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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Media Matters and the Logic (?) of the Obama Opposition

An argument that I continue to make it that what is at stake in this election is white nationalism. Fox News and conservatives in these waning months of the "Reagan Revolution" are very upfront in their push to maintain this white nationalist hegemony. What is not so apparent is that there is a strain of white nationalism in the Democratic party. While the right-wing largely has as its base adherents to the Republican party's "southern strategy," they run their campaigns on anti-civil rights platforms masking their racism behind codes like racial preferences, crime, welfare, etc. They are not the blatant white supremacists of the Jim Crow days but are now "color-blind racists," white nationalism with a kinder face.

Its not only right-wing Republicans who are white nationalists. The polls seems to show that about 30% of Clinton supporters say that if Obama gets the nomination, they will vote for John McCain. While about 20% of Obama supporters say they will not vote for Hillary Clinton, much of that has been generated by how the Clinton has tried to undermine Barack Obama, unfairly and racist as far as Obama's supporters are concerned. For Clinton to accuse her fellow Democrat as being less qualified than their Republican opponent, John McCain, is hitting below the belt. To deliberately distort Obama's words, to undermine his credibility, given the unfairness, has its own white nationalist appeal. Geraldine Ferraro's words about Barack getting some sort of racial preference was clearly a white nationalist appeal. The comments below from a nameless Clinton supporter speaks volumes. Could it be that what is happening here is that a major wing of the Democratic party is wrestling with its own white nationalist demons? RGN

Altercation, by Eric Alterman

The self-evident stupidity of American politics can be almost as hard to stomach as it is to understand, but yes, it's possible the worst president in American history will be followed by one who embraces that legacy because Barack Obama said something that was inarguably true in San Francisco last week. The weird, almost supernatural power of the word "elitist" when used by elitists is the topic of the excerpt from Why We're Liberals that published in The Nation last week, and you can read it here. (Of course, the idea is still to get you to buy the book.)

Thing is, this silly issue was hatched and ready to sprout wings long before Obama made his easily manipulated and exploitable remarks, and not just by the morons on cable TV and talk radio. Look at the subhead of the profile of Obama in the current Newsweek: "Obama says he knows the globe better than his rivals. Does he know it too well?" Is it not a pathetic comment on this country's politics to ask if a presidential candidate knows the world "too well?" We all know what it means, and yet ... reels the mind, particularly since one of its authors is a Brit and one is the author of a book on foreign policy.

Now look at the evidence:

This supposedly unique sense of empathy, however, could easily remind some people of Bill Clinton's propensity for "feeling their pain" -- and it opens Obama up to charges of naiveté. "It is a danger," says biographer David Mendell, the Chicago Tribune reporter who wrote "Obama: From Promise to Power." "He believes that he can turn anybody to his side. His former Senate campaign manager says Obama thinks he can go into a room full of skinheads and come out with all their votes. But some people just aren't going to be won over." Obama was harshly criticized after he declared, during a debate last year, that he would sit down with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without setting preconditions. The Bush administration and McCain have declared they would not do so at least until Tehran stops enriching uranium, and even Clinton has criticized Obama's stance. The candidate still insists that a major power like Iran must be engaged. But he's now careful to inject a note of realism into his position, telling NEWSWEEK last week that "it wouldn't make sense for us to negotiate or even have discussions with Iran probably when they are in the midst of a political season." (Iran's presidential elections are in 2009.)

Well, yes, Obama was "harshly criticized"; after all, the guy is running for president. It's the job of the people who want to beat him to do that. Does anyone actually give a reason why he should be, however? Oh, never mind. One side, the other side, with nary a thought to separate them.

It continues:

Even some Dems who'd favor him in any contest against McCain also worry that Obama is overplaying his experience. "I don't know whether he's drinking his own Kool-Aid," says a former senior member of the Clinton administration who is not backing either Democratic candidate but would talk only on condition of anonymity because of his private-sector job. "I'm all for talking to the Cubans, or to the Iranians. I'm just not sure he's the guy to do it. The biggest administrative job he ever had was collecting articles for the Harvard Law Review."

Hey, wait a minute. The only quote here is a former Clinton administration official who refuses to give his name or his position who says he is "not sure Obama is the one to do it." That's it? Again, no evidence? No argument? Not even a name? They call this journalism? And remember, this is Newsweek -- they are supposed to set a standard. It makes one feel hopeless about both journalism and democracy.

1 comment:

libhom said...

Obama is a centrist Democrat, while Clinton is a conservative, de facto Republican. It should be no surprise that corporate media are promoting the interests of corporations by slanting the "news" in favor of Clinton.