Typical Chardonnay People

Communicating one's thoughts, ideas and plans is what is known in philosophy as a social practice. We all know that the same word can convey different meaning to different groups of people.  Cool means something entirely different to an air conditioning repairman than it does to a high school skateboarder.

by Sarana

It goes without saying that the more educated a person is the more practice they've had using words to communicate. In fact, giving speeches comes from the discipline of rhetoric, a field defined as using words in order to persuade. Rhetoric has been developed and used by politicians since politics began.

There are rules to rhetoric, including how to use language most effectively to convince, inspire and even manipulate people. It's a topic worth lengthy investigation, especially when considering Barack Obama's mastery of the subject. As Ben Wallace-Wells writes in the February issue of Rolling Stone,  "If you want to understand where Barack gets his feeling and rhetoric from," says the Rev. Jim Wallis, a leader of the religious left, "just look at Jeremiah Wright."

Compare, for example, Obama's use of language to target different audiences by remembering the speeches he gave in Mississippi where he mimicked Malcolm X by using "hoodwinked, bamboozled, and okie doke." Now reflect on Obama telling his wealthy California supporters in Marin county this week, "You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that 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."

While Hillary Clinton is right to criticize Obama for calling people "bitter," the insult is much greater than that. By equating owning guns with being religious  and being religious with being xenophobic and anti-trade, Obama makes a sweeping generalization that again reveals how he stereotypes people.  Obama is giving a more detailed description of typical white people, only this time, the insult includes their class--working class.

Obama seems to be suggesting that owning guns and practicing a religion are both symptoms of bitterness. The people who own guns and practice religion don't trust people who are different than they are, and who might that be? Obama, of course.  The conclusion then is that people who don't like him are people who are embittered: gun-totting, religious fanatics who also hate foreigners.

I'm sure the people in Marin County got a big chuckle out of this regional put down. I can see them backing out of the parking lot, leaving their meeting with Obama, waving to each other from their Hybrids, Beemers or SUVS with the "Got Hope?" bumper stickers, and bemused by the bitter rednecks in Pennsylvania.

At the end of this speech, Obama encourages these wealthy Californians to persuade these poor bitter working slobs to vote for him. " I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background -- there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing."

It sounds like he's sending the elite in to convert the "lunch-pail folks"-- and in his caricature of these people in Pennsylvania, I imagine the Californians as characters from the TV sitcom Frasier attempting to persuade TV's Roseanne and family to vote for Obama.

Tags: guns, obama, religion (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

Re: Typical Chardonnay People

Obama's insensitive comments have potentially up-ended his campaign.  Even if he survives the nomination process, it leaves all democrats vulnerable.  Aside from "God Damn Amerika" being played 24/7, we can look forward to elitist comments like this being used to beat the crap out of the democrats.  The Bush-style anti-intellectualism will prevail since BO has tapped into the very reason why so-called "middle america" is suspicious of politicians, scientists and washington elites...

by HypeJersey 2008-04-13 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Typical Chardonnay People

Unbelievable to think that this past summer McCain was dead in the water and now he is cruising on a yacht to the presidency if Obama snags the Democratic nomination.

by Liberty 2008-04-13 09:26AM | 0 recs
Well...

It is probably just as politically incorrect to generalize about Chardonnay drinking San Franciscan's as it is to generalize about lunch pail Pennsylvanians. As someone pointed out in another diary, the issue is not whether the comments are "true" or not, (what is truth when it comes to geographical bias stereotyping) but rather that it is offensive and pits one demographic against another. Destain for people who are different from you and discounting the validity of their ideas is at the core of this type of divisiveness. It is ugly when Obama does it to the rustbelt citizens and it is ugly when it is done to the citizens of San Francisco for the same reason.In both cases someone is being put down.

by MediaFreeze 2008-04-13 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Typical Chardonnay People

Another problem for Obama in this mess is that many are already suspicious of his lightweight economic plans. Now he makes extremely stereotypical comments about the people who most need a president who can get the economy kick-started again. Put those two together, and it is a disaster for Obama. But even more a disaster for Democrats if they somehow let themselves that they have to nominate him anyway.

Incidentally, does this man actually get how many Americans these days wouldn't be able to feed their families if they didn't hunt? Sad, but true. I know many of them here in the small towns of Oregon.

by CognitiveDissonance 2008-04-13 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Typical Chardonnay People
I'm just a typical white person (Irish). I am not a religious person, Rev Wright is a religious person. Obama is a religious person, otherwise he would not have sat through 20 years of listening to the religious Rev Wright. I can only imagine their anger and bitterness. I am a christian person and I do not ever want to be religious like Barack and his preacher. I do not want to be angery and bitter.
  I also own a gun, but not because I am angery and bitter. Neither am I a hunter, but use the rifle for sport, fired a 247 out of a possible 250 while I was a member of the US Marine Corps Rifle & Pistol Team.
  I understand that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama studied the Ideology and Methodology of "Alinsky". For Hillary, Alinsky was an exercise in academia. In her senor year she wrote a thesis on Alinsky. For Obama, Alinsky was and still is a tool he uses to further his grab for political power. The Alinsky ideology and methodology is the discipline of the very same tactics used by Karl Marx.
  Obama has said "words have meaning" and "words have consequences". Now Obama's "chickens may be coming home to roost" due to words he has used (via Alinsky method)to describe his thoughts and points of view of "small town(s)" Of America.
by westxn 2008-04-13 10:10AM | 0 recs
Alinsky

If you're interested in Obama's Alinsky-method days ('community organizing'), here is a good long profile piece:

"The Agitator" about Obama's 'community organizer' days ("rub raw the sores of discontent")
http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?i d=a74fca23-f6ac-4736-9c78-f4163d4f25c7&a mp;p=10  (This is page 10 of 10)

by 1950democrat 2008-04-13 10:41PM | 0 recs
maybe

Or maybe Obama was NOT religious enough to actually listen to the sermons. :-)

by 1950democrat 2008-04-13 10:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Typical Chardonnay People

One day Obama will walk onto a stage with his shoe untied and it will make him COMPLETELY unfit for office.

by kasjogren 2008-04-13 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Typical Chardonnay People

I never could stand the taste of Kool-aid, not from Day 1.

Plain water is cheaper and better for you.

A wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf.

by ncvoter34 2008-04-13 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Typical Chardonnay People

I had to laugh at the image of Frasier talking to Roseanne. I actually thought of Obama as Sonny Drysdale talking to Jethro Clampett. I grew up in a small Texas town, and I now live in a small New Hampshire town. I don't own a gun, my religion is not a crutch and I'm married to an immigrant. We have a very comfortable existence thanks to the grace of God, but I've known what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck. Barack Obama cannot possibly know or begin to understand the hearts and minds of the people who make up the najority of this country.

by PortiaElizabeth 2008-04-13 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Typical Chardonnay People

I thought I'd never see the day when O'bama would be seen for what he really is. I am angry at the likes of Kennedy, Pellosi,Dean,Kerry and Dashal for choosingt sides publically in a bid to give ob the nomonation. But I do find it interesting that they are the biggest losers in the party. It will be a cold day in hell when they speak for me because if they manage to seat ob I will move to the republican party until these loosers aRE GONE and when I do my husband is going with me because he feels the same way I do.

by pepper41 2008-04-13 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Typical Chardonnay People

I thought I'd never see the day when O'bama would be seen for what he really is. I am angry at the likes of Kennedy, Pellosi,Dean,Kerry and Dashal for choosing sides publically in a bid to give ob the nomonation. But I do find it interesting that they are the biggest losers in the party. It will be a cold day in hell when they speak for me because if they manage to seat ob I will move to the republican party until these loosers aRE GONE and when I do my husband is going with me because he feels the same way I do.

by pepper41 2008-04-13 12:16PM | 0 recs

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