Monday, April 14, 2008

"Bitter" Comment by Obama Won't Go Away

Real Clear Politics has an eloquent summary of just what's wrong with the Democrat world view implied by Obama's revealing remarks in a San Francisco closed fund-raiser.

About two years ago, Jeffrey Goldberg of the New Yorker wrote a long article about Democrats in the Middle West full of insightful realities, including the disturbing fact that 35% of the country considers itself "conservative" versus 20% of the electorate who consider themselves "liberal." Loosely defined, subsequent polls have again & again repeated that basic right/left split, though the definition of "conservative" is constantly sliding slowly to the left. Goldberg's interesting piece is strongly echoed by the perceptive Real Politics link above. Mr. Kuhn elaborates:
...many liberals misperceive values politics. They so often see cultural stances for their worst manifestations while ignoring their best. Guns become tools for murder rather than occasions for fathers and sons to hunt. Abortion is always about limiting a woman's autonomy rather than differing views on life. Concerns over illegal immigration are based in xenophobia rather than, at least sometimes, a valid desire to expect future immigrants to abide by the same rules as those immigrants from the century before.

Read on......

Over the last two weeks I've been reading several books about the American Revolution and its Constitutional aftermath. What I have gleaned the most from Almost a Miracle, vy John Ferling,Washington's Secret War by Thomas Fleming, and Crossing the Delaware by David Hackett Fischer as well as Garry Wills book on Henry Adams' America was this: among the numerous difficulties the upstart rebels faced in the revolutionary & constitutional conflicts remained first, foremost, and paramount the obstacle of surmounting and sometimes rejecting deeply-ingrained European traditions and mindsets. Nowadays, fast-forwarding two hundred-plus years, that European mindset/paradigm would be the Marxist presumption of economic determinism. As Kuhn says:
Obama's perspective is the prevailing viewpoint in Democratic circles. And this is what's the matter with a party that has accepted "What's the Matter with Kansas" as gospel.

No book has more influenced Democratic thought in recent years. The premise is that because Democrats stopped representing working and middle class voters' economic concerns, "dropping the class language that once distinguished them sharply from Republicans they have left themselves vulnerable to wedge issues."

Obama has merely reiterated the lesson Democrats have taken from Republicans victories in seven of the last ten presidential elections. The crux of the argument is that American liberals should become more like European liberals in order to win back America. The book was a case for Democrats to convince voters to think more in terms of cash than culture. Frank argued Democrats should emulate the economic populism that failed to win any of William Jennings Bryan's three bids for the presidency.

This presumption of economic determinism remains the Democrats' chief preoccupation which might again lead to its downfall, as Kuhn goes on to say:
What is always so offensive to regular Americans is the presumption that if she is offered better tax policies she won't care any longer about abortion. And the viewpoint holds from one issue to the next: offer rural white men rhetoric that reminds them that they are working class and he'll accept that the Second Amendment only referred to militias.

Then there is the exhibited ignorance. Families who struggle financially care more about moral values because they are more likely to experience the breakdown of the family. In other words, cultural issues are not a substitute for economic concerns, as Obama argues, but inseparable from folks economic struggle.

All of this is exactly the sort of mistake Democrats have been making for decades. How many times can some leading liberals live up to the culturally elitist charge without considering that perhaps there is some electricity behind the charge?

The colonial and revolutionary eras had a sort of American exceptionalism that has been derided and minimized by academic and multiculti types who prefer the Canadian model of standardized mediocrity. America has been a Faustian country rather than an Apollonian aesthetic experience as the Europeans prefer since their two disastrous World Wars last century convinced them that they should ease back on the throttle. The Democrats are Euro-wannabes whose Atlanticism comes across as elitism, because at heart these Dems believe they are better educated and somehow more worthy than mere wage-slaves who raise families and go to church and enjoy hunting & fishing & other outdoor pastimes.

It all stems from Marx's famous remark about "the idiocy of rural life." Dem elitists have been immersed in Marxist claptrap for so long that they, and Obama is a perfect example, don't even realize that they have been indoctrinated through their "objective" higher educations. Their assumption of the inevitability of the triumph of their ideas is another Marxist trope like weeds in a garden. As a nineteenth century populist once proclaimed, "if farmers didn't raise crops, weeds would grow in a thousand American towns & cities." Ditto for oil & other subsoil riches converted to commodities.

But America was and remains an exceptional country. America is a country that silly foreigners deride as building a "Berlin Wall" to keep foreigners out! These witless ideologues forget that the original Berlin Wall kept a slave population from emigrating, while America's border fence keeps foreigners from immigrating.

That's how far off the Euro-wannabes and other foreign critics are from America's true qualities: 180 degrees! Obama is another in a long line of Democrats who Kuhn say neglect what he calls The Great Truth:
Democrats lost their majority because they lost touch with that "silent majority." Richard Nixon may have been paranoid but paranoids are not always dumb. Some of this "silent majority's" concerns were not sexist, or racist, but wholly real and as Obama himself has said, based in authentic distress.

"So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time," Obama said in his race speech.

Sadly, it appears that Obama may understand this truth intellectually, but he is far from internalizing its implications.

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