Sunday, October 26, 2008

Your Liberal Elite Report

I need to resist the impulse to start feeling bad for the McCain campaign. Because much as I'd like to pity him as the wheels come off and staffers are feuding in the press and Palin is "going rogue" (lord knows what that could mean for a woman who shoots wolves from a helicopter) and the last-minute pleas become increasingly desperate, the fact remains that he could still win. We keep being told how unlikely it is with the polls being where they're at now, but I'll believe it when I see it. Which means I can still get pissed when the McCain camp deals in their usual bullshit. This is from last week, but it's been bugging me for days:

McCain and Pailin expound upon the "elitist" areas of the country. You know, the areas that aren't so "pro-America."
During an NBC interview, his running mate, Sarah Palin, was asked to define the "elitists" the GOP ticket scorns, and said, "Anyone who thinks that they're better than someone else."

McCain chimed in: "I know where a lot of 'em live ... in our nation's capital and New York City."
Later, in the New York Daily News:
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) said the Arizona senator wasn't talking about "real New Yorkers."

"He's talking about Park Ave. and the upper West Side, which is inhabited by the liberal socialites and the media types who, yeah, are certainly elitists," King said.
I love how McCain keeps narrowing down the areas where this vast anti-American conspiracy is happening. You have to wonder how under-seige these pro-America small towns are when the liberal elites keep getting whittled down to, like, one zip code in Manhattan. Wonder what kind of weird-ass liberal crap goes on there?
As it happens, the U.S. zip code that's given the most to the McCain campaign - $909,128 - is Manhattan's 10021, which includes a swath of Park Ave.

Look, I realize that these "elitism" charges, and the anti-education/anti-intellectualism they represent, are my #1 trigger in politics. But look at what Palin is saying. She hates elitists because they think they're better than other people. What better way to combat that than to travel the country and tell small towners that they're better than anyone who lives within five hundred miles of an ocean? No wonder she doesn't consider abortion clinic bombers terrorists. They're just a more pro-America, and thus better, brand of terrorist.

If Obama can win this thing, it will represent the first outright rejection of the politics of demonization, divisiveness, and scapegoating in a long, long time. It's almost too much to hope for.

Ah, but what of the politics of fear? They came back with a vengeance last week with McCain jumping all over Joe Biden's so-called "gaffe," when he said that a President Obama would be tested by foreign enemies within his first year in office.

Which, let's set aside the fact that they're conveniently lopping off Biden's follow-up that they'll find Obama has a "spine of steel." Of course Biden said that, and of course McCain is ignoring it. But more importantly: what part of what Biden is saying is in any way untrue? Obama certainly will be tested in his first year. And if the Republicans are able to steal win this election for McCain, you better believe he'll be tested too. The first WTC bombing came within a year of Clinton taking office, and 9/11 came within a year of Bush taking office. Something else is going to happen in 2009, or at least will be attempted, no matter who wins this election. The idea that it "doesn't have to happen" if McCain wins is a pipe dream at best, an outright lie at worst. The guy I'm casting my vote for is the guy who I want responding to such a threat, and frankly I'm glad to hear that such a scenario is so prominently on Biden's mind.


Linda said...

That is very, very well said, Joe. I share your feeling that I will believe it when I see it, and therefore, I refuse to indulge even a moment of sympathy.

Moreover, anyone who believes that people who live on the Upper West Side are not actually from New York is a freaking moron. It may be a wealthier area, but the Upper West Side runs along Central Park, and walking down Central Park West on a Saturday in summer, you will find the sidewalks packed with parents pushing kids in strollers, people jogging, folks buying hot dogs and lemonades, guys with iPods, girls with Orla bags, and plenty of other things that are just as much a part of New York as cops and firefighters.

I cannot tell you how tired I am of being told that I literally do not count, that I am not real, that I am not American, or I am not pro-American, or I am not "good people" and don't have "traditional values" and deserve to literally be excluded from the entire conversation because I'm not an Ohio plumber.

Joe The Plumber is no more American than I am -- I live in America, I vote, I pay my taxes (making me arguably more American than he is), and I have lived in six different states since I was 18. I love road tripping across Minnesota and Wisconsin, I love New York City to the point where I even miss Williamsburg fuckwits trying to dress like Beck, I love the quaint DC metro and the way throngs of people like to gather on the National Mall. I loved the annoying bike riders in Portland, I loved the obnoxious sports fans in Philadelphia.

I love how "real America" not on the coasts never includes Minnesota, because it tends to elect Democrats. If you want hokey small-town goodheartedness, you can do no better than northern Minnesota, but they elect pro-union Democrats up there as a result of the mining industry, so they apparently don't count.

I'll stop now, but GOD am I sick of hearing this line of crap. I am an American, and if you don't think so, stop taking my tax money.

golexis said...

Amen, Linda and Joe. This real/fake America debate is so completely class and race based and the fact that NO ONE will call the McCain campaign on it kills me.

So real America are working people in small towns, but not working people in big cities? That's very coded language for middle class white people versus middle class people of color. I live in a working class black neighborhood in Brooklyn, decidedly NOT big city elites and pretty culturally similar to the small-town values ascribed to working class white people.

Of course, they can't say the urban people of color, low-income and immigrant communities of the nation are what they actually mean by fake Americans (along with Hollywood, gays, and liberals in general) because that's too obviously racist. But when you single out metropolitan areas as the center of being un-American, that's certainly what it implies. God knows if New York and DC were only Wall Street suits, lawyers, and rich people the Republicans would not be saying this "elitist" bull-shit. When the campaign says elitist, they mean "Intellectual and culturally diverse" as opposed to small-town values which means "culturally homogenous philistines." Of course the cultural homogeneity is coded as Americans which shouldn't be so divisive, but the campaign clearly wants it to mean "Americans of European descent and Judeo-Christian religious beliefs, in the working and middle class."

It's amazing that their strategy is doing exactly the opposite of what has been so successful for Obama, which is the idea that all Americans can unite for the greater good of the country (isn't that a democratic ideal?) because, duh, we're ALL Americans. Really. We actually exist and have histories, and cultures, and ideas.

Shut UP McCain campaign.

harlemjd said...

As a recent Daily Show guest said (in response to McCain and Palin running down NYC), "We're American enough for Al Qaida"

jessica said...

I echo all the appreciation for your thoughts, Joe. As with most instances, you have summarized my thoughts almost exactly. Linda too, for that matter, but then she's just generally awesome.

I'm walking on eggshells the next 8 days, hoping those poll numbers hold up, that Obama's lead strengthens, crossing my fingers that things will finally take a turn for the better. And I grew up in "real" NY, in a small Catholic immigrant city. And I live in Ohio.

Flu-Bird said...

Liberal eletists can be the most annoying persons around i mean they think their so darn privlaged becuase of the wealth and influence SCREW ALL THESE LIBERAL SNOTHEADS