Kid Oakland has had another terrible shock that has sent him reeling once again to the fainting couch. Poor dear. Just a little over a week ago, Kid was making noises about working on some kind of rapproachment with Clinton supporters in the hopes that we would come around and accept Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee. But that’s all water under the bridge now that Hillary Clinton has dared to mention Obama’s latest faux pas.
As we all know by now, Barack was trying to explain to a group of wealthy San Francisco voters why he can’t seem to make any headway with small-town Pennsylvania voters, and he came out with this beauty:
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.
It’s not Barack’s fault, though. How could he know that someone was taping his presentation, even though the press had been locked out of the private meeting? It’s just so unfair! And Hillary should have ignored Barack’s little lapse into condescension toward small-town, working-class Pennsylvanians, because if only she hadn’t pushed it, the corporate media would have probably let it drop, right? Kid Oakland is so upset. He’s just beside himself. He writes:
In their hunger for power and their political cynicism, the Clintons have taken one passage from a speech by Barack Obama and staked the entire future of this campaign upon using that misconstrued passage to tear Senator Obama and the political movement behind him down. The Clintons have no compunction about ripping the Democratic party apart and destroying the career of Barack Obama if it means they might yet win.
Oh, those nasty, dastardly Clintons! According to Kid Oakland, Barack’s own words have had nothing to do with people getting this mistaken impression. It’s all Hillary’s fault. And, get this:
This is not new. It’s been brewing since Clinton lost Iowa; this is part of a deliberate attempt to smear Barack Obama and his supporters as elitist and out of touch.
Yes, folks, that evil witch Hillary and her husband have been plotting to paint poor Barack as an elitist ever since Hillary lost Iowa. How does Kid Oakland know this? He doesn’t say. Instead he offers the words of Machinists Union President Thomas Buffenberger in a speech at a Clinton rally before the Ohio primary.
“Hope. Change. Yes we can.” GIVE ME A BREAK! I’ve got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing trust-fund babies crowding in to hear him speak. This guy won’t last a round against the Republican attack machine. He’s a poet not a fighter.
I’m sure Kid didn’t mean to, but he left some important context out of his reporting of Buffenberger’s remarks. Buffenberger was outraged because Obama was repeatedly referring to the loss of 1600 jobs at the Maytag plant in Galesburg, IL in his stump speech. Obama had met with those workers and promised to intervene for them with one of his powerful supporters. Instead, Obama did nothing and then had the nerve to shed “crocodile tears” about those lost jobs in his stump speech. Here’s a part of Buffenberger’s speech that Kid Oakland conveniently ignored.
“He didn’t lift a finger to help those people when they needed help the most,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger, whose union represented the workers at Maytag. “Even now, he doesn’t have a clue and thinks those jobs went overseas and not to Mexico.”
“This is the same candidate who recently labeled unions as ‘special interest’ groups with too much influence in Washington, D.C.,” said Buffenbarger. “For the last eight years, we’ve defended our members’ jobs, pensions and health care benefits against a political agenda that’s been openly hostile to unions and working families. But a Johnny come lately candidate won’t solve the problem facing blue collar families.”
You can watch the entire Buffenberger speech here.
Yes, Barack met with the workers in Galesburg in 2004 and he even mentioned them in his speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention. According to the Chicago Tribune,
Obama had a special connection to Maytag: Lester Crown, one of the company’s directors and biggest investors whose family, records show, has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Obama’s campaigns since 2003. But Crown says Obama never raised the fate of the Galesburg plant with him, and the billionaire industrialist insists any jawboning would have been futile.
Perhaps Obama’s pleas would have been “futile,” but it still might have been nice if he had made the case for the Galesburg Maytag workers anyway. I can only assume that Obama didn’t want to risk offending a wealthy and influential supporter like Crown by arguing in favor of the workers who had begged Obama to talk to Crown. I wonder why the Machinists Union decided to endorse Hillary Clinton instead of Barack Obama?
In his latest screed at the big orange cheetos place, Kid Oakland argues at length that it is Hillary Clinton, not poor put upon Barack Obama, who is the elitist. You can go over there and read KO’s convoluted claims if you’re interested. I’m sorry, I just don’t buy it. If Obama didn’t mean it, he shouldn’t have said it in the first place. And as Lambert says, there are worse charges than elitism
…if there’s a charge that is career destroying in American politics, it’s the charge of racism, which the Obama campaign has cheerfully and freely deployed against not only the Clintons, but Hillary’s supporters as well. (The most vile forms of misogny have also been cheerfully and freely deployed against Clinton by the Obama campaign, and if I have anything to do with it, that will be career destroying. As indeed it ought to be.)
Grow up, kid. Look in the mirror.
Toward the end of his diary, KO says of Hillary Clinton
When you foment mistrust and resentment that hides your own policy views or the policy views of the candidate you are supporting, you are no friend of the working person. Quite the opposite. When you misrepresent political allies who share broad common ground with your listeners for the sake of political gain, the only thing you favor is the status quo.
But who is misrepresenting whose words? KO continues his lecture:
At the end of the day, Americans must ask ourselves, what is it that Barack Obama and his coalition of voters are trying to do in 2008? What are Obama’s intentions? What does he stand for? How might his statement have been deliberately misconstrued by a corporate media, a Republican Party and a Clinton campaign eager to tear him down?
These are good questions, but Kid Oakland doesn’t answer them in his diary. What does Obama stand for? What are his intentions? I don’t know the answers. I just know that he wants to be a “transformational” President who brings “hope” and “change,” but I don’t know what kind of change or whose hopes will materialize if Obama is elected. Maybe Barack should start tell us instead of blaming voters for not figuring it out for themselves?