Friday, May 02, 2008

The Whiteness of the Whale

When historians and political scientists look back at this election, they will not primarily be concerned with who won. The phenomenon to be explained will be the unhinged attacks upon Hillary Clinton from the Left. See eRiposte's write up here for another discussion of this phenomenon. The war being waged against Hillary from the Left goes far beyond the immediate campaign contest – the primary has become the vehicle through which the Left’s hatred of the Clintons can be expressed in a unified manner. That the Right should hate the Clintons is unsurprising, but what can possibly explain the fury of the Left with Bill and Hillary Clinton?

There is nothing in the political acts or policies of either of these people sufficient to explain this reaction. If the segment of the Left assaulting the Clintons was merely the disaffected and inchoate fringes, people with a single issue that no one except their own preferred candidate can satisfy, or obsessed with ethical purity to such a degree that they will not accept that politics are necessary and every political act is looked at as an example of corruption, then there would be an explanation. Cranks tend to glom onto celebrities as objects of adoration or hatred. But the people objecting most strenuously to the Clintons are politically indistinguishable from them. The alleged political sins of Bill and Hillary are shared by other politicians who are not subject to the scorched earth assaults the Clintons endure. Among the power brokers, the attackers are often colleagues, appointees and protégés. At a policy or philosophical level, these are differences of degree, not of kind.

It is a phenomenon uniquely demarcated by class. Upper-middle and upper class professionals with significant amounts of college education are the overwhelming majority of the people launching broadsides against the Clintons. It has a distinct geographical structure as well, being more likely to appear north of the Mason-Dixon than south of it.

It differs this election cycle than when Bill ran for President in that it is voiced more openly and because the vitriol is being poured onto Hillary Clinton voters as well as on the candidate herself. The attack upon rank and file supporters is, I think, the major way in which CDS on the Left differs from that on the Right. I cannot name a time in all the past presidential elections I can remember (1976 being the oldest) that entire blocks of voters were so thoroughly condemned for their candidate choice. It is a battle within the party, not against external foes, and it is about class. Or, rather, it is about a fantasy of class and culpability.

It is not a mistake that racism is the charge being thrown at Hillary, despite the utter insanity of the claim, despite Obama admitting in the Nevada debate that, yes, his campaign was deliberately spreading the lie that she and her campaign were engaging in racist attacks. In the liberal imagination, racism is the marker of “white trash”, itself shorthand for the organization of the white world into the superior educated class and the inferior hicks. All southerners are hicks, even the educated ones. All southerners are simply Trent Lott, George Wallace and Strom Thurmond rolled into one. All “uneducated” (i.e., lacking at least a BA or BS from a notable school) white northerners are “Bunkers”. Anyone appealing to such people is a not-so-closeted racist, and their entire agenda is to reinstitute Jim Crow, if not return to slavery.

Why this psychotic and self-defeating projection onto the working class? It is the deep guilt of the liberal upper class that we know, every last miserable one of us, that our privilege is due to centuries of white supremacy and to the informal, unspoken, but pervasive advantage our skin color and behavioral patterns gives us in this society. It is our Moby Dick, the whale we pursue obsessively through political seas, frantic to have material proof that we are innocent of the crimes of our nation.

The Democratic Party was the party of slavery and civil war in the 19th century. It was the party of Jim Crow in the early 20th century. The New Deal set it on the path to renouncing that legacy through the mid-part of the last century, and it was a brutal passage. Instead of reimagining the South and what it could become, the Northeast elite who had taken over the leadership simply renounced it – you will be like us or you can get out. When desegregation came to the Northeast and the Midwest, the contempt for “The South” was transferred easily to the working class ethnic whites who resisted this change. Archie Bunker became an eternal truth rather than a thought exercise, a denunciation of the unchangeable cretin in front of the TV instead of a call to reflect on how we become what we are and how, despite ourselves, we can find our common humanity. Most of all, the determined demonization of working class whites, especially those with Southern connections, allows the upper class elites to turn a blind eye to the way in which they are the biggest beneficiaries of the centuries of racism in the nation. There is a growing group within the liberal elite who wishes to jettison “The South” entirely, leaving the working class immiserated and isolated, rather than face up to the obligation of the party to complete the task before it. That task is to create the conditions under which racism is no longer something that can be exploited for electoral gain or needed as a survival tactic in deteriorating and demeaning socio-economic conditions.

The violent rejection of the Clintons on the Left is a rejection of “The South” and the working class by the Stevensonian elite, who see the success of Bill the “Bubba” as both a threat to their power and a repudiation of their policies and actions since 1968. They want to see themselves as simultaneously co-victims with AAs of white supremacy and also as the moral(istic) saviors of the oppressed, redeeming their part of the white population from the sin of racism. (Read the incomparable Bob Somerby’s write up of this phenomenon in his latest post.) Bill Clinton provided a different vision of how to move the party and nation forward, one that refused demonization, and this shook them to their ineffective foundations. The Clintons unsettle the comfortable arrangement between the northeastern elite and the southern revanchists (the Democrats and the Republicans having exchanged those roles since the New Deal), insisting on the need to materially improve the lives of the bulk of the nation and not sit around waving a moralistic finger at people who like to shoot guns and go to church every Sunday.

The assault on the Clintons has no basis in policy or political philosophy. It is an attack on uppity white trash who dares to succeed in the world without assimilating into the ruling elite, and for the added insult of being adored by the nation precisely for their common connections. The only thing I can compare to the single-minded determination of the liberal elite to destroy the Clintons regardless of the collateral damage to party and nation is George W. Bush’s obsession with talking out Saddam Hussein, though lacking even the level of justification collected for that vendetta.

Reading the increasingly unhinged and incoherent ravings of the elite against Hillary Clinton, the calls for her murder, the fabricated videos “proving” the racism of her campaign and associates, the hysterical screams that she must get out now before she inflicts more damage on the party, and the assertions that anyone who votes for this candidate is nothing but a racist, I am reminded of one of the great descriptions of obsession ever set down:

I, Ishmael, was one of that crew; my shouts had gone up with the rest; my oath had been welded with theirs; and stronger I shouted, and more did I hammer and clinch my oath, because of the dread in my soul. A wild, mystical, sympathetical feeling was in me; Ahab's quenchless feud seemed mine. With greedy ears I learned the history of that murderous monster against whom I and all the others had taken our oaths of violence and revenge. …

Small reason was there to doubt, then, that ever since that almost fatal encounter, Ahab had cherished a wild vindictiveness against the whale, all the more fell for that in his frantic morbidness he at last came to identify with him, not only all his bodily woes, but all his intellectual and spiritual exasperations. The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung. That intangible malignity which has been from the beginning; to whose dominion even the modern Christians ascribe one-half of the worlds; which the ancient Ophites of the east reverenced in their statue devil;- Ahab did not fall down and worship it like them; but deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred white whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it. All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it. …

How it was that they so aboundingly responded to the old man's ire- by what evil magic their souls were possessed, that at times his hate seemed almost theirs; the White Whale as much their insufferable foe as his; how all this came to be- what the White Whale was to them, or how to their unconscious understandings, also, in some dim, unsuspected way, he might have seemed the gliding great demon of the seas of life,- all this to explain, would be to dive deeper than Ishmael can go. The subterranean miner that works in us all, how can one tell whither leads his shaft by the ever shifting, muffled sound of his pick? Who does not feel the irresistible arm drag? What skiff in tow of a seventy-four can stand still? For one, I gave myself up to the abandonment of the time and the place; but while yet all a-rush to encounter the whale, could see naught in that brute but the deadliest ill.

Ch. 41 - Moby Dick

And we all remember how that story ended.

Anglachel

31 comments:

janiscortese said...

...racism is the marker of “white trash”, itself shorthand for the organization of the white world into the superior educated class and the inferior hicks.

The whitest whitest, you mean -- and the ones that are as close to black as white people can be.

Pat Johnson said...

Having read, and reread this post, I think you are right on target. How else to explain the deification of a candidate with such a thin resume and limited qualifications? Basing support on a speech delivered 4 years ago seems to satisfy this hunger for change. Even looking beyond the theme therein lies very little but emphemeral suppositions.

It is the need to expunge this "white guilt" but if you carefully examine the base of his support, the educated white upper income voters, not too many of them would choose to live in low income neighborhoods or send their children to neighborhood schools with a high percentage of minority students. They eat and play in establishments that the average person cannot afford. Perched in their elevated status they do not feel the pinch of gassing up or higher food prices so the need for change is merely an excuse to vote against the one offering the elemental solutions.

Other than your explanation I am baffled by the support and the workings of the DNC. Are we simply looking the other way to salve our basic instincts because if so, then this is not the candidate who will make it happen.

orionATL said...

these points are well taken

and i delight in the invocation of literature in political discussions. it is making a comeback that i find utterly delightfully, intensely appealing.

i would add a different dimension to your view, though, an economic dimension.

i think there has been much too little discussion of how the backers of senator obama might benefit from a weak, an indifferent, or a libertarian president when it comes to the conduct of corporations and the well-being of economic elites in general.

for example, i would love to see the lobbying duties or allegiances of the superdelegates who back obama (and clinton, too).

i would guess that one might find a fair number of energy and health care lobbyists in the obama camp.

money motivates professional politicians like no other force save threat of loss of power.

thanks for a very thoughtful and enjoyable essay.

lori said...

It certainly brings to mind Broder's comment that Bill Clinton trashed the place and it wasn't his to trash. I could never figure out what Broder meant by that although finding the quote in context is difficult at this point.

Noonan says it's about Lewinsky, but we all know that presidents from Harding to JFK to Bush Sr and spouses such as Nancy Reagan and Eleanor Roosevelt fooled around in the White House.

You're winning me over on this derangement, I think you're right. That's probably why you're not making the big bucks blogging. :)

Cathy said...

Promise me -- well really us -- that you are collecting your essays together for a book. Each one of them has peeled back, like an onion, this election's intrigues.

As America gets more diverse - at least in the major states - it's helpful to keep these "race" lessons alive. Many newer immigrants don't share the history of only a white/black split. Longtime residents don't recall how that it was a brutal economic calculation to turn racist to move ahead rather than inherent hatreds (e.g. blacks/Irish unified in 19th century until my peeps saw the way to move up).

Nor will I ever forget learning that the greatest backlash in history was directed at black/white coalitions. That goes from slave insurrections pre-Civil War to sharecropping organizing in the 1930s to the Civil Rights movements in the 1960s. It occurred because each challenged the current power structre.

Unfortunately, too many people saw and see the backlash as a reason to fetishize racism. Faulkner wisely saw that poor whites embrace racism as a badge of honor that gave them a few more crumbs. Now you wisely pointed out upper class whites reject racism as the proverbial "blood on the door" allowing them to continue giving the working class so few crumbs.

The Clintons - like most of the new South - had to confront race in a way the North never did. Those passages rarely took up here given white flight and inherent distances from neighborhood. However, recent immigration influxes and greater affluence among larger segments of African American community has begun to end that separation. (At least among the poor and working class folks.)

Now the time has come to call them on the classism. Of course when it's a broad movement it gets denigrated as populism (i.e. racists hicks caught up in their religion). When it's a limited movement its gets elevated to a fiery attack on the state (i.e. rich kids in colleges serving as martyrs for working class they don't even really like but who "need leadership").

riverdaughter said...

Let me get this straight: I am a Clinton supporter with a degree (but not a PhD) in chemistry. i have taken graduate classes at Princeton. I am a researcher using a computational technique that goes over the heads of most chemists that I know. i study the biology of life on an atom by atom basis. And I come from a family that were from working class roots but were smart and enlightened when it comes to race. But because I support Clinton, (and really, given my career background, who else would I pick?) I'm a Bunker?! I'm "White Trash"? Who the fuck is making up these rules anyway?

Anglachel said...

RD,

At some level, yes, you (and me and almost everyone else posting here regardless of ethnic and socio-economic profile) are "White Trash", at least in the bizarre psyches of those afflicted by CDS, which itself is a symptom of a deeper philosophical and psychological problem on the Left.

The utter disconnect between the claims and observable reality is what exposes the heretofore subterranean (but fully conscious) assumptions of a lot of Democrats. I've become increasingly aware of it since the Iraq invasion and the rise of blogs. Not pretty and politically counter-productive.

Anglachel

Chinaberry Turtle said...

The Democratic elites are not particularly concerned about the issue of marital fidelity. Their crucification of Bill Clinton for his failures in this regard is a false protestation. Hell, the liberal elites worship JFK, probably the most abominable wife-cheater that ever lived. And they all love the current Senator Kennedy, another philanderer who killed a young woman to boot. So I have no illusions about the liberal elites' sudden streak of moralism when they attack Bill Clinton's failures as a husband and indiscretions in the Whitehouse. And I think it's entirely appropriate to expose these false attacks.

They beat Bill Clinton mercilessly and Anglachel is right to point out the TRUE underpinnings of their rage. They hate Bill Clinton's Bubba-ness. They don't actually give a damn about his indiscretions or his decades of cheating on Hillary. I am glad that Anglachel is pointing this out.

However, I just hope that those who support Hillary don't fall into the inverse sin. Whereas liberal elites falsely hold up the torch of marital fidelity to attack Bill Clinton, a torch they really don't give a shit about, it sometimes seems like Hillary supporters do the opposite. In order to defend Bill Clinton against these false attacks, some Hillary supporters seem to take a position that marital fidelity doesn't really matter all that much. Bill Clinton is not a bad guy because, you know, it's really not that big of a deal for a man to cheat on his wife. And besides, who cares what the President does to his wife?

I'm not gonna say any more, b/c I've gotten trouble in the past on this. But I just hope that we can defend Bill Clinton (as Anglachel has appropriately done in this post) without simultaneously ourselves dismissing the very real failings Bill Clinton has exhibited. I think it's OK to say both of the following: (1) the liberal elites are false when they pretend to be upset with Bill's moral failures; and (2) Bill Clinton is *not* a person I would want my son to emulate as he grows into a man.

Bill Clinton is a deeply flawed man who is attacked by the liberal elites NOT because of his flaws, but for what is actually good about the man: his truly empathetic connection w/ working class folk. This makes it very difficult to defend Bill Clinton against these false attacks while simultaneously holding him accountable for his failures. It would be a shame if, in defending Bill, his failings are glorified as something all men should aspire to.

I know Anglachel has made no such glorification in her post and was very careful to identify the *TRUE* source of the liberal elite hatred toward Bill Clinton. I just hope the rest of us can be equally careful in not letting our defense of Bill defend more than it should.

gendergappers said...

Isn't it just another chapter of The White Man's burden? Maybe there is some guilt driving things but I believe the snob factor has a lot to do with it at least among the obamacrats I know.

carissa said...

Another brilliant post. I second Cathy's plea!

sister of ye said...

I don't think Bill Clinton's infidelity needs to be addressed to either condemn or excuse. It's between him and his wife, and if Hillary has been satisfied and has chosen to continue her marriage with him, it's no one else's business.

Not unless we drag every candidate's sex life into public scrutiny, such as with the recent reminices of Cindy McCain about John, thinking it a cute anecdote that she thought him creepy at first, but never mentioning that he was also very much married when he began pursuing her.

Gingrich dumps multiple wives, one on a hospital bed, Kennedy divorced and remarried, but it's the couple that stays together that is the scandal. You go figure.

Sarana said...

Excellent analysis. And very sad to me.

This new youth movement that has coalesced around Obama is a movement defined by radical skepticism, value relativism, and an historical nihilism. Following Weber, Obama's young followers are once again enchanted as a result of disenchantment. As is often the case with youth, leadership appears as a deeply nihilistic enterprise.

Obama's youth movement embrace their defective hero not in spite of his failings, but because of them. This ambiguity creates a vast space in which Obama can flounder and fail but in contrast to the historically known Clintons, his unfinished abilities, his apparent incompetency and his lack of solidified policies are seen as potential. On the other hand, many older followers of Obama embrace what they perceive to be Obama's intentions, that is, his discourse of "hope" and "change." His campaign's platitude "we are what we've been looking for" speaks to the aging "me" generation, who have believed that about themselves for several decades.

Anglachel said...

Turtle,

On a personal level, I share much of your disgust with Bill's infidelity. Marriage vows are something I do hold sacred, and if a person doesn't intend to honor them, then don't make them. It made me think a great deal less of him at the time.

The reason I don't include a discussion of them when talking about him or Hillary in their public roles is twofold.

First and most important, that is a matter between those two individuals. It is none of my effing beeswax how they have resolved their difficulties. What I can observe leads me to believe that their marriage is stronger now than ever, and for that I am glad for them both and for all the others who love them and were hurt by Bill's acts.

Second, the private conduct of individuals, unless law breaking is involved, should not be made into a public issue. The public realm is for the public's business, and we need to shove back on the desire to turn it into a celebrity gossip circle.

At some point I will write about the hypocricy of the Family Values crowd. The FLDS story and a run in I had with someone over gay marriage are giving me things to chew on.

Anglachel

gob said...

despite Obama admitting in the Nevada debate that, yes, his campaign was deliberately spreading the lie that she and her campaign were engaging in racist attacks

I would really like to have a link to some documentation of this, as I've been trying to persuade my parents that the Obama campaign has indeed played the race card. Can anyone supply it?

CMike said...

Lori writes:
*********************
It certainly brings to mind Broder's comment that Bill Clinton trashed the place and it wasn't his to trash. I could never figure out what Broder meant by that although finding the quote in context is difficult at this point.
*********************

I think the context of the quote is pretty well established. Sally Quinn is the second wife of her trophy husband Ben Bradlee. They tied the knot in 1978 after Bradllee, then a 56 year-old long time big shot at The Washington Post, divorced his first wife and married the 37 year-old Quinn, his long time wrestling nemesis. Who could have predicted it would have come this after her job interview with Bradlee in 1972?
*********************
The daughter of a retired Army general, Quinn's peripatetic "Army-brat" life caused her to attend 22 schools before she graduated from Smith College in 1963. She intended to be "a famous movie star" but gave it up after only six weeks of trying to be an actress in New York. Over the next few years, she worked as a go-go girl, a public relations agent for a Coney Island animal husbandry exhibit, and social secretary to the Algerian Ambassador in Washington. The story of her subsequent hiring by the Washington Post may contain a moral for those who would make too much of her present lack of background in TV.

"Can you show me something you've written?" asked Managing Editor Benjamin Bradlee. "I've never written anything," admitted Quinn. Pause. "Well," said Bradlee, "nobody's perfect."

*********************

Fast forward twenty years after the wedding and, on the eve of the 1998 mid-term election, Quinn's article, "In Washington, That Let Down Feeling," appears. Therein Quinn sets out to explain why the Lewinsky matter was so offensive to the Washington elite:
*********************
[T]his disconnect between the Washington Establishment and the rest of the country is evident on TV and radio talk shows and in interviews and conversations with more than 100 Washingtonians for this article. The din about the scandal has subsided in the news as politicians and journalists fan out across the country before tomorrow's elections. But in Washington, interest remains high. The reasons are varied, and they intertwine...
*********************

Here's my favorite quote from the article (Chinaberry, this one's for you):
*********************
Muffie Cabot, who as Muffie Brandon served as social secretary to President and Nancy Reagan, regards the scene with despair. "This is a demoralized little village," she says. "People have come from all over the country to serve a higher calling and look what happened. They're so disillusioned. The emperor has no clothes. Watergate was pretty scary, but it wasn't quite as sordid as this."
*********************

Quite the shrinking violet that Muffie. Anyway, under the heading 1.This is their home, Quinn seeks insight from fellow Washington Post journalist David Broder:
*********************
"He [Clinton] came in here and he trashed the place," says Washington Post columnist David Broder, "and it's not his place."
*********************

Under the heading 2. The lying offends them, we hear from the same journalist:
**********************
"The judgment is harsher in Washington," says The Post's Broder. "We don't like being lied to."
***********************

This is the same David Broder who would write in February, 2007:
***********************
It may seem perverse to suggest that, at the very moment the House of Representatives is repudiating his policy in Iraq, President Bush is poised for a political comeback. But don't be astonished if that is the case...

[H]e is demonstrating political smarts that even his critics have to acknowledge...

In other respects, too, Bush has been impressive in recent days.

He has been far more accessible -- and responsive -- to the media and public, holding any number of one-on-one interviews, both on and off the record, leading up to Wednesday's televised news conference. And he has been more candid in his responses than in the past...

***********************

These elites don't need opposition research from Sen. Obama to make their case. They've been at this business a lot longer than he has. They have their own agenda. In fact, Obama may be in their sights pretty soon.

janiscortese said...

I remain firmly convinced that the ONLY reason that so many "disaffecteds" have rallied around Obama is that he is running against a woman. Young guys in their twenties are legendary for the viciousness of their misogyny, sorry but it's true. They love Obama because he is beating the bitch. It has NOTHING AT ALL to do with his positions on anything.

I can't TELL you how many young white guy engineers in their 20s at work are all ra-ra about Obama. These same guys were going "nuke `em, yeah boo-yah" when the Iraq war started and have made fun of Al Gore's climate advocacy. They don't give a Shit in Sheol about the war, global warming, race rights, anything like that. They couldn't give a shit for Obama's supposed positions on any issues.

He's beating the bitch. That's ALL they care about.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

CMike, I agree. All these people like Broder and Quinn are just awful for hating on Bill for "wrecking the place." Even before I found Anglachel and started to understand this whole Northern vs. Southern, elite vs. bubba divide in the Democratic party, their complaints against Bill always rang false to me. I never joined in on that crap because I knew there was something else going on, but didn't have Anglachel's political insight to figure it out.

It's just very hard for some family values (not the hateful anti-gay Republican version) Democrats to navigate this whole thing. But I don't think that stops any honest person from recognizing the truth in everything that Anglachel posted.

Sherry said...

Isn't it just another chapter of The White Man's burden?

Wow! gendergapper. I think you put your finger on it.

Thanks, Anglachel, for the hat tip to Melville. Moby Dick is my favorite American novel. And you are very astute in your analysis.

I think with HRC's candidate, we've go a perfect storm of classism and sexism.

Aeryl said...

Turtle:

I can respect your feelings about Bill Clinton's actions.

But this is the thought that comes to my mind, when I think about this. His actions were inconsiderate towards Hillary. I think, he has gotten so used to how strong his wife is, that it never occurred to him, that he was adding to her burden.

And the fact, that while he didn't care enough about his own political future to keep his piece in his pants, he does care enough for hers, since her political standing is now determinate on the voters, to not do it again.

SezU said...

As much as I enjoy - politically and intellectually - every post I've ever read of yours, I disagree with today's central premise --that CDS is related to the "deep guilt of the liberal upper class" for reaping the privileges of white supremacy. I don't believe the groups that constitute the coalition of Hillary-haters feel guilty at all. Quite the contrary -- they feel smug in their righteous certainty that their world view is the one and only truth, in a way not unlike how the far right holds its doctrinaire positions. I think the CDS coalition is not entirely monolithic, but contains several groups, their differences blurred by their common loathing, and by their willingness to share each others oppo and tactics, no matter how base. For each of them the end justifies the means.
First we have the old guard democrats, exemplified by Kerry and Kennedy. Their hate is primarily related to their frustration at being unable to mask their elite world view (gendergapper's snob factor) sufficiently enough to convince the bubbas and bunkers, and infuriated that Bill so easily managed this balance, while also blaming him for the country's continuous movement to the right. These leaders' political constituent Obama supporters, well-off, well-educated, are not particularly interested or engaged in the details of the campaign. Their professional lives are too demanding; they take pride in watching little tv; they sneer at flagpin controversies; and they've seen plenty, thank you, to have decided that they identify with (their projection of) Obama. They swallowed the racebait charge whole in one gulp because it gave them the justification to indulge in CDS. To the extent that him being black matters to them, it is not about guilt so much as that it provides a badge of liberal rightness to justify their dumping the woman, a badge that feminism utterly fails to provide. The overlapping group of DNC stormtroopers, Dean, Pelosi and Reid et al, have the added juice of understanding that if you're going to wound the queen, you better kill her. Especially after the coup they've been transparently and incompetently mounting, they believe their lives will be hell under Madame President. The there's the so-called youth vote. Sarana's and janiscortese's posts taken together exactly nail this group. I cannot begin to describe my dismay at the vile unabashed misogyny of the bloggerboyz of the left. A fourth group constitutes actual republican hillary haters. They masquerade as democrats on line, they troll the blogs, they register as democrats-for-a-day, and they appear on talk shows as supposedly neutral commentators. They are ecstatic to be able to hide in plain sight, since their withered old right wing talking points have been adopted wholesale by the left, and, at least in their CDS, they are indistinguishable from liberals.
All of which is to say that the recipe for Hillary hate is a rich brew, in which white guilt is but a minor ingredient. The basic stock is made up of class snobbery, self-important uninformed idealism, misogyny -- deep and ugly and unabashed, displaced anger at the working class for not appreciating the high-minded condescending concern for its welfare, jealousy andinternecine warfare. Add $200 million dollars and stir well. Serve chilled.

Shainzona said...

Read Maureen Dowd today (if you can stomach it!) and I think you'll see all of the elitist bullshit you'll ever want to read related to Obama. And expressed in the most obnoxious terms!

What a disgusting piece...I love hearing how BO, poor baby, is finding himself forced to stoop to such low levels that he actually had his picture taken with motorcycle cops in Dallas.

Oh the horror of what he is being put through when he, himself, is the product of single mother on food stamps and has been so successful in erasing that degrading past.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/opinion/04dowd.html?th&emc=th

Horselover Fat7 said...

MoDo is a weathervane to the conventional thinking of The Village. Worth reading a a reliable guide to what the Villagers are thinking.

orionATL said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
orionATL said...

at least with that group of anti-clinton propagandists which bob somerby calls "big journos", there is more than just class at work. there is also professional "animosity" and professional pressuring of subjects for access.

the new york time's frank rich made that point clear with the comment:

"Since Mr. McCain doesn't kick reporters like dogs, as the Clintons do, he will no doubt continue to enjoy an advantage, however unfair, with the press pack on the Straight Talk Express. "

this quote (nytimes, jan 27,2008 , "...billiary") appeared in a sunday column by rich whose core seemed to be the "fact" that that the clinton's were hiding information about the clinton library from the public, i.e., the nytimes.

but beneath the smoothly polished exterior of rich's plausible-sounding argument lay it's real motivation, rich's intense anger at the clinton's for not being accommodating to the times' reporters, an intense anger that was entirely masked save for that one small phrase.

(aside: i wonder why the clintons would be so uncooperative?)

in a recent post at the daily howler (may 1, "apex to zebulon....) bob somerby repeated one of his favorite aphorisms, and in doing so summed up the very serious problems which class (and it's economic underpinnings) in big-time journalism presents for this republic:

"Human nature being what it is, you can’t run a middle-class democracy with a multimillionaire press corps."

gendergappers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gendergappers said...

If Dowd really looked at BO and wrote for fact instead of colorful fiction, she'd see what the rest of us see. He's a younger, taller, less honest and quieter Rev. Wright who lets it all out with an attitude of black hatred toward whites. BO's just bubbles beneath the surface of his monstrous conceit.

BTW FOX's Hannity had a great hour last night on Rev Wright's life and times.

Since BO was scared to debate HRC, Georgie S. took her on. Egad but she is remarkable. BO was on with Russert at the same time but I get too bored with his hesitant hesitations where one can almost hear him thinking, "how would Hillary answer this?"

Thomas B said...

I wonder how much can be traced back to the collapse of the Soviet Union. For all its faults the Marxist critique at least exposed largely bourgeois college students to the situation of working people. Once that critique was discredited, even in academia, there really wasn't an intellectual framework for teaching students about class division. Many in the current generation of blogger and media pundits are from the post-Soviet college generation.

janiscortese said...

Intensely interesting commentary from James Carville

I like that loopy bastard.

marirebel said...

Yes, I agree that part of the vitriol directed at the Clinton's has roots in the projection by White elites of racism and its benefits on to working class folks. The effects of this projection are twofold: The White elites do not have to account for their class position due to White Supremacy, and elites do not have to examine their continuing racism. I also see misogyny at play in the vitriolic attacks on Clinton and her supporters, replete with threats to rape, sodomize and exert “power over” by Obama supporters. Isn’t the harpy call to have Clinton, a candidate who is virtually tied for the Democratic Presidential nomination, drop out of the race a full-throttle example of a masculinist attempt to exert “power over” as opposed to “power with”? I think another the reason for the vitriolic attacks on Clinton and her supporters is that White elite Obama supporters do not want to share their wealth with the working class in any way. The extent to which the working class supporters of Clinton are portrayed as ugly racists and hicks, and therefore undeserving, is the extent to which our educational system, health care system and trade agreements will not change. And remember, the working class is composed of many ethnicities and many races.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

This is exactly why I never bring up my concerns with the unfriendlies. Somehow, what Bill did in the Whitehouse is now the fault of Hillary??!!!

Such moralizing is revoltingly hypocritical coming from Michelle Obama, who worships the Kennedy clan. I tell you, if there was EVER an issue that everyone talks about as sacred, but almost nobody in politics actually gives a shit about - it's family values.

Roxie Smith Lindemann said...

Love this post, as I do all your stuff, and appreciate the link to my humble blog, though I'm hoping you're not citing my mom's memory of growing up in Kokomo, IN in the 1970s as an example of liberal contempt for the working class and an assumption that "white trash" = racism. The piece is meant to reflect on the long sordid history of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, and Kokomo in particular, personal memories of which came flooding back to my mom when she saw pictures of Obama campaigning there last week. Just wanted to touch base on that -- Roxie's World has been appalled by the disrespect shown for "bitter" lunch-bucket Dems by the Obama campaign and party elites.