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Who am us, anyway?

[Update] Let’s make this an Open Thread….

Anglachel’s post, Bunker Mentality, started started a wonderful conversation (don’t miss it):

The Stevenson contingent has no narrative, no political frame adequate to address the coalition that has formed around Hillary. They are left grasping at what this person represents to people who do not fall into the educated (male) wine-track or the uneducated (male) beer-track. On the other hand, I’m not sure anyone else has a clear concept of this new constituency either. What does it mean that an upper Midwest born, New England educated white woman who lived for several decades in Arkansas and now calls New York home is sweeping border state primaries and also cleaning up in Florida, California and Massachusetts? What part of the Democratic imagination is she setting on fire?

She is creating a new coalition of voters, more diverse than the pundits are really aware of. It is different than the powerfully Southern draw that Bill had, but, given her strength in Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, southern Ohio, roughly the Appalachian areas plus Oklahoma and Texas, there is definitely a Southern component. It is too easy to write it off as race due to the tremendous appeal that Obama has for AA voters, because it assumes only “Bunker” and “Bubba” stereotypical motivations (race hatred) for her supporters, and not that a large portion of people who would otherwise gladly be counted on her side are motivated by salutary racial pride to support another. Racism and ethnic prejudice exist in this country, but I refuse to reduce the political decisions of the majority of my fellow Democrats to destructive racist motives, whether in Hillary’s favor or in Obama’s.

(Title stolen from The Firesign Theatre)

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59 Responses

  1. In my family we were originally all united in our support of Edwards. Then after he dropped out of the race, we (siblings) split evenly between Clinton and Obama.

    Anyone who knows us could have predicted the split exactly. But, I haven’t been able to verbalize why. This post has got me thinking about it again.

  2. Good for Anglachel!

    I just cannot buy into the concept that Hillary or Obama’s supporters (or heck, for that matter, if we are going to be fair, Republicans) as a group (or three) are either completelyy or not-at-all prejudiced.

    I know racism and sexism and classism and other isms exist at individual levels. But portraying groups (white males, middle aged females, Hispanics, AA, latte liberals, religious groups, lunch bucket democrats or whatever you want…) as racist/sexist/etc is counterproductive, disingenous and contributes to victimization (and I for one have seen enough of that in this campaign so far).

    The use of these stereotypes for political gain by campaigns seems to have worked so far, but I believe someone is playing us for fools. I am not naive (or at least want to believe I am not) but I am tired of it and “refuse” to believe in wide brush characterizations.
    If “reconciliation” is ever going to take place we need to move beyond that narrative.

    Thanks for listening to my morning rambling :), From now on I will try to be as positive as I can (like kbird urged us to be a while ago) and again, good for Anglachel.

  3. Hi Upstate, it didn’t sound like rambling. I’ve got to run off to work (thus the open thread) but I’ll be back when I’ve got a break (and maybe even more coffee)

  4. This is absolutely dead on.

    I am tired of how the press tries to pigeonhole supporters of Obama as well-educated liberals and of Hillary as blue-collar Archie Bunkers. I have a Master’s degree and am far to the left of either candidate, and I supported Edwards, but now am supporting Hillary. And no, it’s not because I’m a racist, it’s because I don’t like anything about Obama’s politics, his campaign or his positions on the issues.

  5. Hillary has a broader appeal than she’s given credit for. Hillary knows how to talk to people. They identify with her. They’re tired of being treated like “brands.” Who wants to be a product line extension? When you can’t pay for your kid’s antibiotics, you don’t want hope. You want cash.

    Hillary will get things done and folks trust her on that.

    Go Hillary!

  6. This Archie Bunker meme is so destructive and so far from the truth. It’s as if these Kossacks and others at the big boy blogs do not believe or care that Hillary supporters are indeed Democrats, most of them liberal and/or progressive.

    Obama’s and his supporters’ strategy takes for granted that the winner of the primary is going to win the general. That is not a given. They do not care if they use Republican talking points to tear down the Clintons, adopt Republican rhetoric to rewrite the history of the 1990s, and paint half of the party as racist Archie Bunker types. Oh, yeah, and Hillary is Tonya Harding.

    I’ve had it with these people trying to shove Obama down my throat. He is not ready to be President. That sums it up for me. It’s about Obama’s readiness; it’s not about prejudice

  7. It’s a bit whimsical, perhaps, but Arabella’s comment reminded me of that scene between Eliza and Freddie in My Fair Lady:

    Freddy: Speak and the world is full of singing,
    And I’m winging Higher than the birds.
    Touch and my heart begins to crumble,
    The heaven’s tumble, Darling, and I’m…

    Eliza: Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!
    I get words all day through; First from him, now from you!
    Is that all you blighters can do?
    Don’t talk of stars Burning above;
    If you’re in love, Show me!
    Tell me no dreams Filled with desire.
    If you’re on fire, Show me!

    Maybe a good YouTube commercial?

  8. sister of ye: neat.

  9. Anglachel’s post is wise and frames the phenomenon of Senator Clintons supporters as a new coalition of voters correctly, there is a theme I sense of Peoples who value pragmatic governance that is competent, ethical, socially economical and who as a group are unaffected by manufactured Party wedgies that have been so effectively wielded to inflame against and shield elected officials who fail to perform to the oath of their offices and for the People. These convictions are deep and strongly held values of a previous not so loud loosely aligned force that have coalesced like concrete against predatory extremes and extreme governance and for Clinton. This is a change that Democratic and Republican elected officials need to understand and be aware of there is power in this new coalition, it is as well a group who will not suffer fools for Party nor move with a nose ring jerk of a grievance and will not rally when called unless they choose. Party officials and elected officer holders accepting the role of attack surrogates, as did Senator McCaskill, will learn they have errored in understanding the power in their new base.

  10. Yep, they are trying very hard to stifle us and have a completely incorrect view of who we are. I may not have a PhD but I’ll bet I could run circles around the likes of markos and josh marshall in the science area. And I know enough about their fields to be threatening to them enough to require that I go away and not come back until after the primaries. And I’ve never had a racist day in my life.
    Just think of what they are saying about the Clintons themselves. Bill and Hillary are stupid, racist hicks? Not bloody likely. Whata does than make George Stefanopolous or DeeDee Myers or some of the other ex-Clinton staffers? Hardly stupid people.
    I am so offended by this crap that the Democratic party may have lost me. The Clintons are starting to look positively saintly by comparison which is also unrealistic but there you go. The Gang of Four has doomed us.

  11. sister of ye – “Show me” indeed! :-)

  12. “If I had to make a prediction right now, I’d say Barack Obama is going to be the next president. I will be stunned if he’s not the next president of the United States.”

    – Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO), a superdelegate and Clinton supporter, in an interview on Canadian Public Radio. Hat tip: Ben Smith.

    As someone on another blog commented, get ready to be stunned, Emmanuel.

  13. rd: in some interview (I don’t know when it took place) Bill said something to the effect that we are all born with the same “brains” and that just because some have not had access to education or privilege nobody should take them or their ideas for granted.

    My brain is nothing to brag about. However I have had more opportunities than most (thanks to grandparents and parents who worked hard to provide me with a decent education).

    After hearing Bill say that, I gained a lot of respect for the man and his ability to connect with middle America. For the same reason I can understand why so many connect in Hillary.

  14. oops, connect with=connect in

  15. I have found consistently on sites where people support Hillary – the supporters feel the need to assure others that they do indeed have an education and are not just the unwashed masses that the media portrays all her supporters to be. I hate feeling like we have to justify or be on the defensive about that. Somehow being a supporter puts us into a lower class with the Democrats at large? Oh, but some of us are ‘just women’ and we don’t really know better anyway?

    In truth, I think my rebelious streak makes me want to pull away from all things obama – probably more than the insults and pastor issue or even the weak delivery of substantial WORK products. I just never wanted to be a cool kid, I guess.

  16. Well, I think the split, at this point, comes down to people who are vulnerable to narcissistic personality types and people who aren’t – and the truth of the matter is that we’re all somewhat vulnerable.
    .

    I was taken by what Shelby Steele said about Obama offering his white supporters “racial innocence”. It’s a neat trick – by supporting Obama, a claim is being made that race is now irrelevent (at least to Obama supporters) and his election is the proof of that. And that proves the moral superiority of his followers. People who support Clinton aren’t necessarily racists, but they are people who aren’t enlightened enough to know that you can simply leave racism behind. And in this equation, leaving racism behind becomes the pinnacle moral achievement and is emblematic of the overal moral superiority embraced by Obama, and evidence of his qualification for office. It’s really a bizarre manifestation. Or zeitgeist. Or something. Oh yeah – con. I think that’s the word.

    Obama is a malignant narcissist, I think, just like Bush Jr. and Reagan. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I did spend four years of my professional life chasing down the past atrocities of a narcissistic sociopath and I do recognize the symptons now. And people really get sucked into that. It’s amazing how much of his video presence is people talking about how wonderful Obama makes them feel. Vera Lofaro once wrote a really lame little diary about how she wrote his campaign a letter and they wrote her back and made her feel special. The diary made it to the rec list at DK with all these people telling her how wonderful and lucky she was. It wasn’t normal. it was creepy.

    BTW, Obama’s got one of those wet fish handshakes. Didn’t you just know it?

  17. the supporters feel the need to assure others that they do indeed have an education

    I did read an article some time ago that Obama does not have a lock on academia — scientists tend to be for Hillary. It’s just Hillary’s raw luck that Americans don’t like math/science.

    I happen to be a scientist — from Hillary’s campaign I get invites to science policy talks at AAAS, from Obama I get Oprah.

  18. riverdaughter: I may not have a PhD

    Perhaps you’re a SI swimsuit model?

  19. With chants of “get out, get out, get out” the impression left with voters who are not political junkies is that she has no chance and is somehow losing all over the place. There are still more votes to be counted and unless it is done fair and square there are many of us who will be reconsidering the Dem Party in the future. I am from the state who elected Deval Patrick because of his call for “change”. He has turned out to be a dud, a real loser. Most of us here in MA have buyer’s remorse. I am not completely linking Obama to Deval as such, just pointing out that they share the same campaign manager and we will sold a bill of goods regarding the promise of change. Just a thought.

  20. I think Clinton supporters are a much more diverse group than people think. All of this talk of her supporters being “lunch bucket” and “working class” may be true, but her support is much broader than that. My partner and I are lesbians with masters degrees living in suburban Los Angeles. But our retired Korean neighbors support her too, as do many of the Latino women my partner works with. So much for the racist baloney–most of us have experienced discrimination in one form or another first hand–unlike the frat boys at Daily Kos and TPM.

    The one Obama supporter at my partner’s place of employment is a white male (totally arrogant and condescending) in his early thirties who has a Harvard education. Hate to stereotype, but what can I say?

  21. Maya Angelou write a fairly remarkable piece at Blog Hillary that I recommend to all of you:

    http://blog.hillaryclinton.com/blog/main/2008/03/31/154530

    She say,

    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may trod me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

    And she continues:

    This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits end, but she has always risen, always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.

    When she ends, she writes, and I join my voice to hers,

    Rise Hillary.

    Rise.

  22. hlr: we are all pretty much geeks here. Riverdaughter did a post here a week or so back and folks volunteered geek credentials. I don’t think SI has done the geek swimsuit model issue yet, so that pretty much rules that one out. I’m don’t think the models are voting age anyway…

  23. hlr: I forgot – I think it sounds VERY, VERY cool that you are invited to science policy talks.

    I can’t say that I am a big Oprah fan either.

  24. Looks like Pelosi did a little backpedaling this morning. Madam Speaker gave superdelegates (like her buddy Murtha) her blessing to “follow their ‘conscience.’”

    Sure am glad that Pelosi came around to the view that if Dems are going to follow party rules to the last letter and throw out Florida and Michigan, then party leaders can certainly assess the electoral situation by taking into account Obama’s inexperience, Hillary moxie and grit; and yeah, the new math

  25. P.S. The new math includes Florida and Michigan.

  26. Did Nancy Pelosi purchase “wisdom pills” somewhere?

    Pelosi says Democratic race should go on

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the superdelegates who may ultimately decide the Democratic party’s presidential nominee have a right to vote as they wish, and that the drawn-out contest between candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama should be allowed to reach its conclusion.

    Maybe some people are starting to get the message:

    Some Democratic strategists have warned of damage to the party’s chances in November if women — especially the older, white working-class women who are Clinton’s base — sense a mostly male party establishment is unfairly muscling her out of the race. Women make up the majority of Democratic voters nationwide.

    I would object to the description of Clinton’s base, but if that help get the message through, feel free to count this straight Black man among “the older, white working-class women”.
    FWIW, I am at least as well educated as most prominent Obama’s elite bloggers.

  27. The narrative has been set by Obama and his major Dem backers, in which they grant Clinton (essentially) permission to stay in the race, which aims to marginalize her as a credible candidate.

    I don’t know how much more of this nonsense I can handle. Meanwhile, Obama is trying to compensate for his Kerry-esque type of elitism/aloofness by having his rhetoric reflect…reality.

  28. jjmtacoma wrote:

    “In truth, I think my rebelious streak makes me want to pull away from all things obama – probably more than the insults and pastor issue or even the weak delivery of substantial WORK products. I just never wanted to be a cool kid, I guess.”

    Awhile back, I wrote that I wasn’t sure what had made me rebel against the echo chamber of the orange place. And riverdaughter agree with me that we who have come to Hillary’s team are nonconformists. We are aren’t interested in a candidate who won’t tell us what he really believes in (I think he may believe in nothing), but wants us to take on faith that his very person, his existence is enough to transform our country and bridge it’s racial divide.

    Yes, we are rebels, we are geeks. We don’t think a problem as deep as race in the U.S. will be solved through the “magic” of one person. We know that change takes hard work and we have seen that Hillary is a hard worker. She doesn’t quit. And she believes in Democratic values. No, she’s not perfect, but we think she will listen to us and fight for us.

  29. Pat Johnson: With chants of “get out, get out, get out” the impression left with voters who are not political junkies is that she has no chance and is somehow losing all over the place.

    Right.

    New SUSA shows the gap has decreased by 7 in PA (now a 12pt Hillary lead) and Rasmussen claims that she’s only up +5. People like to vote for a winner, and what the Dems (Pelosi, Leahy, etc) are doing is depressing Hillary’s vote in upcoming states to ensure that she doesn’t catch up in popular vote, etc. They have stepped over the line.

  30. You know, obama is currently trying to talk LIKE the “un-educated”, going bowling and giving calves bottles of milk. What the???

    Yes, I do TRULY respect hard work and getting back up to fight after being knocked down or treated unfairly. I admire the fight in Hillary. I think that fighting spirit is as American as baseball.

  31. I’ve noticed that the Obots have been flaunting polls and doing haka over Hillary’s financial situation.

    They do this in the build-up to every primary vote. The last one, on March 4th, really hit them hard because they thought they had it won finally.

    I think this may have something to do with the extreme CDS we’ve been seeing. It was the same thing in the nineties with the GOP.

    Every time they think they have won, the Clintons pop back up.

    They Clintons are the “Comeback Kids.”

  32. What do you call a little brown boy who is less than two months from his PhD that grew up in a trailer park? (Well, a few years at least.) Dr. Arturo Bunker?

    Just curious.

  33. “in some interview (I don’t know when it took place) Bill said something to the effect that we are all born with the same “brains” and that just because some have not had access to education or privilege nobody should take them or their ideas for granted.”

    You know, I’ve come to the conclusion true intellect is intuitive, education gives a means of expression, and detail.

    I’ve had the misfortune of dealing with many highly educated people I would consider functional MORONS, their inability to comprehend a situation, or a solution truly breathtaking. Our country is in this mess due to the highly educated.

    But others, without the Ivy League doctorate, seem to grasp the ideas intuitively, hammering out a solution, grasping a concept, immediately.

    To pigeon hole is to kill, smart people come from all walks of life, that is one of the better aspects of being American, everyone gets a chance, or should.

    And it’s always the stupid Ivy leaguers who are looking down on others, those with the least intellect, least intuitive intellect, always needing to point out which university they attended to diminish others, to prove their credentials, despite their record of myriad failures.

    That’s a generalization, btw, certainly there are those who are highly educated, while also being literate.

  34. “You know, obama is currently trying to talk LIKE the “un-educated”, going bowling and giving calves bottles of milk. What the??? ”

    I believe they took him bowling.

  35. gqmartinez: What do you call a little brown boy who is less than two months from his PhD that grew up in a trailer park?

    A future presidential candidate? Do you have your two autobiographies written up? No experience necessary, don’t worry about that. Are you photogenic? Any celebrity friends?

  36. I may have mentioned here before that I am a recovering alcholic who is also a few months (I hope) from my PhD in developmental psychology. They used to have a saying in AA:

    “I’ve never seen anyone who is too dumb to get the program, but I’ve known people who were too ‘smart’ to get it.”

    It’s possible to be too “smart” for your own good. That is how I see people like Kos and Josh. Have these guys ever faced real adversity? I don’t want to judge them, because I don’t know. But a lot of the Obama supporters I saw at the big orange place had teh arrogance of youth and people who had never had to deal with really serious problems.

    In my experience, you grow and get more “life smart” as opposed to “book smart” by going through real life problems, surviving them and coming out stronger. The Clintons have done that. I know that’s what happened to me. I’m able to empathize with others because of what I’ve been through in my life. I don’t care about class differences. If I had to, I’d thrown in my lot with the working class any day. I don’t have a lot of respect for people who live off the work of others.

    I’m not sure is I’m making sense…

  37. hlr, I once walked down several flights of stairs with Ben Affleck. I honestly didn’t recognize him until a swarm of people started crowding around him. Does that count?

  38. The bowling thing was really funny, I have to say.

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200803310007

    Overheard at a gathering of liberals: ‘The Clintons are not our sort. Their supporters have above ground swimming pools and go bowling, if you can imagine that ….’

    The Big Blog Boyz and their commenters get indignant about Hillary’s anti-flag burning bill. Guess what, geniuses : people care about the flag. Why don’t you step away from the computer and meet some new people?

    Are you scared of thje bowling jackets or the above ground swimming pools?

  39. bonstonboomer — You make a lot of sense.

    BO reassured us on The View that Michelle wouldn’t be sitting in on cabinet meetings — she’s ‘focused on bringing up the two girls.’ The perfect little opt-out, complete w/ piano lessons.

    The reality is that non-traditional households are now the majority. What the Obamas are selling is an America that’s transcended race issues and offers limitless social and economic mobility. That’s only true for a limited few — and frankly, they are the ones driving this primary. They’ve leveraged the youth vote for amplification — it’s perfect because the 17-23 yo subset by definition don’t have the perspective from experience to judge how the BO pitch might work in practice.

  40. McCain runs strong in NJ, MI, WA

    Not a good time to bust the Democratic coalition like a pinata, just to scramble for one days sweet treats.

  41. Greetings! I have returned from a week of sun in Florida, tan, rested and finally detoxified from MSNBC! P.S. they may not be typical Floridians, but the staff at the Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach are pissed about the refusal to count their primary vote.

    Interesting article over at HuffPo (yes, HuffPo) on the subject of MI and FLA:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-barrett/could-the-republicans-pic_b_94158.html

  42. litigatormom,

    Welcome back! I wondered where you were. I’m sure the staff at the Ritz-Carlton is just as representative of FL voters as any other group. I know I would be mad as hell if it were my vote.

  43. I’m looking for serious commentary about what motivates Obama. I have no sense of what he’s about.

    I’m glad I found this blog. Good to meet some new people.

  44. “Their supporters have above ground swimming pools and go bowling”

    ? I thought this was normal? I went bowling all the time when I was younger & many of my childhood friends had above ground pools. well, the ones whose parents could afford them at least. is the above ground pool kind of a redneck thing I was unaware of because so many people had them? :) I am horrible at bowling though. (better than a 37, but not good.)

  45. Arabella– OMG! he bowled a 37??

  46. hi Arabella – from Baby Blue, right?

  47. Hi Everyone,
    I was going to share the story of how my parents first date was to a Stevenson Rally but now they’re Hillary supporters and so are 5 of their kids with 3 supporting Obama. And the fun conversations that have resulted from that split.

    But, I almost fainted on the way to work from an intense pain in my upper chest and I spent the morning visiting my doctor instead. Luckily, I’ve got great insurance — you can imagine all the tests I had to have. I’m totally fine. I have inflamed muscles, not a heart problem. Whew.

    So, I’m way behind but I wanted to stop in and say Hi! and make my excuses for not having a fresh post up.

    xxoo

  48. glad to hear you are okay, katiebird! must have been very scary, though. :-(

  49. Check it out! Hillary challenges Barack to a bowl off. She is funny!

    http://www.talkleft.com

  50. Katiebird–

    I’m glad you’re OK. Take care.

  51. madamab, the scary thing is that it seems I’m the sort of person to wait 24 hours before getting the pain looked at. I first complained about it at lunch time yesterday. But, I didn’t think of going to the doctor until I thought that I should avoid driving on the highway this morning in case I did faint. Luckily at that point I realized that if there was any chance I was going to faint, I shouldn’t be driving or going to work.

    So now I’m having a delayed reaction and thinking I’m a total idiot for waiting. And terrified by what could have happened if it wasn’t such a benign problem.

  52. Thanks BostonB (drifting back to work)

  53. Bowl-off – “winner take all” – hilarious!

  54. madamab – Oui, c’est moi.

  55. kbird: glad to hear it was not serious.

    Litigator: me preguntaba donde estabas. Bienvenida.

  56. Kbird: So glad it was just a muscle problem. That’s what happens when you do your own concrete. Thanks for holding down the fort. You are doing an amazing job,

  57. Who is Anglachel? Does anyone know what her background is? She is definitely a politically astute, smart person.

  58. Actually, re: flag burning amendment. I’m all but certain she voted against it and that it was barely defeated in the Senate by one vote.

  59. Hey, a great example of Sen. Obama’s new politics:

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/129976

    Bogus email comparing his record with Sen. Clinton’s. Newsweek and Factcheck.org dig into it—Sen. Obama’s campaign doesn’t look so good.

    Quote:
    “It sets up a face-off between apples and, well, broccoli, comparing only the Clinton-sponsored bills that became law with all bills sponsored or cosponsored by Obama, whether they were signed into law or not.

    It includes legislation Obama sponsored in the Illinois state Senate, a very different legislative body.”

    Be the first on your block to defeat the meme about Sen. Obama’s feats of stratospheric legislative awesomeness.

    Question: If his record was so great. why did he have to lie about it?

    Question: Is this bullshit email the fault of a staffer or his grandma?

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