Bitter? Why Should Americans Be Bitter?
Barack Obama has been attacked because he said something poorly that he’s said better before and has said better since. And his comments encouraged his two opponents to make almost identical attacks on him, although each for different reasons.
Senator Clinton hopes to portray Obama as condescending towards rural voters who care about guns and God, but I suspect Republicans are far more concerned about what Obama could do if he pursued the notion that the Republicans have conned Americans into voting against their interests, and then trashed the country. Anyone with Obama’s political skills to educate voters on how this happened could also convince them they don’t have to accept being the victims another four years. Labeling Obama "elitist" and "condescending" is thus essential, and if Republicans can get Clinton to do that for them, all the better.
A complicit media is also doing it’s part to defuse the outrage. As Digby notes, the media mostly ignored the disclosure that the President and his senior officials sat in the White House and orchestrated the torture of other humans. It’s old news that we’ve killed over 4000 soldiers and wounded 30,000 more (we ignore the Iraqi losses) in an unnecessary but unending war or that the President used bipartisan fear mongering to trash the Constitution while undermining our liberties and the rule of law.
John McCain can use the distraction. We may be subject to dangerous products, or collapsing infrastructure or be stranded at airports, but McCain would not have us connect this to the fact that his conservative party has so destroyed government of/by/for the people that fully 80 percent of Americans think we’ve driven into a ditch and can’t get out. He won’t be reminding Americans that his party increased poverty, caused a serious recession, left millions uninsured, eliminated millions of jobs, stifled the middle class and grotesquely enriched the rich. Instead, those he panders to kept the faithful distracted about attacks on Christmas or gun shows or immigrants, while his party plundered the country.
McCain says it’s okay that Americans are "frustrated," because, my friends, he shares your frustration. But there’s no cause for anyone to become bitter, or resentful, or heaven forbid, so goddamned mad they’re not going to take it any more.
Things could get out of hand if someone really smart actually tried to explain and tap into that anger, so it’s important to recognize when serious people make an effort to maintain calm. The Politico’s John Harris and Jim Vandehei, for example, point out in "What Clinton wishes she could say," the remarkable restraint shown by the Clinton campaign in not publically arguing how truly dangerous Barack Obama would be as the Democratic nominee.
According to these serious politicos, the Clinton folks realize that those mean Republicans and their right wing flacks can’t wait to bash Obama for being elitist, out of touch, anti-religious and even unpatriotic, not to mention someone who drinks orange juice. So it’s imperative that Democratic voters and super delegates realize these vulnerabilities before they commit the Party to inevitable defeat in November.
Being wise and experienced, the Clinton folks know the way to get that message out is to tell the public that Obama is elitist, out of touch, anti-religious and un-patriotic. But according to John/Jim, the Clintons and their surrogates are pulling their punches, only subtly reminding us what happened to previous Democratic candidates:
Both [Gore and Kerry) lost control of their public images to the right-wing freak show — that network of operatives and commentators working mostly outside of the mainstream media — and ultimately lost their elections as many voters came to see them as elitist, out-of-touch, phony, and even unpatriotic. . . .
The frustration emanating from the Clintonites comes from being unable to say in public what they think in private.
It’s a shame the Clintons are reduced to telling such important truths in private to Harris and Vandehei . . . and to voters in Indiana and Pennsylvania, . . and somehow it just came up on CNN, NBC (wasn’t having McCain/Clinton surrogates Matalin/Carville on MTP to attack Obama a clever metaphor?), and ABC’s This Week (who can beat George Will explaining "condescending" and "out of touch" with ordinary Americans?). It’s a relief we won’t need to hear this from the right wing freak show.
Update: Speaking of right wing freak show, I’m grateful to the NYT’s Bill Kristol for revealing that Obama is also a Marxist. Gosh. I thought he was an Islamofascist.
Photo by hanneoria: Grant Wood’s American Gothic, 1930, Institute of Art, Chicago