Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 15, 2008
POLITICS: Twisting the Knife

Well, if Senator Obama wants to get away from his remarks about small-town Americans at a fundraiser on Billionaires' Row, his opponents aren't going to make it easy for him. First up, John McCain, who calls Obama's refusal to disavow his statements "defining" because it suggests that Obama really thinks that people's values on fundamental issues are shaped by economics - and we know that if there's one thing that's a constant in McCain's value system, it's that there are things more important than money:

H/T. Meanwhile, The NRCC is eager to use Rube-gate as an opening to prove Erick Erickson's point by hammering vulnerable House Dems who may not be thrilled to align themselves with Obama:

It helps in dispelling the myth that somehow Barack Obama is good for Democrats down ballot. In the districts that many target Democrats won in 2006, they did so with the help of the kind of rural, church-going, gun-toting voters that Obama appears to disdain.

Then there's Hillary, who wants us to know that Harry and Louise are, er, still bitter over this:


And a thought: you know who might find that this is a good time to speak up for small central Pennsylvania towns? Lynn Swann, that's who.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:02 AM | Politics 2008 | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

Oh, you are looking for the opinion of someone from small town Pennsylvania? (I'm sure you would prefer all of your opinions from Republicans like Swann, but too bad)

Oh, and by the way - the Steelers owner endorsed Obama.

Posted by: jp2 at April 15, 2008 12:39 PM

I find it amusing that Senator Clinton has suddenly found a love of the Second Amendment. Maybe she'll show us the skills her father taught her by disassembling, cleaning and reassembling a Ruger Mark lll. If she can do that in less than 15 minutes, I'll believe she actually has a knowledge of firearms.

After watching BO try to bowl and the great pleasures it provided, I just can't wait for her to show me the many ways that she is "one of us".

Posted by: NRA Life Member at April 15, 2008 12:46 PM

Why do politicians running for President attempt to make themselves look like they are "one of us"? Maybe, more to the point, the question is why does a sector of the country seem to want that? I don't want the President to be like me or most people I know. I would certainly think I would want a President to be older than me, more than a regular college degree holder, more world travelled, more published, more willing to deal with others that he/she does not like, less willing to take time off work to go watch baseball games, etc. I'm good at living my life but I don't want the President to be anything like that. Shit, I hope Obama can't bowl. That makes me think, "He's been doing other things that are more conducive to being a world leader than bowling." I sure as hell don't need images of HC doing shots of Crown Royal with a beer back in my head. For the record, I don't drink Crown Royal.

Posted by: jim at April 15, 2008 1:00 PM

That's my view too, Jim, only you wrote it differently. I was trying to say that these "one of you" moments make them look like obvious phonies unless there's real truth to it. I neglected to include that as long as they respect me as an intelligent adult and a free citizen, there is no need for them to participate in any of my favorite activities, and even if they did, that would not be my primary reason for pledging my vote.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at April 15, 2008 3:12 PM

However, it seems that "being a regular person" has become a or even the main theme of running these campaigns. It's ridiculous. It's like a complete over-reaction to GHWB appearing to be mystified by a grocery store scanner. While, admittedly, looking as if you had never even heard of such a device does not make for positive video my thought always was, "I sure hope the head of the CIA, VP and President doesn't do his own shopping." Apparently one can't win at this game though. Go bowling and shoot 37 (or whatever) and look like a doofus or don't go bowling and look like someone who looks down on bowlers and the concept of bowling. I really do want the President (and presumably the candidates of choice) to be the highest caliber individuals possible, I want them to be well-connected, I want them to be incredibly well educated, I want them to be well-travelled and presumably somewhat world-savvy. In short I want these people to be better in the particular categories than am I. I should be a better ping-pong player than Barack (I am), no more about wine than McCain (I do) and be a more convincing taker of shots of whiskey than HC (I have no doubt I am). Good god, let these people run for President and allow them to act accordingly. Why do we require a freaking side show?

Posted by: jim at April 15, 2008 3:24 PM

jim - You and I agree on a few things here. First, the bowling flap was silly, although probably harmless - most people aren't going to hold it against Obama that he doesn't seem to go bowling much. Second, although politicians have been working for ages to seem like a regular guy (e.g., a railsplitter born in a log cabin), I'd been thinking about quite how much this got accelerated by the 1992 campaign, with the scanner thing and some other controversies ("message: I care") about GHWB being, well, a rich old-money WASP and son of a Senator (duh!).

That said, my longstanding point stands: what rankles people is the sense of cultural elitism, i.e., a leader who disdains things like their religious faith and their guns that are important to people. I argued after the 2004 election that what the Democrats needed to do was quit pretending on those issues - either you nominate a more culturally conservative candidate or you run as who you are.

Obama's managed to box himself in on religion. He gave a fine speech on this in 04, and he was playing up his faith not just to appeal to religious voters but also to fight off charges of being a secret crypto-Muslim. The problem is, when all the stuff about his pastor came to light, he suddenly had to start distancing himself from his own church, and more came to light suggesting that perhaps joining Wright's church was politically opportunistic, an impression Obama didn't even work too hard to counter because he was so busy running away. Now, add in the latest flap and people are starting to suspect the sincerity of his professions of faith.

Posted by: The Crank at April 15, 2008 3:36 PM

First off, I meant to type "know wine". Ouch, embarrassing typo there.

Clearly, Obama made a gaffe that will likely never go away. Annoyingly it seems to have ramped up the "I am more like a regular Joe than you" stuff incredibly. If I have to hear Wellesley grad, Yale grad, former law partner, former 1st lady Ms. Clinton tell everyone she thinks Obama is an elitist I think I might puke. I KNOW if I see her in a PA bar shooting CR and beer again I will puke. The whole scene is utterly ridiculous and does nothing but diminish those who pander in it and those who insist (apparently) on being pandered to in this way.

I don't know Obama well enough to know if he's looking down his nose at the people he categorized, if he WAY overgeneralized or if being a city kid and city guy (from a really big city) he just stated a naive yet widely held stereotype of rural (and, let's be honest here, Appalachian) America. Perhaps it is some combination of all three. He would be far from the only person be they white, black, Dem or GOP that had that run through their brain. Again, I don't know what he truly thinks and anyone who is pontificated on this without having met the man doesn't really know either.

My point is that every candidate's job is essentially has become who can phony themselves up the best, lie about pretty much everything, tell people what they want to hear rather than the truth and attempt to look like someone who, if they don't get the job as President, would be happy with a job at Lumpy's Tavern pulling pints. It is totally ridiculous.

Does he automatically get pulled from contention for this? I don't know. McCain can call his wife a c*** in public and still go merrily about his business as a politician and since I am pretty sure that anything that any of them says is posturing and total BS, especially in a campaign/fundraiser situation, that this will be an issue until McCain sets a mongoose on fire or Hilary commandeers a limo and drives 120 MPH down the PCH. Whatever, call me the 2nd Tuesday in November when this is all over. I literally could not be more tired of it than I am and I recently got to be away from it recently for 2+ weeks in Europe.

Posted by: jim at April 15, 2008 6:47 PM

As if McCain's youtube forays and going on Letterman arent equally transparent attempts to convince dissimilar voting demographics that he's "one of them". Which is it by the way, his wife's beer money or public financing, Bush tax cuts or not, his own immigration bill or not, torture or not? He's a flip flopping opportunist and you know it, and he ducks talking about his religion guessed it...he's a secular flip flopper there too, from Episcopalian to nonbaptized Baptist. That shit is getting noticed by Evangelicals.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at April 15, 2008 7:54 PM

Let's have a Conservative Moment of Honesty: who do you think they'd rather have as president, all other things being equal, someone who graduated Harvard Law School and presided over Law Review, or a beer drinking, squirrel shooting coal miner? I thought so... the closest the Repubs have come to nominating someone from the latter category is W, cuz he fits the mental profile without , yannow, that nasty PWT baggage.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at April 15, 2008 8:23 PM

Like most people, I'd rather have someone who shares my values, not someone who sneers at them.

It's not about brains or education. I'm all in favor of going to Harvard Law, obviously, although I wouldn't vote for most of the people I went to law school with. It's about culture.

Posted by: The Crank at April 15, 2008 8:30 PM

I have to agree with you....your support for W is absolutely not based on his brains.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at April 15, 2008 8:36 PM

Give me brains. Not everyone shares my particular values so I don't go about trying to impose them on everyone else. I don't need a leader who is going to impose some "moral agenda" as their top priority. That kind of stuff has historically led to huge problems. I would rather have people who can solve problems. Government is not there to provide my culture or morals. Stupid people running a morality driven culture is a horrendous idea. I want smart people in every aspect of my life. I want smart people working for me, I want smart friends, I want smart people running the Red Sox and I would prefer that someday we have smart people running our government.

Posted by: jim at April 16, 2008 11:24 AM
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