Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How did Barack get so far out of touch?

This whole "bitter" thing has suddenly taken on a life of its own. You can't blame Barack's opponents for milking it for everything it is worth, but the amazing thing is that Barack himself just won't let it die off. What would have been a minor black eye is now swollen beyond belief because Barack himself keeps rubbing it rather than simple letting it be. Saying people are bitter or angry was not the point or the problem. It was his misguided attempt to make a negative characterization of people's interest in guns and religion that caused the initial harm. Disowning the choice of words was the easy part, but he insisted on not disowning the basic underlying sentiment about a connection to guns and religion. Maybe he actually believes in that connection, in which case he really is out of touch... not necessarily with the core beliefs of The Progressives, but certainly out of touch with how a lot of people see their own values. Yes, we can give him credit for sticking to his core belief even if he wants to change his wording, but it is that core belief that is the sticking point. And he knows it, and that is why he keeps coming back and trying really hard to try to divert discussion to peripheral topics, in somewhat the same manner as he took the Rev. Wright "flap" and turned it into a critique of race relations in America. That was a truly masterful diversion. He isn't beging as successful this time.

In truth, virtually all politicians are hard-core elitists and they know it and everybody else knows it. The problem for Barack is that he is trying to pass himself off as not being an elitist. That is why he is forcing himself to try so hard to fight the "elitist" label. It is almost amusing to see how his own verbal contortions are actually making it very easy for Hillary and McCain to pass themselves off as "one of the guys/girls" and distance themselves from their own elitist backgrounds. He is simply handing them this opportunity on a silver platter. And he is offering them seconds and even thirds to boot!

But he basically has no choice. Not so much in the sense that a politician has to fight off an "attack", but because this particular attack cuts so deeply at the essence of his core political being that it is virtually a stake through his political heart.

He is stuck. Reality tells him that he has to struggle, but the reality is that his struggles are only making his situation worse by drawing additional attention to it and giving his opponents yet another opportunity to yell "Elitist!" That word is to him and the whole Progrssive Movement what the sun is to a vampire.

The situation has gotten so out of control that even several days later, just this afternoon, his campaign manager sent out an email enititled "Who's out of touch?" Reading the email only convinces me that Barack, his campaign, his supporters, and the whole Progressive Movement is "out of touch." Sure, they have managed to con[vince] a large number of "real people" to vote for Barack, but that fact is simply a diversion from the allegation that Barack, et al are at their core "elitists" no matter how much they protest the label. They try to bill themselves as "grassroots", but they are are just as much a political machine as any other political group.

To read the campign email, you would think that they must be reading a different account that the quotes from Barack's own lips:

A few days ago, Barack spoke about the frustrations that working people in this country are feeling and said what we all know is true: that many people are bitter and angry because they believe their government isn't listening to them.

You and I both know that the hope of changing that reality is what drives the unprecedented support for this campaign from ordinary people in every part of the country.

The "dust-up" was about guns and religion, not about what people think about their government. Once again, this sounds like Barack, et al trying to divert discussion away from the central point of contention and turn it into something completely different. Nice Try.

They tried the same diversion tactic a second time:

There's nothing elitist about a movement of more than a million people standing up for a different kind of politics.

They know full well that neither opponent focusing on blaming the movement for being elitist, but rather that Barack himself was an elitist. Once again, a nice try for a diversion and conversion to a different topic. Besides, the the issue for elitism is not so much what your goal is, but your core values, underlying agenda, and where you are coming from. Once again, "the movememt" has sucked in a lot of innocent voters, but the proponents of "the movement" are hard-core elitists through and through. Not that their opponents are any less elitist, but that 99% of the "value" of the whole Barack "movement" is a suspension of belief and a mis-belief that somehow the movement is not elitist at its core.

But wait! There is more!... Enough already. The whole point is that this is just one little black eye and Barack and his campaign should themselves have tried to move on, but they can't.. they simply can't tolerate Barack and the core of The Progressive Movement being labeled as elitist.

The core problem, the core reason that Barack has gotten so out of touch is that he is a "community organizer" at heart and this country, this nation is not "a" community. The Progressive Movement may still be a monolithic "community", and barack may make a great "organizer" and leader for that community, but the president of the U.S. is responsible for an extremely diverse nation and range of constituencies that are pulling in a multitude of directions, not a homogenous community. Barack and The Progressives continue to think about their community and the values of their community, which is why Barack is so out of touch. Sure a large number of voters from around the country have stood up and said "Me! I want to be a part of the Barack community! Let me vote for you!", but only later will they realize that they were signing up for the goals and values of The Progressive community rather than the values and realities of their own communities and their own interests.

-- Jack Krupansky


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