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Friday, April 11, 2008

Re: Ooops X 2

posted by on April 11 at 14:22 PM

Obviously, the main faux pas Obama made here (despite the fact that he’s totally right) is that he comes off as condescending to working-class voters.

But there’s another misstep. In Obama’s list of misguided blue-collar notions—clinging to religion, guns— he includes “anti-trade sentiment.”

But didn’t Obama just spend a whole lot of time in Ohio (despite what his campaign aides did or didn’t tell the Canadian government) saying that he’s against NAFTA? (He also voted against CAFTA.)

So, how does he explain his own false consciousness?

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Josh, both NAFTA and CAFTA have INCREASED American jobs (as would the trade agreement with Colombia), by encouraging greater importation of American goods into those countries. Now, I don't expect the average voter to understand that - hell, I don't expect the average Slogger to understand that - but I sure as hell expect a candidate for President to understand it.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 11, 2008 2:32 PM

Ya know, I just got back from a place south of here and I will tell ya, in other parts of the country Obama is considered the divisive one (Not Hillary). I am sure that some of it is racist.

But I also talked to folks who just don't like him because he comes across as condescending and elitist. In their minds Obama is a more charismatic and likable John Kerry -- Blue Blooded, Northern, Harvard Educated, Condescending and Elitist.

I am not saying I agree, I am just pointing out the perception of him in places outside the blue bubbles many of us travel to and from.

Posted by I'm Smarter | April 11, 2008 2:48 PM

Marxists are nice people and all, but why do they have to talk shit all the time. I can't understand a word they say. That wikipage on false consciousness was drivel.

Posted by blank12357 | April 11, 2008 2:53 PM


'Understand that'? Talk about condescension. Neoliberalism has complex effects. I expect a president to understand the overall macroeconomic benefits, just as I expect him/her to understand the downsides.

But it's really not as simple as 'creates jobs.' It will take jobs away and result in new jobs. The big issue isn't so much the arithmetic (num jobs) as what kind of jobs, who gets which ones, and just in general, who gains from the changes. Those are the hard questions. "Will make new jobs for americans" is an easy question to answer. The important questions for most people, though, "Will it take MY job? Will it make a better job available to ME that I can switch to?" are hard questions, and the answers are different for everybody.

Posted by john | April 11, 2008 2:56 PM

I think you meant to say "increases pollution" instead of "creates jobs" ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 11, 2008 3:01 PM

Correct, John @4, but it was already getting to be a longish post. And the debate over which jobs are lost and which are gained is a can of worms at best.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 11, 2008 3:05 PM

Anti-NAFTA =/= Anti-Trade

Posted by ru shur | April 11, 2008 3:10 PM

Come on, this is easy. The obvious, inevitable response is "I don't hate free trade, I just don't like everything about NAFTA". You're getting lazy here, Josh.

Posted by tsm | April 11, 2008 3:40 PM

Obama just said that, among other things, "anti-trade sentiment" stems from trouble finding a steady job.

In the section of 'The Audacity of Hope' on the economy, he talks about the need to be forward-looking in America. We can't cut ourselves off from the global economy that's growing so quickly, and we have to look out for our immediate needs. If NAFTA doesn't serve those needs, out it goes and we take a new approach.

That kind of position, which is neither "pro-trade" nor "anti-trade", is reasonable. Any stark declaration of one or the other without compromise is not.

Posted by V | April 11, 2008 3:49 PM

I support NAFTA.

I'm not saying O is wrong too. I'm just saying, it appears he's talking out of both sides of his mouth. No?

Posted by Josh Feit | April 11, 2008 4:04 PM

No! You can fail to support NAFTA and still not be brazenly anti- or pro-trade.

If only politicians would more often look at both sides of the issue, or consider the legality of a position before taking it publicly.

Stop acting like everyone else in the media.

Posted by V | April 11, 2008 4:13 PM

Predictably, Sen. Clinton pounces: "Pennsylvanians don't need a President who looks down on them."

Posted by Bub | April 11, 2008 4:16 PM


Right, because to Clinton PA is one of the states that "counts".

Posted by levide | April 11, 2008 4:30 PM

I guess they don't drink lattes or drive SUVs in PA.

Posted by JC | April 11, 2008 4:45 PM

Come on Josh, being against free trade is obviously not the same thing as being against trade itself. I think Obama was referring to isolationist weirdos that really don't think we should trade with people at all.

Posted by w7ngman | April 11, 2008 5:07 PM

Okay, so where are the folks like unPC, McG, Emily, etc.? They'll take the bait and pounce on this. Anything to be negative... They have no social skills.

Posted by McCain/Crist '08! | April 11, 2008 5:53 PM

5280: You're in denial. America doesn't make any goods any more.

Posted by K | April 11, 2008 6:11 PM

I live amongst the same people Obama is talking about and they are uneducated about almost all the issues except guns, gays,
abortion, and NASCAR.
The people I live around never, ever leave their county let alone their state. Some of them are scared to drive 55 miles to a "big city" like Indianapolis for fear they will be raped, mugged, or killed.
They are ignorant HICKS. There I said it. My neighbors are ignorant because the powers that be want them that way and they are happily led by the nose through their lives, safe and serene.
Once this are was solidly D, not it is solidly R because of ONE thing... abortion.

Posted by G in INdiana | April 12, 2008 4:28 AM

Meh. Obama pretty much hit the target, and sadly if he seems "condescending" and "out of touch" it just reflects the wounded pride a lot of Americans have when confronting people who use the language of academics. His tone and content BOTH seem to match that of anthropologists who study things like poverty and class and economists who study economics to do more than act as blind-faith cheerleaders for the free market(better known as "business shills.")

This doesn't particularly surprise me, his mother was a social anthropologist and that had to rub off on him a little bit. For those who try to claim that he's "elite" and loaded, try to remember where he came from.

I live with a social anthropologist. They don't make a lot of money, generally, as I am reminded every time I look at our cashflow.

Anyway, I got a bit off-topic here;
Obama's right on the money, I lived in an area exactly like the ones he is talking about. Western NY state. For those who are wondering, this region shares the economic misery of rust-belt places like Indiana coupled with the wonder of statewide policies that are tailor made for the rich part of New York(NYC and its surrounding environs). I was broke for most of that stage of my life and my family certainly didn't do well and shared a lot of veiled xenophobia, resentment, and racism that he is talking about and didn't do better for myself until I made it to the west coast. My family weren't the only people I knew like this, my dad wasn't the only person I heard complaining about " and women taking his job" in the wake of the steady 30+-year economic tailspin. I have to say there are plenty of folk with eight chins and no hope running around the countryside who are probably even more bitter than the poor bastards stuck in places like Rochester and Buffalo. Maybe he's alienating some of the people he's trying to speak for here but I give him points for at least truthfully and (I think respectfully) saying something largely truthful in comparison to your usual pandering.

Posted by Wackistan | April 12, 2008 7:23 AM

What @19 said - yes, that is Buffalo right there, although it was mostly Mexicans and other nonwhite folk, not women, they hated for taking jobs.

Posted by tsm | April 12, 2008 8:32 AM

it must be a real challenge for a candidate as smart as obama to dumb it down enough for the kind of people who are suffering economically, but vote repug because of abortion. how DOES an intelligent person get thru to those kind of rubes? maybe dems abandon the whole abortion controversy altogether, i'm starting to think. back-burner it. it's just too divisive and an effective repug tool.

Posted by ellarosa | April 12, 2008 12:48 PM

Barach Oboma was a follower of the Reverend Wright for a number of years and has talked on the good things the minister had done (in his opinion) but not much about the false accusations made by him and his church concerning their concern ( in their opinion) for the egregious acts committed by the U.S. Govt.
Now Barrach is affiliated with George Soros whose views about our society and politics are well known. The speech made by Barrach closely reflect George’s views on our country and his political science views namely the validity of our constitutional rights including- the right to bear arms and freedom of religion.
I remember the Communists used to refer to our freedom of religion as a narcotic of the masses’ .I am concerned that Barach’s speech was a trial balloon to see how the public will react to Barach’s/ George Soros opinions and the direction they want the United States to go.

Posted by John Son | April 12, 2008 2:37 PM

RE: #22

Looks like the tinfoil hats have come to town. Heh heh heh. I suppose I could say more than just make some ad-hominem arguement but I'm lazy.

Posted by Wackistan | April 13, 2008 4:49 PM

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