It seems as if Barack Obama has continued in the tradition of Howard Dean insofar as being unable to resist the impulse to insult the working class. Dean, some will recall, said he wanted to reach out to those folks with Confederate flags on their pick-up trucks, and then turned around and lambasted social conservatives for their supposed obsession with “guns, gays, and God” or something to that effect.
Now, Obama steps in with a similar gaffe, making derisive remarks about working class people and their attachment to guns and religion and their hostility to “those who are different” and to “trade”. Read all about it.
That a politician as otherwise savvy as Obama could fuck up so royally is indicative of the contempt that liberals and leftists secretly (and often not so secretly) hold for working class Americans, particularly those of the infamous “white” species. Some writers have wondered why the Republican scam of combining social populism and plutocracy could have lasted as long as it did (since Kevin Phillips designed Nixon’s “southern strategy” in 1968). In comments like these from the likes of Dean or Obama, we have our answer. The Republican scam works, because the Democratic scam of combining plutocracy and counterculturalism is even more ridiculous.
I’m sure the typical liberal politician views red state Americans as subhuman white trash, and privately considers it to be beneath his/her liberal dignity to even try to gain support from such people. They do so only out of a very grudging sense of political necessity. And then they end up with the proverbial foot in the mouth (or up the ass).
The ironic thing is they could probably have it both ways. A Democratic Party that reinvented itself as a virulent economic populist-nationalist party a la Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan or even Ralph Nader could no doubt secure a bright future for itself. A Democratic Party that sold itself to the average Joe as the party that will bring home the bacon by withdrawing from NAFTA and the WTO, closing the trade deficit, restoring the value of the dollar on the international currency market, shutting down the importation of cheap Third World labor by corporate America, cutting taxes from the bottom up, and reducing the cost of health care through specific, targeted reforms would dominate American elections for another few generations.
On social questions, they wouldn’t have to be backward-looking reactionaries like Buchanan (no abortions for rape victims, reinstate sodomy laws, etc.). They could just be slightly right-of-center moderates so far as their rhetoric and propaganda went. Then, once in power, they could start sneaking in every left-liberal pet cause through the back door or under the table. Simply appointing judges to the federal and state courts who will uphold abortion rights, gay rights, civil rights, animal rights, environmental rights, church/state separation and even more radical causes like vegans’ rights, transgendered rights, druggies’ rights, hookers’ rights, vagrants’ rights, prisoners’ rights, satanic cults’ rights, and even death row inmates’ rights. Just allow the red staters to keep their guns, go to church, start homeschools, raise their own children the way they want, and have peace in their own neighborhoods and everything should be fine. But it won’t happen because the Democrats are should as much a tool of the plutocracy as the Republicans.
This is the perfect season for a Democratic victory. An immensely unpopular sitting Republican President that’s losing two wars and running the economy into the ground is about as good as one could hope for. If the Democrats lose, then they should declare their party to be beyond hope and disband.