Campaigns/Elections

I, Rigoberta Russert

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Jonathan Chait takes up one of my favorite themes: the rise of right-wing P.C.

Barack Obama's comments about the white working class have thrown the political campaign into a particularly comic spasm of pretense and hypocrisy, but I was planning to let it go, I really was, until George F. Will decided to leap to the defense of the proletariat. Yes, that George F. Will. The fabulously wealthy, bow tie-wearing, pretentious reference-mongering, Anglophilic fop who grew up in a university town as a professor's son, earned two advanced degrees, has a designated table at a French restaurant in Georgetown, and, had he dwelt for any extended time among the working class, would be lucky to escape without his underwear being yanked up over his ears. Will devoted his column to expressing his displeasure at Obama's "condescension" toward the working class….

Blue-collar whites now occupy the same position in American politics that people of color hold in the smaller political subculture of academia: a victim-hero class whose positions (usually as interpreted by outsiders) enjoy the presumption of moral superiority.

The victim-hero class is the object of competitive flattery and the subject of mutual accusations of disrespect. You can't read a Peggy Noonan paean to real America–"a healthy and vibrant place full of religious feeling and cultural energy and Bible study and garage bands and sports-love and mom-love and sophistication and normality"–without thinking of a junior faculty member extolling the dignity of Guatemalan peasant women. Bill O'Reilly's or Tim Russert's endless invocations of their working-class backgrounds are the equivalent of the campus activist who introduces every opinion by saying "As a woman of color…."

Whole thing here. Over the next seven months, you should expect many more opportunities to think of those noble Guatemalan daughters of the soil.

Update: A few readers have spoken up for George Will, noting that his column in question managed to avoid O'Reilly-style phony-populist bluster. That's a fair point, though I think Chait was simply showing how easy it is to turn those rhetorical guns on the Republicans. But for the record: Will has a right to write about liberal condescension toward the working class whether or not he has a proletarian bone in his body. The problem is those conservatives (and Clintonites) whose hymns to Middle America are at least as condescending as Obama's remark about people who cling to their Bibles and guns.

(That's one of the reasons, I think, why Obama's comment doesn't seem to have hurt him in the Pennsylvania primary, though it may yet do some damage in the general election. Nothing he said has been as patronizing as Hillary Clinton's Dukakis-in-a-tank attempts to paint herself as a gun-toting, shot-drinking tribune of the laboring classes.)

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  1. Bill O’Reilly’s or Tim Russert’s endless invocations of their working-class backgrounds are the equivalent of the campus activist who introduces every opinion by saying “As a woman of color….”

    That’s pretty dang funny!

  2. If being part of the “working class” is really so grand, why don’t Russert and O’Reilly go back? Really, it’s a moral issue, as the net benefit to mankind of the two of them, oh, I don’t know, tightening screws, would far outweigh their contributions to infotainment.

  3. But the woman of color really is a woman of color.

    Russert and Tweety Matthews and David Broder, on the other hand, aren’t actually like the working stiffs they claim to speak for.

    And they know it. Chris Matthews earns $5 million a year. The congnitive dissonance of this – the yawning gulf between what they want to think of themselves and what they know to be true – helps explain their behavior.

    They take up the “cause of the working man,” as they see it, against attacks by “elites” (even “media elites,” even “media elites in Washington and New York,” hilariously) as a way of establishing their cred.

    Since they’re so incredibly eager to do so, it leads to them perceiving and pursuing “the cause of the working man” even where it doesn’t exist. So we get treated to Chris Matthews yelping about “this guy I know from Allegheny County” telling him that Bittergate is having a huge effect on the race, even as poll after poll showed that it wasn’t.

  4. From what I can tell, it has already risen.

  5. You can’t read a Peggy Noonan paean to real America–“a healthy and vibrant place full of religious feeling and cultural energy and Bible study and garage bands and sports-love and mom-love and sophistication and normality”–without thinking of a junior faculty member extolling the dignity of Guatemalan peasant women.

    Actually, I can’t read anything by Peggy Noonan without becoming physically ill. She could make the Holocaust seem saccharine and trite.

  6. joe,

    Should a person be given “automatic merit” simply because of some idenity group they identify, associate, etc. with?

  7. The accusation towards George F. Will that he is indulging in “Right-Wing P.C.” makes absolutely no sense if you actually read his article. Will criticizes the left’s justification for large, invasive government and social engineering, justified via a contempt for all people not members of a select group of socio-political Brahmins. He does not try to pass himself off as a populist “man-of-the-people.” In fact, Will’s article is libertarian in nature, so it seems odd that someone from Reason would criticize him.

    Is this yet another segment in the quest for the ever elusive “liberal-tarian?” When are you going to realize that socialists are not and will never be libertarian. They are diametrically opposed to everything libertarians believe. The only overlap, on some social issues, is purely accidental and for completely different reasons than those of libertarians.

    I realize that libertarians hate Republicans and in turn anyone they see affiliated with the GOP. The GOP has betrayed its small-government and fiscal principles in the name of “Compassionate Conservatism”, while replacing foreign policy “realism” with “interventionism” under the mantra of “National Greatness Conservatism.” This still doesn’t explain why you are sharpening your knives for someone like Will who likely agrees with libertarians regarding the above GOP failures.

    Libertarian alienation from Republican party, as it currently exists, makes perfect sense. This loose-cannon, fire a salvo at anyone you deem remotely associated with Republicans for being ideologically “impure,” is just insane.

  8. Of course not, Calidore.

    I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who says they should.

    They might be able to bring a different perspective to the table, though.

  9. So, 1) You’re not allowed to defend the white working class unless you come from it, and 2) If you do come from the white working class, you should shut up about it. Hence, the white working class is fucked. And that’s as it should be.

  10. In fairness to George Will, it is allowed to object to condescension to a group of people that you aren’t a part of. I can get offended by racism or sexism as a white guy, so he can get offended by classism as a rich guy.

  11. In fairness to George Will, it is allowed to object to condescension to a group of people that you aren’t a part of. I can get offended by racism or sexism as a white guy, so he can get offended by classism as a rich guy.

    Sure, of course. But if you grant that, you take away everyone’s ability to mau-mau each other and are reduced to arguing the issues on their merits. I think Chait was just showing how easy it is to turn these rhetorical guns (“brie-eating, latte-sipping, Volvo-driving elitists”) back on the party that currently attempts to monopolize them.

  12. Well, although I am not one of the chattering-class elites and have no wish to be one of them, I can say with 100% honesty that my favorite civilian job, ever, was being an Electrician’s Helper at a University. Favorite military job was as a Support Platoon Leader in an Air Cavalry Squadron. Both were very hands on and the latter was as close as you could get to a “working class” job in Army Aviation as an Officer. Well, maybe the Aviation Maintenance Officers got to also.

    Anyway, I would not trade the current paycheck to go back. We have our tradeoffs in life and that is one that I made. Does this mean that I “sold out”? LOL/Yawn

    However, one thing I don’t do is speak down to folks who made other career choices than me just because they wanted to do something else. Speaking down to elitist snots is a whole different matter, regardless of their chosen profession.

    Full disclosure: I have been a George F. Will fan as long as I can remember, no mater what my job was: gas island attendant, tire changer, baggage handler, electrician’s helper, airline ticket/ops agent, helicopter pilot, tank crewmember . . .

  13. Of course not, Calidore.

    Bullshit, joe, you say this all the time, by inference and directly, and now you deny it.

    I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who says they should.

    Look in the mirror, idiot.

    They might be able to bring a different perspective to the table, though.

    Yes, they might actually see people for who they are, not holding your worldview.

  14. Think of any liberal stereotype (San Francisco, latte sipping, tree hugging) and it’s fair game for conservatives to mock. But don’t you dare disparage anything related to small town working class America (the “Heartland”) or you’ll be labled unpatriotic or worse by those who would never willingly spend any of their time with those they are so quick to defend.

  15. I find this whole thing fascinating in that we have two groups of political elites who can’t get over their cultural differences savaging each other with mis-interpretations of how the other half lives. It is more than just a bit unseemly for a guy like Will to claim to have some understanding of the little guy.

    What Obama said in Pennsylvania wasn’t so much elitist as just completely wrong and out of touch with reality. Poor people don’t vote based on culture, rich yuppies in the suburbs vote on cultural issues. Democrats have always done better than Republicans with high educated voters and with voters in the lowest quarter of income. Only someone who doesn’t get out much could think all gun owners are poor. Where exactly does Obama think the NRA gets all of its money? If Democrats actually knew anything about the gun culture in this country, they would know hunting is expensive as hell. Few poor people go hunting. You either have to own the land, which probably means you are not poor, or you have to pay thousands for a tag or a license. Go to any place out west with good hunting and you will find it overrun with rich people from the city during hunting season. Further, while necessary in a lot of cases and your right under the Constitution, owning a gun is not really very high on the list of priorities for people who are struggling to pay the rent. I would recommend everyone reading this to actually go to a gun show sometime. You won’t find many poor people there. You will find a lot of middle class, upper middle class and even wealthy people there.

    It is the same thing with religion. The big evangelical politically powerful churches the left is always yammering about are not in poor areas. They are in rich bedroom communities of the large cities. You don’t find stadium churches in rural Pennsylvania or Kansas. You find them in places like Marietta Georgia and Katy, Texas.

    All of these cultural issues, be it gay marriage, guns, or whatever, tend to be fights among various tribes of our upper middle class and upper classes that are being projected upon the rest of the country.

  16. Democrats tend to do better among “high school educated” voters, not “high educated” voters.

  17. However, one thing I don’t do is speak down to folks who made other career choices than me just because they wanted to do something else.

    I was raised this way, to treat people in all walks of life with respect regardless of what they do. However, that said, I’ve never thought that anyone deserved my respect because of the life choices they’ve made, regardless of what they, the media, or some activist thinks – whether the person be a nuclear scientist or a refridgerator manufacturer.

  18. John,

    So what do you think about gay shotgun marriages?

  19. So, 1) You’re not allowed to defend the white working class unless you come from it

    I’m not sure I would put in terms that stark, but it sounds really bad for a wealthy pundit to “speak for” a working class schmoe.

    I can’t really think of a better example, so I apologize in advance, but for me, the argument is somewhat similar to the Native Americans/Racist Mascots debate (full disclosure: I’m a University of Illinois Fighting Illini grad). Personally, I’d like to think that most Native American mascots (with a few exceptions) would not offend me were I Native American. But not being Native American, I can’t say for sure how I’d feel. I do know, however, that it would be very condescending for me, as a white dude with a suburban upbringing, to tell Native Americans how they should feel (either way – I think both sides are guilty here). I can have an opinion, certainly, but I don’t think it counts for a whole lot.

    Similarly, for Will, or Noonan, or Brooks to tell everyone how working class folks should feel about, for example, Obama’s statements, is incredibly condescending. In telling us how those folks should feel, they’re substituting their own perception for the people for whom they’re purporting to speak, perhaps even more condescending than the comments that started the whole mess.

  20. There’s no nobility in poverty anymore, dad.

  21. I’d hazard to guess that most people in the “working class” (for lack of a better phrase) are mostly happy with their work and lives. Shit, I count myself among them. And I’m also guessing that most of them would resent being talked down to, whether it’s from the likes of an elitist, liberal black man or a “I used to be one of you” talking-head schmuck.

  22. Seitz,

    Here you go, I can be your race-card provider!

    I am both a Native American and part Cherokee. Added bonus, I have a long vowel at the end of my real name!

    Injun is one of my frequent terms for the Asian Immigrants (and others who came to the Americas) and I don’t mind if others use it either.

  23. So, 1) You’re not allowed to defend the white working class unless you come from it,

    Uhmmm…that seems to be the impression I got by all those people who attacked John Edwards.

    I have seen quite a few people on these pages and in the media asserting that he doesn’t really care about poverty because he is rich and got a $400 dollar haircut. And he was merely pandering.

    But I guess when George Will takes up the cause of the working class, he really does empathize with the plight of the everyday joe who doesn’t have a Nantucket summer home.

  24. “Similarly, for Will, or Noonan, or Brooks to tell everyone how working class folks should feel about, for example, Obama’s statements, is incredibly condescending.”

    Of course the left does the same thing with minorities. I have yet to meet a real live Native American who cares about the mascot issue beyond one or two who found the Washington Redskins to be offensive. But of course there are tons of uptight white liberals who want to prove their street creed by acting outraged over such names. The white left is certainly not above acting as arbiter of what is offensive and what is not when it comes to minorities.

    How about this idea; stop running down people through gross generalizations? If it is wrong to speak of black or brown or white people in disparaging terms, it ought also be wrong to speak of people who are from this or that part of the country or do this or that job in disparaging terms.

  25. ChicagoTom,

    Idunno, I think there is certainly the effect of believability between claims some make. I don’t recall Professor Will ever claiming to have come from a “rough” background, but Sen. Edwards kept yammering about his “Daddy in the mill”. The latter did not seem to ring true and it turned out that, yes he did work in a mill but as a Supervisor or higher by the time John Edwards was around.

    Maybe that one was not written so well.

    When a Marine Harrior driver and I were talking about flying in a bar one day, some former local bartender had to jump in and be disruptive. He was trying to impress everybody, especially the Marine, with his stories of his daddy letting him fly their Cessna Citation when he was a kid. Not sure he got the desired effect because we both went into how we got to flight school and it sure was not through any relatives who could afford private jets.

    Idunno, some people might not be able to detect the difference between folks who had to compete to get to where they are, like John Edward’s father, and those who benefit from it, like John Edwards, and try to take credit for it in some odd way.

    One more try?

    When people of certain political stripes find out enough of my resume (the top part) they jump to accuse me of being from some sort of privelage, like that guy a few months ago claiming to have been a Sailor and jumped all over me for being a Field Grade Officer. thing is, I really did start off as a Private, so did my father. I did not get selected for anything because I knew anybody of influence (probably would not turn it down if I did), I just went along doing the best job I could and things worked out for me. Almost the same for that Marine, IIRC, he was a “Mustang” and got to fly the first Harriers delivered to the Marines.

    Oh well, probably a lot of wasted electrons here, sorry for wasting time.

  26. I’d hazard to guess that most people in the “working class” (for lack of a better phrase) are mostly happy with their work and lives.

    There’s actually a pretty poor correlation between income and happiness once you’ve got enough money for three meals a day and a roof over your head. After that, happiness has a lot more to do with your natural inclination to be happy, plus whatever coping skills you’ve picked up along the way.

  27. *Harrier, dang it!

  28. But of course there are tons of uptight white liberals who want to prove their street creed by acting outraged over such names.

    Sorry, was this part not explicit enough for you?

    it would be very condescending for me, as a white dude with a suburban upbringing, to tell Native Americans how they should feel (either way – I think both sides are guilty here).

    Sorry, next time I’ll try to throw in enough left bashing to satisfy you.

  29. After that, happiness has a lot more to do with your natural inclination to be happy horsepower in the garage

    Fixed 🙂

  30. I thought the George Will column was pretty perceptive, BTW. You don’t have to be working class to be in touch with how many of them feel, you just have to, you know, TALK to them and put yourself in their shoes. Helps to have actually been there, but not a prerequisite to talk intelligently about how they might react to a clueless statement like Obama’s.

  31. What Obama said in Pennsylvania wasn’t so much elitist as just completely wrong and out of touch with reality.

    Actually, I think it was both.

    I’d hazard to guess that most people in the “working class” (for lack of a better phrase) are mostly happy with their work and lives.

    I honestly don’t think it makes a lot of difference. The most miserable person I know is quite wealthy (8 or 9 figures worth of old money); so is the happiest person I know (8 figures worth of new).

    The “working class” people I know certainly don’t seem miserable; I doubt they waste any energy obsessing over whether they were happy or not. Generally speaking, the people I know who aren’t happy come from upper middle class backgrounds.

  32. Seitz,

    You did not see my implied smilie at the end?

  33. How about this idea; stop running down people through gross generalizations? If it is wrong to speak of black or brown or white people in disparaging terms, it ought also be wrong to speak of people who are from this or that part of the country or do this or that job in disparaging terms.

    Or, as some one once put it, don’t hate people because of their race or class or color. That’s stupid. Get to know them, and hate them for the assholes they most assuredly are.

    I’m still gonna hate on people who like Celine Dion, though. That’s just inexcusable in a polite society.

  34. When the left begins to denounce the right for being PC, the circle will be complete and we will see the true absurdity of political parties whose only purpose is to be the opposites of one another–which of course then strips them of any true platform or integrity.

  35. Even in an article exhorting us to cease condescension, Chait can’t help it himself:

    “had he dwelt for any extended time among the working class, would be lucky to escape without his underwear being yanked up over his ears.”

    It’s conceivable that adults without college educations could restrain themselves from attacking an outsider wearing a suit. As difficult as it may be to believe, the “working class” (whatever that is assumed to mean in 2008 America) may not actually behave like middle-school bullies OR noble savages.

    Who can say, though, really?

  36. So the right can be as P.C. and condescending as the left. What an important issue to sort out.

  37. So, you link approvingly to a piece attacking George Will, and then admit that George Will isn’t really the problem.

    Sort of like attacking Saddam because of 9/11, isn’t it?

  38. So, how about that Kyle Busch yesterday?

  39. You did not see my implied smilie at the end?

    I was responding to John.

    It’s conceivable that adults without college educations could restrain themselves from attacking an outsider wearing a suit.

    I thinks it’s more because they’re jocks and Will’s a nerd.

    Cue Sam Donaldson: Throw the ball, George! Throw the ball!

  40. Sort of like attacking Saddam because of 9/11, isn’t it?

    Yea, if anybody in the Bush Administration had stated that reason, it would be sort of the same thing.

  41. You don’t have to be working class to be in touch with how many of them feel, you just have to, you know, TALK to them and put yourself in their shoes. Helps to have actually been there, but not a prerequisite to talk intelligently about how they might react to a clueless statement like Obama’s.

    Setting aside the fact that Barack Obama and his wife grew up in working-class households in Chicago…

    who do you think has done this more – George Will, or Barack Obama?

  42. Gargle flargle fuck fuck asshole!

  43. Setting aside the fact that Barack Obama and his wife grew up in working-class households in Chicago

    Damn, these creation myths are hard to sort out.

    I thought Obama was born in Hawaii, elementary schooled in Indonesia, and brought up in Kansas at the knee of his racially insensitive grandmother?

    Is working class Chicago where Obama kilt him a bear when he was only three? Was that Bear William Perry?

  44. Idunno, I think there is certainly the effect of believability between claims some make. I don’t recall Professor Will ever claiming to have come from a “rough” background, but Sen. Edwards kept yammering about his “Daddy in the mill”.

    Chris Matthews and Tim Russert do.
    As do lots of other media people. Every cable personality that lives in Nantucket pretends like they are just blue collar guys and they know what “real america” thinks and feels, despite the fact that they want nothing to do with real america and have never bothered to travel out and actually see what any of these people think or feel.

    dunno, some people might not be able to detect the difference between folks who had to compete to get to where they are, like John Edward’s father, and those who benefit from it, like John Edwards, and try to take credit for it in some odd way.

    I don’t see a difference between John Edwards and all the morons who are pretending to speak for the middle class. They all have benefited from polical connections or their family or whatnot. At least John Edwards has actually done some work for the economically downtrodden and has spent time with them. The blowhards can’t say that. So yearh, I think John Edwards would be much more credible on these subjects.

    I think some people just tend to have different standards they apply to those whose message seems to support their personal beliefs and very different standards for those whose message contradicts their beliefs.

  45. P.C. in any form is pure dumbshittery. People in public life should say what they think and deal with the consequences.

    Of course, wars between pundits of various stripes are just a bunch of wussy affairs, anyway. Maybe I’m just getting old, but it seems to me we have almost as much an oversupply of paid pundits as we do of lawyers.

  46. Abdul,

    would you agree that Obama has had more exposure to and worked with working middle class and lower class america more than Will, Russert and Matthews combined?

  47. Nothing he said has been as patronizing as Hillary Clinton’s Dukakis-in-a-tank attempts to paint herself as a gun-toting, shot-drinking tribune of the laboring classes.

    Um, Ron, she does drink a much less expensive brand than you while in the public eye. Just sayin’ and not sayin’ I ain’t buyin’ no more neither 🙂

  48. his wife grew up in working-class households in Chicago…

    And yet, despite that, a whole lot of disdain is reserved specifically for her.

  49. Abdul,

    He and his mother moved to the SDouth Side of Chicago when he was a lad. I’m pretty sure they stripped the bear and left it up on blocks.

  50. And yet, despite that, a whole lot of disdain is reserved specifically for her.

    I think that she, as an African-America in the more familiar sense of the term, gets both his and her doses of anti-black rhetoric, since his opponents know it doesn’t stick to him.

  51. It’s conceivable that adults without college educations could restrain themselves from attacking an outsider wearing a suit.

    I think it has less to do with the restraint of the working class and more with the wedgie worthiness of Will.

    Why is Obama’s comment worse than the many times Romney dissed the state he governed for 4 years because it was liberal. It’s obvious they f-ed up because the second he ran for prez, he sold them out.

  52. Chicago Tom,

    would you agree that Obama has had more exposure to and worked with working middle class and lower class america more than Will, Russert and Matthews combined?

    I’d admit that I’d have no idea.

  53. ChicagoTom,

    I don’t recall Mr. Russert trying to “glom onto” his father’s background. He does talk admiringly about “Big Russ”, but not in that Edwards sort of way. I don’t remember him saying anything about having to do without or times being hard in their house, but his dad worked hard and always made ends meet.

    Mr. Matthews, on the other hand, who I have not listened to all that much so I might have missed the above attributes in him, what little I have heard from him was his “Peace Corps” work and work as a Cap. hill staffer. Pretty much the same thing as the fraternity member liberal arts students in college. no, not assigning that to him, just what little I have heard him say fits there.

  54. George Will is one human you just can’t picture naked. I think he was born with trousers on.

  55. And suspenders.

  56. Maybe people are arguing about a different George Will column than the one I read, because in it he didn’t talk about the feelings of white working class voters at all.

    The column I read compared Obama to Adlai Stevenson, who was suspected of being too sophisticated to endorse the crass likes and dislikes of “the average American”.

    So there’s no point in our arguing whether or not Will can mentally imagine the reactions of white working class voters, or put himself in their shoes, or whatever. Because that’s not the issue.

    The issue is whether a politician is suspect because they don’t really share the tastes of white working class voters. And the reason it’s funny to have Will write such a column is because, except for baseball, Will himself does not share the tastes of white working class voters. I really doubt that Will drinks American beer, or watches Pride Fighting, or walks around Vegas in a T-shirt that says, “I’m Here About The Blowjob”, or yells “Show us your tits!” at random girls in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, or eats pork rinds, or likes Nascar, or does any of a billion things that he might do if he shared the tastes and values of white working class voters.

    The reason the column is amusing is because Will identifies identification with a particular social subgroup in the US with love of the country itself. It is funny that he would write: “What had been under FDR a celebration of America and the values of its working people has become a doctrine of condescension toward those people and the supposedly coarse and vulgar country that pleases them,” when in his own life and habits Will also rejects the “coarse and vulgar” values of “working people”.

  57. “What had been under FDR a celebration of America and the values of its working people has become a doctrine of condescension toward those people and the supposedly coarse and vulgar country that pleases them.”

    Read that sentence again and ruminate on it for a while. Will is saying here that if you don’t like trailer parks, you hate America. If you don’t regard the typical yahoo in a Hooters as the sine qua non of cultural and political virtue, you hate America.

    Why he would write crap like this to try to help out John McCain, a man he seems to despise above all others, is anyone’s guess. To write it while wearing a bow tie and horn rimmed glasses is comedy indeed.

  58. ed, “trousers” indeed. Not “pants”, but “trousers”.

  59. He and his mother moved to the SDouth Side of Chicago when he was a lad.

    Wrong, joe. He lived in Honolulu and Jakarta until he graduated high school. He moved to Chicago in 1985, after graduating from Colombia.

  60. Will’s article is libertarian in nature, so it seems odd that someone from Reason would criticize him.

    Hmmm- better go check the beer fridge; it’ll be four-thirty soon.

  61. I just re-read for the 5th time, the only thing George F. Will wrote that deserves to be re-read every year, especially during spring training: Men At Work, The Craft of Baseball.

  62. I think that she, as an African-America in the more familiar sense of the term, gets both his and her doses of anti-black rhetoric, since his opponents know it doesn’t stick to him.

    What anti-black rhetoric? The hits I’ve seen her take have to do with what she’s said that exemplifies a race-victim mentality somewhat at odds with her successful life story, not her skin color per se

  63. But the woman of color really is a woman of color

    The color line has certainly blurred over time and will continue to do so. In a hundred years every American will be “of color” to some extent. That designation is less about genetics than identity politics. In other words, it’s an anti-intellectual way of telling the world which tribe you belong to. Hardly enlightened thinking.

  64. Setting aside the fact that Barack Obama and his wife grew up in working-class households in Chicago…

    who do you think has done this more – George Will, or Barack Obama?

    Yeah, that elite Hawaii private school with sky-high tuitions, Punahou, that Obama attended was just stuffed with working-class kids from the south side of Chicago. (Not.) His wife, OTOH, appears to have some street cred.

    The question, though, is who understands economics better and thus how to increase prosperity for everyone, George Will or a pandering leftist populist who is for higher taxes and bigger and more intrusive government programs?

  65. When Cindy McCain goes to prison to serve the penalties for the drug laws she broke (and that he and her husband support), then I can be “outraged” about how Obama’s wife apparently has a big mouth. Until then, not so much.

  66. So, when Obama calls working class Pennsylvanians bigots and dupes, he’s just talking straight; when George Will opines that those people don’t like being called bigots and dupes, he’s condescending. OK.

  67. I’m hardly blue collar but I’d gladly give George Will a wedgie. I don’t know if it would earn me any street cred in rural Pennsylvania, but it would definitely be fun, and it would probably earn me some faculty lounge street cred. Not because we’re a bunch of liberals, but rather because he’s too dorky even for us.

  68. Oops, yes indeedy; she grew up in the South Side, he moved there.

    Lots of people volunteering to leap to the defense of the white working class so greiviously offended by Barack Obama. And yet, I can’t help but feel that they don’t neet you, SuperChris, and don’t actually agree.

  69. Hey Chait, you ignorant asshole: George Will is not running for the fucking presidency, nor is he making ignorant fucking comments about rural voters in PA. That wee bit of nuance makes a bit of a fucking difference. It’s usually not a good idea to insult the people whom you want to vote for you.
    It’s fucking amazing how that dumb asshole points out all that shit about George Will, yet still vehemently defends Obama. And he has the fucking nerve to call Will a hypocrite? What a fucking joke, just like the similar defenses offered up by Obama’s retarded fucking sycophants.
    And it amazes me that the people on this site continue to peddle the bullshit notion that those comments have not hurt Obama. I guess you guys totally forgot all those polls before he said that condescending bullshit which showed him overtaking Hillary in PA. Of course you don’t remember. As with everything else on this site, you conveniently forget it when it doesn’t fit your narrative.

  70. B –

    Link, please, to a poll where Obama was ahead of Hillary before this series of events, and then behind her after it. Oh, and both polls have to be by the same polling outfit.

    In this way, you would be able to show up all those bad-memory people that are making you so angry.

    Me, I have a good memory. I remember every way in which McCain sucks cock, and I never forget ANY of them, and because my memory is so good I want to see him get beaten so badly in this election that he wishes he was in that POW camp again. Even if Obama is an even bigger statist than McCain is. Ain’t memory great?

  71. You can’t read a Peggy Noonan paean to real America–“a healthy and vibrant place full of religious feeling and cultural energy and Bible study and garage bands and sports-love and mom-love and sophistication and normality”–

    Ahh.

    I think this proves that our beloved Neil was in fact the arch-duke of trolldom.

    Anyone remember his comment about REALLY real America….? Only he changed “garage bands” to christian rock?

    Thats a cute touch. Or maybe he was real, and serious, and has a shitty memory for quotes. But he got the mom-love part right. There’s something fishy there either way. Dude is either patently trolltastic or just a real person, and highly unoriginal.

  72. B | April 21, 2008, 9:13pm | #

    “fucking fuck fuck asshole ignorant bitter clinging to the guy that we thought was a GOP traitor for not being a tortureholic and rah rah for a magazine called “reason”…

    dude, try little green footballs. It’s full of fellow “real americans”(TM)

  73. Wouldn’t it be really scary of instead of Neil being close to Peggy Noonan, Peggy Nonnan is close to Neil?

    *shudders*

  74. I should add, for politically correct value, that “working class” blacks like, cling to guns and crack and declining-quality hiphop

    goshdarn workin class is like, where all us real americans come from baby.

    My pappy was working class. He thought it sucked. He joined the military, went to vietnam, and currently clings to guns and god and hates the government.

    And he voted for obama in VA. To fuck over Hilary!

    (doh!)

  75. Maybe Neil IS Peggy Noonan… like, what peggy does when she takes off all the makeup and trolls the net wearing a strapon.

  76. Maybe Neil IS Peggy Noonan… like, what peggy does when she takes off all the makeup and trolls the net wearing a strapon.

    GILMORE, why are you trying to give me nightmares?

  77. In fact, Will’s article is libertarian in nature, so it seems odd that someone from Reason would criticize him.

    You must be new here…

  78. (That’s one of the reasons, I think, why Obama’s comment doesn’t seem to have hurt him in the Pennsylvania primary, though it may yet do some damage in the general election. Nothing he said has been as patronizing as Hillary Clinton’s Dukakis-in-a-tank attempts to paint herself as a gun-toting, shot-drinking tribune of the laboring classes.)

    Yep. Completely apocryphal but should-still-be-repeated-just-to-piss-joe-off story of Sargent Shriver (of the Kennedy Clan, for you youngsters) campaigning in some West Virginia coal town bar telling the crowd, “Hey, you guys are great! Bartender, beers for the house… and I’ll have a Courvoisier.”

  79. Maybe Neil IS Peggy Noonan… like, what peggy does when she takes off all the makeup and trolls the net wearing a strapon.

    Please, do go on . . .

  80. Cesar | April 21, 2008, 7:15pm | #
    When Cindy McCain goes to prison to serve the penalties for the drug laws she broke (and that he and her husband support), then I can be “outraged” about how Obama’s wife apparently has a big mouth. Until then, not so much.

    Obama still needs to send her away to Aruba until November along with a guard to make sure she is kept sedated. There is a passive-aggressive sabotage factor going on here that needs to be nipped in the bud.

  81. My guess — she has always had the balance of power in the relationship. With the presidential campaign that dynamic has changed and that is making her restless. All speculation, of course, but if you have had relationships in the past with female lawyers like I have, you know to watch your back around them.

    As for McCain and his trophy wife, they bore the shit out of me, so I have little commentary about them which is not really fair, but then again I’m not trying persuade anyone. McCain is the more immoral choice IMHO, but they are all bad in so many ways.

  82. B stands for bitter.

  83. The fabulously wealthy, bow tie-wearing, pretentious reference-mongering, Anglophilic fop who grew up in a university town as a professor’s son, earned two advanced degrees, has a designated table at a French restaurant in Georgetown, and, had he dwelt for any extended time among the working class, would be lucky to escape without his underwear being yanked up over his ears.

    Classic, thanks for the laugh

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