someone named Clinton, he’ll stop denigrating the very good economic record of the only Democratic administration most Americans remember.

People are not casting their votes for the reasons the Blogger Boyz and The Precious claim. Indeed, if anyone is voting out of ungrounded and consoling beliefs, it is the Obamacans, with no solid platform, on the basis of undefined "hope", in violent emotional reaction to a powerful female mother figure, with enormous amounts of contempt and bile for those who do not view the world through their eyes.

They take solace in a fantasy that Obama will be a liberal, even as he sucks up to Republicans and has conservative, opportunistic advisors. They like to think that their vote for a black guy proves they are not racist, just they way some people think attending church makes them Christians. They attribute to their candidate qualities not in evidence, and project onto anyone who fails to adulate Obama the worst possible motives, even going so far as to invent family members who work for the evil lying bitch. They espouse violence against their fellow Democrats, saying they want to batter Hillary, making death threats to black super delegates who do not declare for Obama, and harassing ordinary travelers who show favor to Hillary.

And now, today, Lord Kos himself, a former Republican, declares that Hillary (and by extension those who support her) isn't really a Democrat, trying to delegitimize the political choice of well over half of the party, just as his former political fellow travelers have tried to do to vast swaths of the American public - gays, feminists, blacks, immigrants, Jews, the working class.

Sorry, Markos. I am a Democrat and my acts support my ideology. It is you who falls short of the Democratic ideal.

Anglachel

21 comments:

Jet said...

Obamabots just do not want anyone to disturb their fantasy of Obama being the Messiah. They truly act like a cult, which makes them very dangerous politically should they attain power as history shows.

jacilyn said...

So is Krugman the only voice in the mainstream media willing to defend Clinton's legacy? This rewriting of history really disturbs me.

gendergappers said...

The excuses for BO's poor performance in debate are thicker than turds around the schoolhouse, but this one gets the prize.

On Airamericaradio this morning Thom Hartman informed us that BO was thinking of his Party and his Country. In case HRC won, he did not want to damage her in the GE so he pulled all his punches.

Gotta give them credit for coming up with it, especially since they always tell the truth - NOT.

With PA polls all over the place, the msm keeps reporting the lowest and claims that BO is = or passing HRC. My guess is that this is to discourage her supporters thus lowering contributions. It also feeds those who always want to vote for the winner and care little who it is.

janiscortese said...

Oh believe me, Bittergate has legs.

Hank Gillette said...

Anglachel said:

People are not casting their votes for the reasons the Blogger Boyz and The Precious claim. Indeed, if anyone is voting out of ungrounded and consoling beliefs, it is the Obamacans, with no solid platform, on the basis of undefined "hope", in violent emotional reaction to a powerful female mother figure, with enormous amounts of contempt and bile for those who do not view the world through their eyes.

On the other hand, your respect for those who do not view the world through your eyes permeates throughout your posts.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

They take solace in a fantasy that Obama will be a liberal, even as he sucks up to Republicans and has conservative, opportunistic advisors.

Perhaps people believe that because
he rated the most liberal senator in 2007 by the National Journal. Perhaps they believe that because the Wall Street Journal calls him a liberal. They might even believe it because Clinton's campaign has accused Obama of being too liberal. After all, if you cannot believe Hillary Clinton (who admitted to lying about her trip to Bosnia in the debate the other night), who can you believe?

Bud White said...

I can't believe Lord Kos is read by anybody. His race-baiting of the Clinton team by claiming they darkened a picture of Obama was embarrassing (though on script), and his political writing is rarely if ever informative or interesting.

Eleanor said...

You can believe other Hillary supporters, who aren't behind a guy trying to disenfranchise millions of American voters in two must-win states for Democrats.

You can also believe your lying eyes, when they're telling you Obama will be a bigger disaster than Dukakis, Kerry and Mondale all rolled into one, and that he'll be lucky to win his own home state.

Thanks for reading DK, anglachel, so we don't have to. I hear Kos' daily hits are dropping like a rock. He must be getting desperate to create some kind of buzz, or maybe it's finally dawned on him that Hillary supporters can and will hurt him - as they'll hurt Obama - through their lack of support. What recourse has he got but lashing out? Even he's not stupid enough to think he's going to be able to lure us back.

We mean business, here, Obamanation. If you think we're just going to get over this - wrong answer. Obama gets this nomination by disenfranchising MI and FL, and I for one will not give him one penny; I won't campaign for him; and I won't vote for him. There are plenty of Democrats LOTS more worthy of my time and support in Congressional elections all over the country this election cycle. I'll write in Hillary whether she's the nominee or not.

Good luck getting Obama elected without thousands and thousands and thousands of people who feel exactly this same way. Just cause you people claim you're the real Dems? Doesn't make it so.

- 7th generation Democrat in a swing state you will never, ever, in a million years win for Barack Obama (and which proudly went for Hillary by double digits on super Tuesday...)

justus said...

oh my, my, my. Two former rethugs are now leading the blog charge for Obama while parading as dems - Kos and Arianna! Oh no - no, no, no you don't. The roots of the democratic party in working class America run deep and wide and you, Kos, do NOT, I repeat NOT determine who or what defines a democrat.

LE said...

I think Obama was giving Hillary the finger because he pauses at that moment and waits for the crowd reaction to end before he continues with his verbal attack. Obama is such an arrogant hateful jerk! He is a mean person who is clearly not very smart or dignified.

Hillary Clinton is so much better than he is in presenting and having ideas, in putting forth proposals in historical context and in being a true leader. She does not need to debase or demean another person, or call her opponents racist, or his supporters bitter_as he has. Obama just points the finger, whining and blaming others for *HIS* poor judgement in the friend/associations he keeps.

I am inspired by Hillary!! She is a warm-hearted, strong, intelligent woman and it fills my heart with joy to hear her speak and to see her defend her ideas and put forth her plans. I am proud of her, and proud of our country for producing such an amazing woman. Her mother was born when women were not allowed to vote, it was illegal, and now here she is running for President with her mom by her side. I hope young American women who are told they are sluts, b***** etc.. will rise like she has.

Please watch some videos that can inform you on who Hillary is, the Hillary that I see, and what she has had to endure:

Sexism, Misogyny, Women's History & Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton's Accomplishments

Hillary is a Fighter

Who Hillary Clinton Really Is

Chinaberry Turtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chinaberry Turtle said...

Hank said:

On the other hand, your respect for those who do not view the world through your eyes permeates throughout your posts.
Pot. Kettle. Black.


Judging from the "pot calling the kettle black" comment, and your previous posts, I assume that your fist sentence contains a typo (lest, "pot. kettle. black" is nonsensical) and was intended to read as "on the other hand, your *lack of* respect ..."

Correct Hank. You will find little respect on this board for a viewpoint that is based upon: (1) deep woman-hatred, and (2) antipathy toward poor folk w/ little formal education. Many of us believe Obama's message comes from this viewpoint.

If this primary race were *really* just about an honest difference in health care plans, then everything would be fine. It's the misogyny and classism that makes the difference.

As to "pottle. kettle. black." - no. Find any post in Anglachel's journal where Obama is denigrated, implicitly or explicitly, for being black. You can't.

We disagreed w/ Obama in December b/c of his differences w/ us on health care. We HATE him now b/c he's been revealed (through too many examples to mention) as a misogynistic classist asshole.

cutepeachpanda said...

Obama giving Hillary the finger at his rally wasn't the thing that pushed me over the edge last night. Watch the video and actually listen to the bullshit coming out of his mouth. He is responsible for not only hardening his supporters and encouraging them to hate Hillary but he is also responsible for making us hate him. He is nothing but a divider. His cult followers are obviously so in love with the man that they cannot see who he really is. Obama absolutely disgusts me. If Obama is the nominee and MI is a close race I might have to hold my nose and vote for McCain because I have decided I will do anything it takes to make sure Obama is not our next president. I refuse to allow Obama, Dean, Pelosi, Richardson, Brazile, and all of these other assholes win this race and run our country. I still plan to write in Hillary if she isn't the nominee but I can't believe I prefer a Republican over any Democrat. This is ridiculous. I am glad that there is still Krugman balancing out all the bullshit from the other NYTimes columnists.

I'm so angry right now!

Alice said...

It is unbelievable that there are videos of Obama saying the same speech in front of 2 separate audiences! At the same point in EACH speech, he takes his middle finger and pretends to scratch his nose. Guaranteeing that it was no accident! It is at the point where he says “Hillay is in her element”. I have seen this gesture before. The audience understands what he has done. They are in on the joke. Their response is inappropriate if they don’t get the gesture. Like I said, there are 2 separate videos with 2 separate audiences. The speeches are identical. At the same point in each speech, he does the gesture. The one video, from ABC news http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=4675790&affil=wtae (there is also a You tube video of the ABC one) shows the best angle and in listening to it you get the irrefutable proof. The other video is very similar but gesture not as clear. The audience in that video is less in on the crude gesture. Notice the different people in the audiences. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNO58WdUptUIt It is just unbelievable to me that he would have such poor judgement as to risk everything to give Hillary the finger...twice in one day.

CMike said...

Alice,

Your YouTube link is not leading to a video. I've seen a lot of clips of this and so far all of them have been of the same event.

janiscortese said...

Alice, I think it as one event from two different camera angles, so crude and gutter as it was, it was one event. Which is one too many.

Hank Gillette said...

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Judging from the "pot calling the kettle black" comment, and your previous posts, I assume that your fist sentence contains a typo (lest, "pot. kettle. black" is nonsensical) and was intended to read as "on the other hand, your *lack of* respect ..."

No, that's what I meant. It's called sarcasm.

Correct Hank. You will find little respect on this board for a viewpoint that is based upon: (1) deep woman-hatred, and (2) antipathy toward poor folk w/ little formal education. Many of us believe Obama's message comes from this viewpoint.

Yes, I understand that you believe this. But belief isn't proof. I've helped elect three women senators and a woman congressman. You can't tell me that I hate women because I don't support Hillary Clinton, especially when you don't even know me.

I'm sure that there are people out there who won't vote for woman for president, just as there are those who won't vote for a black man for president. But I believe that the majority of people supporting Clinton and Obama are supporting the person the believe to be the better candidate.

I'm guessing that you do not even see the absurdity of excoriating people for not respecting other people's opinions while doing the exact same thing yourself.

I suppose you feel justified because you are sure that you are right and your motives are pure, but can't you see that the people you are demonizing feel exactly the same way about their views?

As to "pottle. kettle. black." - no. Find any post in Anglachel's journal where Obama is denigrated, implicitly or explicitly, for being black. You can't.

Pot. Kettle. Black. has nothing to do with Obama's color. It has to do with condemning someone for doing something that you yourself are doing.

I don't read all the liberal blogs (who could), but I do read Joshua Marshall's TPM regularly, and I've never read anything by him that treats Hillary with the disrespect and contempt that Anglachel shows for Obama in nearly every post.

janiscortese said...

II do read Joshua Marshall's TPM regularly, and I've never read anything by him that treats Hillary with the disrespect and contempt that Anglachel shows for Obama in nearly every post.

Naah, he's way worse.

janiscortese said...

Also Hank ... um, go back and get quotes that demonstrate this rank, fetid contempt you're talking about. From her past posts to this journal. Now. No backpedaling, no, "Um, but well, it's just the general tone I'm talking about ... "

Quotes. Now.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

"Yes, I understand that you believe this. But belief isn't proof."

Hank, you've come to the wrong place. You see, many here have already come to a conclusion. Call it what you want (irrational, whatever, just don't care about you Hank). Point is - we've studied this primary carefully and we've come to our conclusion. Obama is toast to us this election cycle. Have fun walking down the road to find someone who wants to "prove" stuff to you.

Not gonna even argue w/ you bud. Obama is dead to most of us. Maybe go back and tell your buddies how they really fucked themselves this election cycle. Regardless of whether you think we're justified or not, the fact remains that we are NOT unified under the Obama umbrella. So, Obama, the "unity" candicate, has fucked this whole thing up.

Later.

Hank Gillette said...

Also Hank ... um, go back and get quotes that demonstrate this rank, fetid contempt you're talking about.

Here are a few. I'm sure that I can find some more if you want.

"Golden Boy Barry"

"The Precious"

"If Obama had not been so eager to fellate the corpse of Regan in exchange for a few cross-over primary votes"

"Obama has run a shitty, nasty, fuck-the-bitch-over campaign"

"Obama is all about The Precious and just how precious he is."

Hank Gillette said...

chinaberry turtle said:

Hank, you've come to the wrong place. You see, many here have already come to a conclusion.

Yes, I understand that. You're comfortable in your little alternate reality here, and you're not going to be swayed by anything as mundane as facts.

Whatever you do though, don't even consider what you would be thinking and saying had it been Senator Obama who had lied about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia and had been forced to apologize for the lie on national television. The disconnect might make your head explode.