Desperately Clinging to Guns & God

The little brick houses in my neighborhood are disappearing. People who want to live here but dislike the current housing options tear them down and build bigger and more luxurious homes. These nice homes are very different from those they displace. The people who live in them are different too. In driveways next to old houses, you find Chevy pickups holding the tools of McCain supporters. In the multicar garages of the new homes are Prius with Obama bumper stickers.

It goes deeper than that. Whole Foods comes to displace Safeway. Restaurant offerings change from home style to ethnic fusion. There are fewer kids playing on the streets and Virginia accent becomes less and less common in this part of Virginia. The area is gentrifying. Lawyers and government workers are replacing the small business employees and owners.

I have been thinking about Obama’s clinging comments in San Francisco - that people cling to guns and religion because they are bitter about their lives. I think the guys in the big new houses would agree with him when talking about the people they displaced. I wonder what the other side thinks of them. It shows how out of touch the communities really are.

Some people had a culture that included guns and religion long before any of the current economic downturns or upturns. My old neighbors understand that hunting is a great tradition that brings people closer to nature and their faith helps them find meaning in life. My new neighbors know about hunting from watching Bambi and many probably think of faith in God as something to be found in anthropological texts. There is a disconnect.

Obama’s clinging comment may not hurt him. After all, we don’t have a video and the friendly media is spinning Obama’s way, i.e. emphasizing “bitter” over “clings” and generally ignoring the mindset that would move someone to say something so silly. It may just show how society has changed, that the rural & working population really is marginalized to the extent that San Francisco liberals talk about them like some kind of exotic tribe, not with anger but with a kind of pity. Maybe the future does belong to the guys in the big houses, who drive Prius, shop at Whole Foods and vote Obama. I hope not but It will be interesting to see. You have to give them credit for improving the quality of the local restaurants and their houses are prettier, although shopping at Whole Foods is a collosal waste of money.

Posted by Jack at April 16, 2008 8:02 PM
Comments
Comment #250760

Jack,

“although shopping at Whole Foods is a collosal waste of money.”

I don’t shop at “Whole Foods” but the organic market I do shop at occasionally has the best steaks I have ever tasted. Yes it’s a bit more expensive, but I know I am not ingesting hormones that don’t really belong in beef, and I know for a fact that the herbivore I am eating hasn’t been fed meat proteins.

On the true note of your post;
I find it interesting that those that are whining the loudest, and spinning the most violently about Obama’s perceived gaffes, are the ones that aren’t going to vote for him anyway.

So exactly, what is the point?

Can’t we just have an intelligent debate about the issues without all the baloney?

Oh, and BTW, sarcasm doesn’t seem to be one of your strong points.

Posted by: Rocky at April 16, 2008 9:52 PM
Comment #250765

Jack

I saw the title and knew right away that it was written by none other.

The words were simply a poor choice. A bad way to define a reality. I believe I heard that 75% were not offended by the statement. I would think that indicates those people understand what he was saying and are in agreement with his assessment.

I seriously doubt that republican attempts to paint him as an elitist will work in his case. In order to continue in the direction of unity he must treat people of all classes and geographical place as equals. This would involve the discussion of various problems by region, with all regions. Not just catering to one group or region as if their individual problems are all that matters. It is that honest, open and realistic direct approach to concerns which lends credence to his message. People can associate with that better than half hearted political rhetoric of old.

Posted by: RickIL at April 16, 2008 10:54 PM
Comment #250768

Rocky

Re whole foods and opposing development - Development near Metro stops (as I am talking about) is very specific. It is really important to have density near them; otherwise the transit system doesn’t do what it is supposed to do. And if you don’t develop near these stops, you get a lot more development into the countryside and a lot more sprawl and congestion.

You can buy organic food at many places. Some of it is good; some not. Whole Foods, as I recall, doesn’t even sell Coca-Cola. How can anybody shop there?
Rocky and Rick
Re Obama – I do not feel his comments are insulting particularly. They ARE indicative of an attitude that I have seen in many occasions. Those people he was talking to in San Francisco just cannot understand why anybody would not support liberal policies, especially the poor or working people they think such policies will help. So when somebody in those groups does not support more intrusive government programs, they think there is something wrong with “those people”. I have not read it, but I understand there is a whole book re that called “What is Wrong with Kansas.”

This outlook depends on a couple of fallacies. The most important is that liberal economic policies actually help the working poor, but set that one aside. Stipulate for the sake of argument that this idea is true. What liberals cannot seem to understand is that no everybody votes based on their perceived economic interests, or that aspect is only one of many criteria. Values count for more among many people.

Beyond that, liberal analysis is often not dynamic. They fail to understand that today’s working poor person doesn’t always have the class consciousness academics think they should because they don’t intent to stay poor. There is a lot of mobility through the economic system. The guy making $20K in his 20s might be making $100K when he reaches 50 and he is not eager to upset the system before then.

Posted by: Jack at April 17, 2008 4:28 AM
Comment #250769


What policies Jack?

Posted by: Dawn at April 17, 2008 8:06 AM
Comment #250773

Hi Jack

Still spinning I see. Everyone knows what Obama said is true. Its not insulting without a stretch by those looking for an excuse to be insulted or find some nuanced anti-Obama spin.Unfortunately the later includes yourself and ,oddly,HC. Strange bedfellows.
You are useing stereotyps. I do not know about Virginia but on the Left Coast there are plenty of Chevy pick-ups bearing tools and Obama stickers. There are in fact plenty of tradesmen quite capable of asessing the worth of a candidate based on a multitude of aspects. A lot of us are fed up with getting hamered over healthcare,for example, and recognize McCain has nothing to offer except more of the same. A lot of us think the Iraq war was a mistake and resent the hell out of being lied into it. McCain wants to be there a hundred years. You are,in the guise of defending us poor working class slobs, doing exactly what you accuse Obama of. It won’t work this time.

Speaking of religion and guns, Iraq seems to have plenty of both. Can’t be much hunting though.

Posted by: BillS at April 17, 2008 8:42 AM
Comment #250774

Hi Jack

Still spinning I see. Everyone knows what Obama said is true. Its not insulting without a stretch by those looking for an excuse to be insulted or find some nuanced anti-Obama spin.Unfortunately the later includes yourself and ,oddly,HC. Strange bedfellows.
You are useing stereotyps. I do not know about Virginia but on the Left Coast there are plenty of Chevy pick-ups bearing tools and Obama stickers. There are in fact plenty of tradesmen quite capable of asessing the worth of a candidate based on a multitude of aspects. A lot of us are fed up with getting hamered over healthcare,for example, and recognize McCain has nothing to offer except more of the same. A lot of us think the Iraq war was a mistake and resent the hell out of being lied into it. McCain wants to be there a hundred years. You are,in the guise of defending us poor working class slobs, doing exactly what you accuse Obama of. It won’t work this time.

Speaking of religion and guns, Iraq seems to have plenty of both. Can’t be much hunting though.

Posted by: BillS at April 17, 2008 8:44 AM
Comment #250776

Sorry for the double post. I have an extreme slow connection,prone to failure, in a land far far away. I found out today I have to travel 6 hours to Manila to get the forms from the embassy in order for my wife and I to vote. We will do it and it won’t be for McCain.

Posted by: BillS at April 17, 2008 9:00 AM
Comment #250777

And to think Jack used to criticize proponents of class warfare in politics. Now, he has become a proponent of class warfare for political purposes. Amazing what being identified with a minority Party can do to one’s perspective and values in political debate.

Integrity doesn’t change with majority party shifts, Jack. Something McCain would do well to learn, even at his late stage in life. Old dogs can learn new tricks. Question is, will this one? You know, to many, a person who shifts with the wind might be viewed as a maverick in no uncertain terms. Perhaps that is how the moniker was obtained by McCain, eh?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 17, 2008 9:04 AM
Comment #250778

Jack

Did you watch the democratic debate last night on ABC?

What did you think about those comments?

I think the whole country is moving past Obama’s previous “gaffe” and looking at issues like taxes and the war in Iraq.

In case you really want to talk about this there is already a discussion on the blue side of this website.

I logged on to this site hoping to read a discussion about Obama’s or McCain’s position on taxes. I was extremely dissapointed to see this post you can do better.

Posted by: Jason Ziegler at April 17, 2008 9:06 AM
Comment #250779

So Obama supporters all drive Priuses, live in big houses, and shop at Whole foods, while McCain supporters drive pickup trucks with gun racks? And Obama’s comments were stereotypical? Then there’s me, with my 2 bedroom apartment and my 6 year old Ford Focus. Where do I fit in your neatly packaged world?

The only hope McCain has of beating Obama is to find a way to shatter the broad-based coalition of voters supporting him. The suburban empty-nest mom with her corporate job and her 401K and her son serving in Iraq, the farmer getting squeezed by the big agribusinesses, the cubicle worker staring downsizing in the face. These are the Obama supporters that scare the Right, and for good reason, because THESE are the real average American. Not your latte swigging liberals, not your gun-toting conservatives, but the average joes and janes that go to work, pay their taxes, and hope to God somebody bigger doesn’t squish them. These are the people that Bush has forgot, these are the people that Obama has found, and they will put him in the white house.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at April 17, 2008 9:38 AM
Comment #250781

leatherankh,
The “suburban empty-nest mom with her corporate job and her 401K and her son serving in Iraq” I know is voting for McCain because she is afraid that all the effort that has cost some the friends of her son their lives and her all manner of anxiety will be tossed away by a guy who lately seems only barely ready for prime-time as a state senator, much less a president of the United States.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 17, 2008 10:08 AM
Comment #250784

Lee,

“…because she is afraid that all the effort that has cost some the friends of her son their lives…”

Talk about stereotypes.

We all have been hearing this anecdote for years about anybody that hasn’t been in lock-step with the right’s agenda, and I for one am sooo sick of hearing this sort of hyperbole I could spew.

Isn’t it time we gave this chestnut a rest?

Posted by: Rocky at April 17, 2008 11:10 AM
Comment #250791

Since when do people in McMansions drive anything not twice the size of a Prius? Escalades, Denalis, Navigators and other things that would make your Chevy pickup look like a compact are more common with those people here.

On BHO, “Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.”, except those whose families had already lived here for a century and a half and didn’t have to make the trip across the ocean.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 17, 2008 12:24 PM
Comment #250810
Jack wrote: … i.e. emphasizing “bitter” over “clings” and generally ignoring the mindset that would move someone to say something so silly.
Not merely “silly”, but denigrating.
Jack wrote: The people who live in them are different too. In driveways next to old houses, you find Chevy pickups holding the tools of McCain supporters. In the multicar garages of the new homes are Prius with Obama bumper stickers.
Is that an accurate picture of the entire nation?

That sounds very much like another broad generalization (which are rarely accurate), such as Obama’s gaffe.
Especially since the comment is not praising those people with Obama stickers on their Prius automobiles.

There is definitely some spin on both sides (e.g. both by Democrats and Republicans), and some of it is unfair.

However, it is completely plausible, logical, and understandable why many reasonable and fair-minded people have concerns about Barack Obama’s statements (and not only people in “a lot of small towns”).

Jack wrote: … i.e. emphasizing “bitter” over “clings” and generally ignoring the mindset that would move someone to say something so silly.
Many tactics have been used to attempt to shift emphasis, shift focus, explain-away, and cloud the issue, such as:
  • Some claim Obama didn’t really say what he meant to say;
    • However, that is difficult to believe in view of Obama’s previous comments in the Charlie Rose interview, and his voting record on gun-control, and free-trade, and illegal immigration (grades.betterimmigration.com/compare.php3?District=IL&Category=0&Status=Career&VIPID=1162)
  • Some claim Obama merely misspoke, and/or chose his words poorly, and/or merely mangled the real meaning and it was totally accidental;
    • However, Obama defended it as “true”, and the subsequent clarifications said essentially the same thing;
  • Some claim Obama “said something that everybody knows is true”.;
    • However, it is not true because:
      • (1) It can not possibly be true of all people in even one single “small town”, much less “a lot of small towns”. There is diversity even in small towns, and nation-wide. Why were only “a lot of small towns” targeted? Why were big cities excluded?
      • (2) Not all people are religious, even if bitter.
      • (3) People do not have to be bitter to “cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations”.
      • (4) There is a big difference between (a)SOME PEOPLE and (b)people in “small towns” and “a lot of small towns”. Why reference people in “small towns” this way? Can we look forward to the next speech that denigrates people “in big cities”?
      • (5) There are SOME PEOPLE all throughout the nation, and in some big cities too, that may fit Obama’s description, but not only “small towns” and “a lot of small towns”. Obama has now, 3 or more times, said “a lot of small towns”. It is now crystal clear that he is only targeting “small towns”.
      • (6) Trying to make such broad generalizations of entire communities, such as “small towns” or “a lot of small towns”, is rarely (if ever) accurate.
      • (7) “guns”, “free-trade”, and “religion” are not even one of the top 5 issues on the list (below), and “illegal immigration” is 5th on the list of issues most Americans find most important (www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/issues/):
        • (ISSUE #1) 42% - Economy, Economic stimulus
        • (ISSUE #2) 21% - War in Iraq
        • (ISSUE #3) 18% - Health care
        • (ISSUE #4) 10% - Terrorism
        • (ISSUE #5) 07% - Illegal Immigration
        • (ISSUE #6+) 02% - Other: abortion, education, energy, environment, free-trade, guns, Homeland Security, housing, Iran, same-sex marriage, Social Security, stem cell research, Taxes;
        So, that sort of shoots Barack Obama’s theory full of holes.
      • (8) Best case, Obama’s statements can only apply to SOME PEOPLE, and not only people in “small towns” or “a lot of small towns”. Obama’s statement is not even true, if only speaking in general terms (based on the list of ISSUEs above).
      Thus, Obama’s statement was:
      • [a] not only false,
      • [b] it understandably appears to be denigrating too. Obama’s statement was not said in praise of the values of people “in a lot of small towns”. It was more likely a denigration, and embedded within the same sentence that denigrated several things: “a lot of small towns” that “cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations”. Especially in view of Obama’s sentiments and voting records about gun control, immigration, and rrade.
  • Some say Obama apologized and that should be sufficient (e.g. “Obviously, if I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that.”);
    • However, that isn’t much of an apology, and it is unlikely the message can be worded in any different way that is not still denigrating; and why apologize if the original statement is “true”?
  • Some shift the emphasis to whether people are truly “bitter”;
    • However, few will argue that many people are understandably bitter, but it does not mean people in “a lot of small towns” “cling to guns”, “anti-immigrant sentitments”, and “anti-trade and sentiments”.
  • Some shift the emphasis to whether people truly “cling to guns”;
    • However, that’s a red herring, since “guns” is not even one of the top 5 issues on the list (below) of issues most Americans find most important (www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/issues/).
  • Some shift the emphasis to whether people are truly clinging to “religion”;
    • However, others’ religion is nobody’s business, and “religion” is not even on the list of issues above; probably because most Americans understand the 1st Amendment;
  • Some shift the emphasis to whether people are truly clinging to “anti-immigrant sentiments”;
    • However, that is highly questionable in a nation that is one of the biggest melting pots in the world. It is more likely people are more upset about illegal immigration. Also, illegal immigration is only 5th on the list of issues (above) that most Americans consider most important.
  • Some shift the emphasis to whether people are truly clinging to “anti-trade sentitments”;
      However, that is very unlikely. It is more likely many people are upset with unfair “trade” practices. Also, “trade” is not even on the top 5 issues on the list above.
  • Some say it was not meant to denigrate people;
    • However, that requires one to ignore the fact that the statement was not praising people in “a lot of small towns” that “get bitter, they cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations”; and it did not include people in big cities or other places in-between;
  • Some say there is nothing condescending about Obama’s statement;
    • However, Obama has previously pondered this very issue (since at least 23-NOV-2004 in a Charlie Rose interview), in which Charlie Rose cautioned about “sounding condescending”;
  • Some say Obama’s statement was taken out of context;
    • However, even in-context, it makes no difference;
  • Some say: “I think you want to look down on him [Obama]” (www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/005934.html#250737);
    • However, that is really only another attempt to divert attention away from the substance of Obama’s statements, and ignores the fact that many people (not only people in “a lot of small towns”) justifiably consider Obama’s statements as offensive.
  • Some say: “I find it interesting that those that are whining the loudest, and spinning the most violently about Obama’s perceived gaffes, are the ones that aren’t going to vote for him anyway” (www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/005937.html#250760);
    • However, that also appears as yet another attempt to divert attention away from the substance of Obama’s statements. It also ignores that fact that there are some voters (at least a few) who had been planning to vote for Obama, and have now rescinded their support for Obama due to his statements, and the subsequent defense of them as being “true”.
  • Some say: you want to be tedious and hold his words against him, okay, fine. Your prerogative; (www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/005934.html#250712)
    • However, anyone running for president should be accountable for their choice of words, and it still ignores the subsequent defense of the orginal statement as being “true”.
  • Were any missed?
That does not mean Barack Obama is the worst of the candidates running for president, nor does it mean Obama is a bad person, and it is not even evident yet whether this gaffe has hurt Obama’s candidacy significantly. It’s quite likely most Obama supporters will still vote for Obama. And perhaps they should when one considers the other candidates running for president?

But it is hard to deny that Obama’s statements reveal that Obama perceives people in “a lot of small towns” differently, and not in a way that is praising those people.
It’s safe to say, it was not a smart thing to say, much less try to continue defending it as “true”, “mangled”, “badly worded”, etc.

Therefore, it is not hard to understand (for many people) why none of those obfuscations (above) are very convincing.

At any rate, whoever the next president is, the voters should not forget about Congress.
Whoever the next president is, the president may not be able to accomplish much if saddled with the same, irresponsible, FOR-SALE, corrupt, bloated, incompetent, and wasteful Congress.
Repeatedly rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians with 93%-to-99% re-election rates will most likely make things much worse.

And the U.S. has many pressing problems, and the longer they are ignored, the more painful the consequences will be later.
Already, many economic conditions have never been worse ever, and/or since the 1930s and 1940s.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 17, 2008 3:43 PM
Comment #250811

Obama drives a Crysler 300c if that helps anything (yeh its got a hemi). But I’m sure that doesn’t hurt him with the Prius crowd.

Hillary drives a hybrid Mariner, and McCain has a CTS (if it’s the new one they are pretty nice).

All of this according to Car and Driver.

As for Obama, these types of class issues are nothing new. He ran into the same kind of problems back in 2000, only it was with the black community and not the rednecks (just keeping the stereotypes going). Bobby Rush effectively painted Obama as an educated fool.

“He went to Harvard and became an educated fool. We’re not impressed with these folks with these Eastern elite degrees.”

Posted by: George in SC at April 17, 2008 3:55 PM
Comment #250819

Rocky,
“Isn’t it time we gave this chestnut a rest?”

That “chestnut” is my sister-in-law. Her name is Melody. She is a widowed accountant with a twenty-one-year-old son who is a Marine rifleman. She is not a stereotype, thank you very much.

I’ll take her over your stereotyping of me and my opinion any day.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 17, 2008 4:14 PM
Comment #250857

Lee,

My sympathies to your sister-in-law.

“I’ll take her over your stereotyping of me and my opinion any day.”

I suppose that is to be expected, that said, however, it sounds like she has bought into the far right noise machine’s fear campaign, and you right along with her.

Posted by: Rocky at April 18, 2008 4:12 AM
Comment #250863

Rocky,
Though you may not believe it people on the right are as capable of thinking for themselves as people on the left. If we wish to continue to stand up for the value of the contributions of those who have given of themselves to provide opportunities for the freedom of the Iraqi people it does not mean we have placed our brains in hock at the pawn shop of the far right.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 18, 2008 10:25 AM
Comment #250866

Lee,

The very idea that out of the choices we have, only a Republican President will keep our soldiers in Iraq safe is irrational, and has no basis in fact.
That we are safer in this country now, merely because of the policies of the Republican administration, here and in the Middle East, than we were 7 years ago is a canard, and if you are so willing to believe it I have some beachfront property here in Arizona for sale…..

McCain is merely promising more of the same “stay the course” bullshit strategy.
I am not saying any one else running for President has any better ideas, but to say that McCain will make our soldiers in general, and your sister-in-laws son in particular, safer, is just a fallacy.

Posted by: Rocky at April 18, 2008 11:08 AM
Comment #250874

Respect for our U.S. Troops, and 20 Reasons to Leave Iraq:

  • [01] Some people say we need to “win” in Iraq. When people say that, what do they really mean? What is trying to be won, and at what cost? But more importantly, what is the highest priority for the U.S. and its troops? Is the effort in Iraq the best way to make the U.S. safer?

  • [02] Some people say we need to “win” in Iraq. But some are really saying they want to “save face” for Bush and some in the executive branch? Because even if the U.S. leaves Iraq, there is no “defeat”, and there is no shame for our U.S. Troops. For those merely trying to “save face” with the life and limbs of our Troops is shameful and despicable. It is despicable to force our U.S. Troops to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars, unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. Especially if it is seeking redemption for Bush and some in the executive branch who started a war based on false intelligence.

  • [03] The overriding priority is that U.S. Troops should not be forced to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars, unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer.

  • [04] Some people (even some troops) say the troops want to “win”. However, what some in the military want is not the overriding priority.

  • [05] Besides, a large percentage of U.S. Troops believe the U.S. should leave Iraq.
    • In Feb-2006, 72% of U.S. Troops in Iraq said: end the war in year 2006.

    • 90% of retired and current military officers say the U.S. military has been stretched dangerously thin by the Iraq war (19-FEB-2008). A phased withdrawal from Iraq would relieve the strain on over-stretched ground forces. Most of the Army brigades in Iraq have not had the required 2 years between deployments that are necessary to train and equip properly. At least 4 brigades now in Iraq have not even had a year between deployments. A phased withdrawal would allow the U.S. to bring the Army National Guard back to the States to focus on Homeland Security, at least 1 airborne brigade available as a strategic reserve, and 1 airborne brigade in Hawaii in case the only brigade still in South Korea needs reinforcement. If necessary, the U.S. could still maintain a military presence in the region (e.g. a brigade in Kuwait, and a carrier with Marine forces), in case threats such as the re-establishment of Al-Qaeda training camps in Iraq or a military intervention by one of Iraq’s 6 neighboring nations.
  • [06] Most Americans believe the U.S. should leave Iraq. The U.S. has now been in Iraq for over 5 years (since MAR-2003).

  • [07] A large percentage (35%-to-47%; it varies with conditions) of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave now. The Iraqis may never step up to the plate to secure peace in their own nation if the U.S. is doing it for them. As long as the Iraq knows that the U.S. will not “stand down” until the Iraqis “stand up”, the Iraqis will not be motivated to make the difficult choices about how to govern their own nation. Also, a plan would put the 6 bordering nations on notice that they must become more constructively involved in Iraq’s future, or suffer the consequences of a failed state.

  • [08] Most people across the world believe the U.S. should leave Iraq. (67% as of SEP-2007)

  • [09] The only acceptable reason to force U.S. Troops to remain in Iraq is if it is the best way to make the U.S. safer (which it is not, because there are better ways to make the U.S. safer, such as securing the borders and ports, and enforcing illegal immigration laws, since most of the terrorist of 11-SEP-2001 were illegal aliens).

  • [10] Some people will say the military is voluntary, as if that matters. However, only joining the military is voluntary, and troops thereafter have to go where ordered, or be court-martialed, incarcerated, and punished. Therefore, that is all the more reason to show respect for the troops, and not force them to risk life and limb via endeavors that are not making the U.S. safer.

  • [11] Redemption and “saving face” is not, and should not be the goal (not at the risk of U.S. Troops losing life and limb); especially if it is not the best way to make the U.S. safer.

  • [12] Some Iraqis are supporting the approximate 1,300 Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but that support would disappear since the common goal of forcing the U.S. to leave Iraq would be gone.

  • [13] Some people say leaving Iraq is forcing defeat on the U.S. troops. False. There is no “defeat”. This so-called “defeat” does non-exist, because even if the Iraqis’ fail to make their nation livable, that is not and will not be a “defeat” of the U.S. Troops’, who have sacrificed much to fight terrorists and police the Iraqis’ civil war.

  • [14] If the Iraqis’ subsequently fail (after the U.S. leaves) to make Iraq adequately livable and peaceful, that is their own fault. The U.S. can not police Iraq forever, and forcing our troops to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars is an injustice to our troops, unless it is truly the best way to make the U.S. safer.

  • [15] Even though the U.S. invaded Iraq, it is now time (after more than 5 years) for the Iraqis to govern their own nation, regardless of whether they can do it themselves (or not), because it isn’t the best way to make the U.S. safer. The Iraqis may be determined to have their civil war, regardless of any efforts to prevent it. If the U.S. deos not have any plan for leaving Iraq, the U.S. will never be in control of its own destiny. Without such a plan for getting out by a certain date, the U.S. will remain hostage to events on the ground.

  • [16] Even though the U.S. invaded Iraq, it is not the U.S. Troops’ fault that the CIA, Bush, and some in the executive branch based it on false intelligence (i.e. no WMD), and the continued occupation of Iraq is not the best way to make the U.S. safer. The reasons for being in Iraq in the first place are questionable since no significant amount of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were ever found. And it is difficult to deny that control of the oil has something to do with the entire matter. If being the world police is the duty of they U.S. Troops, there are a lot of other nations in the world that currently need policing too.

  • [17] There is no doubt that a humanitarian argument that can be made that the U.S. should fix what it broke. However the Iraqis are also culpable for this entire mess. They helped in creating this entire mess, despite the blunder of no WMD. The U.S. doesn’t owe it to the Iraqis to continue nation-building and policing the Iraqis civil war any longer. The U.S. has now been in Iraq for over 5 years (since MAR-2003). However, the humanitarian argument still does not trump the overriding priority:
    • U.S. Troops should not be used for nation-building and policing civil wars, unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. In fact, a plausible argument can be made that the occupation of Iraq is a no-win situation and it is making both the U.S. and Iraq less safe (if not the entire region, since the U.S. is not very well liked in that region).
  • [18] It is hypocrisy to fear-monger about terrorists “following us home” from Iraq, should the U.S. pull troops out of Iraq. First of all, terrorists can come from many places all around the world, as evidenced by the terrorists of 11-SEP-2001, which were mainly from Saudi Arabia (not Iraq). And if the fear of terrorists “following us home” from Iraq were valid, then why not pull our troops out of Iraq, and secure our own national borders, and enforce existing illegal immigration laws? Especially since 11-SEP-2001 was perpetrated by several illegal aliens, 18 of the 19 terrorist hijackers on 11-SEP-2001 possessed 13 state-issued drivers’ licenses and/or 21 other ID cards, and all 19 terrorits had obtained Social Security numbers (some real, some fake). The terrorists of 11-SEP-2001 very simply tapped into an enormous market of fraudulent documents that exists because 12+ million illegal aliens have successfully breached our borders and now reside here illegally, anonymously, and spawning wide-spread document and identity fraud that threatens our ability to distinguish illegal aliens from U.S. citizens and legal foreign residents. IDentity theft is also the fastest growing crime in the U.S. Thus, all of those reasons makes the argument about terrorists following us from Iraq back to the U.S. not only weak, but ridiculous and hypocritical. And even if there was some truth to it, there are better ways to deal with it, such as securing our own borders and enforcing existing laws.

  • [19] The U.S. can not be the world police. Especially with $53 Trillion of nation-wide debt (3.81 times $13.86 Trillion GDP!). The U.S. won’t be able in a position to do much of anything if it destroys its own economy by growing debt of nightmare proportions.

  • [20] U.S. Troops should not be used for nation-building and policing civil wars, unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer, and forcing U.S. Troops to risk life and limb for nation-buildinkg and policing civil wars shows a horrible disrespect for our U.S. Troops, and a complete lack of priorities.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 18, 2008 12:59 PM
Comment #250891


Jack: It sounds like you are having a identity crisis. Perhaps you should buy a Chevy pickup.

The guns and religion people sealed their fate in 1980 when many of them switched sides and voted for Ron The Impaler. This had a profound affect on the Democratic politicians, turning them into Republican lites. Now many of these blue collar workers are going to continue their downward spiral no matter who they vote for.

The week before the Ohio primary, Barrak Obama filled my mail box with political propaganda. He had only one issue to talk about, NAFTA. Hillary is for NAFTA and Obama is against NAFTA. What did Obama say he would do about NAFTA if elected? Will he fight to have NAFTA repealed? Absolutely not. His big plan for dealing with NAFTA is to give tax breaks to employers who create jobs in America. What does this mean? Since we know that he is going to legalize the illegal immigrants, it means that he will also be giving their employers a tax break.

Obamas immigration policy,which is not inconsistent with Clintons or McCains will in all likelyhood, effect the H2 visa program, greatly increasing the number of H2 visas and since the corporations want it badly, I expect that the time limits on these visas will be eliminated. Since the blue collar workers have pretty much been screwed by the Democrats, the Republicans and their corporate leash holders, I expect that over the next few years, the well educated, prius driving, 401Kers to face stiff foreign competition for jobs and a downward spiral in their wages. After all, in a capitalist world, it makes little since to pay these people the kind of wages they have been receiving when there is an abundance of well educated foreign workers willing and able to do these jobs for far less. The Prius crowd has benefited from the loss of manufacturing jobs, the influx of illegal immigrants and the demise of the blue collar workers. They are much deserving of a dose of the same capitalist medicine.

Nothing makes me sicker than a bunch of elitist liberals bending over for the corporations, expecting them to be kinder and gentler with the distribution of wealth. Kinder and gentler doesn’t make the capitalist world go round, greed does.

A good comparison of the corporate takeover of our government and our country is Germany when Hitler was rising to power. The German people could have united and stopped him. Instead, they stood by idly or cheered as he picked off one group after another until he had consolidated his power. Hitler promised the Fatherland and the Aryan race the world. He gave only destruction.

The corporations are making the same kind of promises if only we are willing to work for them and fight for them. Their plan is succeding. Our country hasn’t been more divided since the middle of the 19th century. The corporations pick off one group of workers after another while the rest of us stand by idly or cheer them on. The corporations have began their foreign war of conquest and we offer up our children and our tax dollars to enable the cause. Although a majority of us might not agree with this world domination scheme, we are helpless to prevent it because we are ignored by our politicians who have been paid to approve the plan. We won’t do anything about the politicians because our politicians are the good ones and everyone else is represented by bad politicians.

For those of you who are expecting a Democrat in shining armour to save the day, I suggest you go to the library and check out a book of fairy tales. No politician can get a presidential nomination unless he or she has already been bought off.

Posted by: jlw at April 18, 2008 2:46 PM
Comment #250895

If owning a Prius is considered to be a symbol of a threatening change, then you must be a part of the petroleum production industry. I consider this very mild alternative as a positive step forward, in a long series of steps that we are need to be taking to produce energy independence.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 18, 2008 3:26 PM
Comment #251035

The administration of President George W. Bush has manipulated military analysts working for leading US television networks to generate favorable coverage of the war in Iraq and other issues, The New York Times reported on its website Saturday.”

Ah, so much for all those great stories on the “progress” going on in Iraq, yes???

Posted by: Rachel at April 20, 2008 8:50 AM
Comment #251054

Rachel, so which is it, Bushco is now smart enought to manipulate the press after five years or Bushco progress or the progress is true?

Boy I’m sure he was wishing he knew today before that whole WMD and “Victory” fiasco. He could have spun that too!

Posted by: Edge at April 20, 2008 5:57 PM
Comment #251083

Dan said:


(7) “guns”, “free-trade”, and “religion” are not even one of the top 5 issues on the list (below), and “illegal immigration” is 5th on the list of issues most Americans find most important (www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/issues/):
(ISSUE #1) 42% - Economy, Economic stimulus
(ISSUE #2) 21% - War in Iraq
(ISSUE #3) 18% - Health care
(ISSUE #4) 10% - Terrorism
(ISSUE #5) 07% - Illegal Immigration
(ISSUE #6+) 02% - Other: abortion, education, energy, environment, free-trade, guns, Homeland Security, housing, Iran, same-sex marriage, Social Security, stem cell research, Taxes;
So, that sort of shoots Barack Obama’s theory full of holes.

————————————————————
But since Republicans have few answers for #1, they use issues like guns, religion (and religious issues such as gay marriage and abortion) and immigration to drive wedges between American voters and to get out the vote among those who see these as hot topic issues. So while Obama’s statements may be seen as a political “gaffe”, they strike pretty close to the truth.

Posted by: Ben at April 21, 2008 12:28 AM
Comment #251174

Ben, irresponsible incumbent politicians in BOTH parties sides are not serious about economic issues, which is why these economic conditions have never been worse ever, and/or since the 1930s and 1940s.

And too many voters repeatedly reward the incumbent politicians for all of it with 93%-to-99% re-election rates.

As for Obama’s statements (e.g. “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations”, “I said something that everybody knows is true”, etc.), it is not true, because:

  • (1) It can not possibly be true of all people in even one single “small town”, much less “a lot of small towns”. There is diversity even in small towns, and nation-wide. Why were only “a lot of small towns” targeted? Why were big cities excluded?

  • (2) Not all people are religious.

  • (3) There is a big difference between (a)SOME PEOPLE and (b)people in “small towns” and “a lot of small towns”.
    Why reference people in “small towns” this way? Can we look forward to the next speech that denigrates people “in big cities”?

  • (4) There are SOME PEOPLE all throughout the nation, and in some big cities too, that may fit Obama’s description, but not only “small towns” and “a lot of small towns”. Obama has now, 3 or more times, said “a lot of small towns”. It is now crystal clear that he is only targeting “small towns”.

  • (5) Trying to make such broad generalizations of entire communities, such as “small towns” or “a lot of small towns”, is rarely (if ever) accurate. And it raises an important question. What about some people in cities and everywhere in-between?

  • (6) “guns”, “free-trade”, and “religion” are not even one of the top 5 issues on the list (below), and “illegal immigration” is 5th on the list of issues most Americans find most important (www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/issues/):
    • (ISSUE #1) 42% - Economy, Economic stimulus

    • (ISSUE #2) 21% - War in Iraq

    • (ISSUE #3) 18% - Health care
    • (ISSUE #4) 10% - Terrorism
    • (ISSUE #5) 07% - Illegal Immigration
    • (ISSUE #6+) 02% - Other: abortion, education, energy, environment, free-trade, guns, Homeland Security, housing, Iran, same-sex marriage, Social Security, stem cell research, Taxes;
    So, that sort of shoots Barack Obama’s theory full of holes. Since guns, religion, illegal immigration, and trade are not even in the top 4 issues, that pretty much shoots Obama’s argument full of holes. If anything, Obama’s own statements are foolishly making wedge issues out of guns, religion, illegal immigration, and trade that are low on the lists of priorities (above). Obama initially defended his statements as true, but has since back-pedaled some. Nothing like being on all sides of an issue.

  • (7) Best case, Obama’s statements can only apply to SOME PEOPLE, and not only people in “small towns” or “a lot of small towns”. Obama’s statement is not even true nation-wide, if only speaking in general terms (based on the list of ISSUEs above). And trying to shift emphasis to “bitter” isn’t only convincing, but devious.
Thus, Obama’s statement was:
  • [a] not only false,

  • [b] it understandably appears to be denigrating too. Obama’s statement was not said in praise of the values of people “in a lot of small towns”. It was more likely a denigration, and embedded within the same sentence that denigrated several things: “a lot of small towns” that “cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations”. Especially in view of Obama’s sentiments and voting records about gun control, immigration, and rrade.

While Obama’s statements may not have lost many voters, it did not help him.

Regardless of Obama’s statements, all 3 candidates have lousy voting records.

This issue is more of the same in many ways; fueling and wallowing in the distracting, divisive, time-wasting partisan-warfare, while they more important issues continue to be ignored, while growing in number and severity.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters deserve. Education is the key, and it appears that voters are going to get their education the hard and painful way (again).

Posted by: d.a.n at April 22, 2008 9:44 AM
Comment #251227

Hey Jack, don’t you still have the Honda Hybrid? People in glass houses…

Posted by: Ray at April 22, 2008 8:46 PM
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