While the press has jumped all over Obama’s “bitter” comment, that really was not the controversial part. It was what came after words which appeared elitist or at least condescending. It was there Obama tried to explain every ill from dislike of free trade and immigration to the love of guns and god as a byproduct of their bitterness.
There is of course much truth in his comments but it is clouded by a “liberal elitism”. An elitism in which the dubbed working class votes against their economic interests time and time again. An elitism in which the liberals must protect the working class from the evil Republican puppeteers.
Sam Stein and his liberal, elitist self, misinterprets Thomas Frank to make a similar point as Obama tried to do.
Thomas Frank On Obama: However, his comments on the Obama flap reflect what was the underlying premise of his hit book: mainly, that people were voting against their economic interests because conservatives had galvanized them around political-identity issues.
Stein like too many liberals totally misses Frank’s thesis. It is not that the Republicans exploit cultural issues to dubb the working class, or that the working class votes against their economic interests, but that the Democratic party has long sold out the working class for their love affair with the corporate whore.
Before What’s the Matter With Kansas, Frank wrote One Market Under God. In that book he traces the genealogy of what Obama’s sees as today’s bitterness. One Market Under God tells the working class side of Clintonomics. Frank makes a direct link from the Clintonian, free trade, neo liberal policies of the 1990’s to the cultural wars that followed.
The audacity of Stein to assert that the working class is voting against their economic interests is humorous at best. The Democrats have long forsaken the economic interests of the working class. Cultural issues – guns, gods and gays – have taken center stage because the Democrats long ago signed onto the “grand compromise” that took the economic question off the table.
We need to remember that Obama’s quote on bitterness was in response to why the working class is not voting for him. Obama saw them as bitter with their bitterness expressed like a defiant child. Maybe if he took the concerns of the working class more seriously he’d call for withdrawing from the WTO, or a 10 year moratorium on trade agreements.
Certainly, what the working class has got with Obama and Clinton is a lessor of two evils. Clinton’s policies, if it is universal health care or housing is certainly better than Obama’s, but both do not go anywhere near the kind of change this country needs. Obama cries for bipartisanship. Bipartisanships my ass, every free trading, union busting, civil liberty destroying, war mongering act in the last 8 years was a result of bipartisanship. That is why in the end, Clinton is the better lessor evil. While she may not be everything the working class needs, at least she’s a fighter.