When “egghead” Adlai Stevenson was running for president, one of his supporters gushed; “Sir, every thinking person in America will be voting for you!” Stevenson replied; “Thank you, maam, but it won’t be enough. We need a majority.”
There’s an urban legend that Dwight Eisenhower was shocked to learn that fully half of US school children are of below-average intelligence. He wanted immediate action to correct the situation.
So it’s suddenly a big deal if Barack Obama says;
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” he said.
“And it’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” he added.
FOX News about had a giant spontaneous newsgasm over that one. They spent the whole afternoon (and will probably spend the next several days) calling Obama an elitist. John ‘flip-flopper’ McCain said that Obama was “out of touch with average Americans.” (Excuse me, isn’t ‘average’ pretty much an analogue of ‘typical’ as in “typical American?” Just asking.)
And surely the funniest comment of the day was made by Hillary Clinton, who said voters did not “need a president who looks down on them.” Sorry, I should have warned you to turn down the gain on your irony meter there.
Remember when Reagan described the Soviet Union as an “Evil Empire” and everybody freaked out, but Andy Rooney (no fan of Reagan’s) said; “Would anybody care to argue that the Soviet Union is NOT an evil empire?”
Well, would anybody care to argue that a lot of rural American voters are NOT bitter about the sustained loss of their good jobs? Or that some of them aren’t clinging to their guns as if Armageddon were right around the corner? Or that many voters aren’t trying to elect a right-wing mega-church version of Jesus Christ into the White House? Anybody at all? Bueller?
OK, so Obama was telling the truth. No wonder FOX news is so upset.
We have had just about enough of of a president who’s an “average guy”, who’s “in touch with the average American” (whatever that is). I want someone who’s in touch with other cultures too. Someone in touch with inner-city poverty. Someone who’s in touch with race issues in a way no other president ever has been. I want someone who knows something about Muslims. Someone with a clue about science. Someone who knows our frakking constitution forwards and backwards. Someone with the guts to call stupidity by its real name. I want someone with some pretty damn elite abilities for our next president. If he doesn’t watch NASCAR, I can live with that.
I’ve heard Obama tell automakers to quit whining and get competitive. He’s told school kids that it’s nice they graduated 8th grade and all, but tomorrow’s another school day and they better study even harder. I’ve heard him keep a level head debating an absolute whackjob, Alan Keyes. He told white Americans not to expect patriotic hymns from older blacks, but then he turned around and told the black community not to expect white Americans to be happy about affirmative action. That’s a person with some serious knuckles.
Lots of people seem to vote on “Hey! He didn’t suck up to me enough!” or “He didn’t promise me enough!” or “He said something that could be interpreted as not complimentary to my demographic group!” Well too bad. You know the biggest demographic group that needs to get a frakking clue? Americans. And the clue we need to get is, that we’re not the world’s savior; we’ve got a log in our own eye. We’ve lost the moral high ground, the esteem of many of our allies, the value of the dollar, and any chance of a head start on climate change. It’s time to stop whining and start fixing.
(Cross-posted from my blog)