Sunday, April 13, 2008

More on the "cling to guns" flap:

Marc Cooper: (excerpts, emp add)
As the editorial coordinator of HuffPost’s OffTheBus project, I had the privilege and responsibility of doing the final edit and ultimately approving for publication the web story Friday that has set off a firestorm over Barack Obama’s remarks about a “bitter” attitude that sometimes plagues economically-pressed small towns.

Writer Mayhill Fowler’s story -- now with more than 2500 5,000 comments on it -- was picked up by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post,, the Associated Press, Fox News, Reuters, Politico, the Lou Dobbs Show, Hardball, Olbermann’s Countdown, The, The DailyKos, TalkingPointsMemo and myriad other outlets.

I want to say a few words about the author of the piece, Mayhill Fowler. A highly-educated, sophisticated intellectual as well as an ardent Obama supporter, she has become a mainstay of OffTheBus.
She's also a moron when it comes to writing about working class people. She's an artsy-fartsy fool (and rich, apparently). From the story she wrote: (excerpts, emp add)
When I began following the Obama Campaign through Pennsylvania, the place was new to me ...

Pennsylvanians are as friendly as Iowans-- and that's a huge compliment.

In the midst of this harsh pastoral, Pennsylvanians are scrappy survivors. [...] They refuse to be bound to the broken temples of commerce and manufacturing, the vacant Beaux Arts hotels, the rotting nineteenth-century row houses, the abandoned sidings and once-grand railway stations that inscribe Scranton and Wilkes-Barre and diminish Pittsburgh and Lancaster. Pennsylvanians are remarkably chipper.

These qualities of hospitality, patriotism and endurance are exactly what Californians need to hear about Pennsylvanians. And when he spoke to a group of his wealthier Golden State backers at a San Francisco fund-raiser last Sunday, Barack Obama took a shot at explaining the yawning cultural gap that separates a Turkeyfoot from a Marin County.

Obama made a problematic judgment call in trying to explain working class culture to a much wealthier audience. He described blue collar Pennsylvanians with a series of what in the eyes of Californians
[!] might be considered pure negatives: guns, clinging to religion, antipathy, xenophobia.

I'm not sure this is what at least this lot of Californians needed to hear about Pennsylvanians. Such phrases can reinforce negative stereotypes among Californians, who are a people in a state already surfeited with a smug sense of superiority and, as an ironic consequence, a parochialism and insularity at odds with the innovation, prosperity and openness for which California is rightly known. (Of course, this is a generalization, and as such does not fit everyone; but as a state characteristic I stand by it.) Californians might be better served by hearing that Pennsylvanians have a strong sense of their place in American history, for here California is wanting.

To give Obama his due, he spoke about working class Pennsylvanians likely because he had been thinking about them a great deal. [...] It's curious, then, that he often has such a hard time making a connection with many working class Americans.
Of course Fowler is free to write what she wants, and being an Obama supporter is no reason why a journalist should keep quiet about a candidate's "flub". But she is so totally unaware of why Obama is having trouble reaching lower-class whites, and that's evident in her writing. Not only does she make broad, and innacurate, remarks about Pennsylvanians ("friendly as Iowans", "remarkably chipper"), but she also has inane things to say about Californians (too many to list here). But she's a "sophisticated intellectual", and that explains why she doesn't see things as they are.

She's so invested with her poetic view of various states (PA, CA) that she's blind to statements Obama made that, while they align with her sentiments, have terrible optics. And get a load of this from her bio page:
What can I tell you? I'm an over-educated sixty year-old woman with politics in my blood.
Really? How over-educated? We'd all like to know.

CODA: Reading the comments at Huffington Post, there are many that consider Fowler to be pro-Hillary (or anti-Obama). Not so. She's just clueless.


Obama's statement mentions God and guns. All that's missing is Teh Gay and he'd have mentioned the full litany of how just about every pundit refers to the wedge issues of the Repubs for the last few decades.

How dare he!!!

By Blogger gmoke, at 4/13/2008 9:20 PM  

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