the blithering talking heads

Many people eager to defend Obama have been posting a short clip from CNN where Jeffery Toobin, Jack Cafferty and unknown lady stands up for senator Obama. I ask you do you really need this type of defense?

First let's talk about Jack Cafferty where after going through his usual sardonic way of excoriating everyone for taking Sen. Obama to task for his elitist and insensitive remarks adds this hidden nugget:

The people are frustrated. The people have no economic opportunity. What happens to folks like that in the Middle East, you ask? Well, take a look. They go to places like al Qaeda training camps.

Let's see what you said Jack, people in midwest who have lost jobs had they been in the Middle East would have become terrorists? Really? Well how many of these people have become terrorists here? Why is there an increase in Latino population of rural NC and I do not see increase in hate crimes against them or for that matter an increase in midwestern terrorists? Hit the road Jack, if all you can do is open your mouth and speak something so incredibly idiotic...hit the road. I wager here that in a few days the howls of outrage over this comment will resonate so much in CNN hq that Jack Cafferty will offer an on-air apology.

Next Jeffery Toobin. He embellished Obama's bio more than Obama does. Did Obama grow up in a single parent family? Yes, but since the age of 10 he lived with his grandparents. Were they a family of limited means? I don't know but what I know that they sent him first to a private prep school, and then to Occidental college and he transferred from there to Columbia. I have looked and found no mention of scholarships. It is alright for Toobin to admire Obama but to selectively embellish his biography to excuse this elitist comment is something he does at the peril of losing credibility.

Obama's problem is his disconnect with average voters, the conservative democrats, the Reagan democrats. His strength lies with the academics, the African-Americans and the liberal elites. He has boxed himself thus and words like this further compartmentalizes him in this box. If what he said was not bad enough where he said it in what context will be played over and over from now all the way to the GE.

None of what he said really makes sense anyway. I have friends in NC, hell I will talk of this little petite Southern Girl who is well educated and works here and she owns a bloody arsenal in her house. She likes going to the shooting range for fun and on Sundays she goes to church as a matter of faith. My girlfriend's dad is well respected lawyer who likes to hunt and is very active in his church. There are millions of people like this, not necessarily in rural America, who likes their guns, their hunting and they are also deeply religious. What he said was beyond condescension, he basically painted these folks as xenophobic, psychological wrecks. It's as if in Obama's mind Linus grew up in the midwest, outgrew his security blanket and turned to his gun instead. How ridiculous and clueless is that?

Tags: Cafferty, CNN, God, guns, obama, Toobin (all tags)



Re: the blithering talking heads

That's some amazing spin, considering Obama said nothing of the sort. Congrats on putting words in his mouth in yet another creative fashion, but I guess the standing ovation he got from a middle class audience as he described exactly why voters are angry this year just flew over your head.

And for the record, Cafferty is right. Radical Islam is being used by the theocracies in tandem with low economic prospects and abject poverty to supply them with an ever expanding base of people devoted to the cause. Its disgusting and its a perversion of Islam and it deserves to be called out just as much as the US Government deserves to be called out on hiding their actions behind the polarizing shield of gay marriage and "the liberal elite".

I'm sick of being told that I should be offended by Obama's words, when the talking heads telling me to be offended are quite complicit in the problems the US has with dealing with its very real problems.

by upstate girl 2008-04-12 12:08PM | 0 recs
Re: the blithering talking heads

you have no idea what's fueling radical Islam in the middle east or Europe so stop trying to sound erudite in this matter. Islam is not just spread to people of lower economic classes but well educated people as well. The rationale is hatred, hatred for all thing western and aspiration to unite every muslim under the umbrella of global caliphate. It sounds far fetched but that is the truth. If all terrorists were from lower SEC then we would be seeing a huge increase in African and South Asian terrorists. What you said is a myth.

by tarheel74 2008-04-12 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: the blithering talking heads

Oooooooooooook buddy head on back to redstate, you've had enough outdoor time.

Seriously, quit trying to slip in GOP apocalyptic talking points into your Obama hit pieces. It kind of gives you away.

by upstate girl 2008-04-12 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: the blithering talking heads

First, if you cannot debate without suppressing free-speech, name calling and using the tr then YOU don't belong here. Second, how many muslims do you consider to be your near and dear friends? Third you  know nothing of my background, I grew up in a multi-cultural society and have seen religions in all its forms, whether it be benign and peaceful or militant and malignant. Finally I will request you to remove the TR or I will report you to the authorities as someone who abuses rating privileges.

by tarheel74 2008-04-12 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: the blithering talking heads

Well when you come with hard hitting inanity like this:

"Islam is not just spread to people of lower economic classes but well educated people as well. The rationale is hatred, hatred for all thing western and aspiration to unite every muslim under the umbrella of global caliphate. It sounds far fetched but that is the truth." sounds pretty much exactly like the "They hate our freedom" excuse. It was a cop out when Bush and Cheney said it, and its a cop out now.

I refuse to be fearmongered by a "global caliphate" scare story when our own government is promoting the same environment that is encouraging radical Islam to take root. Your troll rating stays unless you can either provide unbiased analytical proof of your statement, or change the subject of your diary to reflect your out of left field Islamic statements.

by upstate girl 2008-04-12 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: the blithering talking heads

when you equate people who know something with Bush and Cheney you already lose the argument.
I will tell you what fuels radical Islam:

American presence in the Middle East


Iraq war

finally the notion that all nations where there are muslims must be ruled by Sharia.

That is the creed of radical Islam in Europe, in India, frankly everywhere else.

Now it is obvious that a nice upstate girl like you has not been anywhere other than as a tourist or a "summer student", but growing up in India I have seen religious harmony and religious bigotry. I have seen trains being blown up by radical Islamists and muslims in the same train helping their fellow hindu passengers to safety. I have seen hindus inciting riots and hindus sheltering their muslim neighbors from rioters.
Thanks but what I find abhorrent are closed-minded elitists like you who do not see both sides of the argument. The world is more complex than what you think.

by tarheel74 2008-04-12 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: the blithering talking heads

It sure is, which is why fearmongering about an omnipotent caliphate is the least of my worries, compared to the national economy and the clusterbunk of an unjustified war we're currently involved in.

I have the feeling the omnipotent caliphate isn't going anywhere for a few years while we straighten out our own mess. And since you clearly agree with me that the Iraq war and American presence in the Middle East is a major part of the problem (please note that is not the same as "hating our freedom"), I'm still not sure what this has to do with the topic of the diary.

by upstate girl 2008-04-12 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: the blithering talking heads

I did not make it a topic of the diary but anyone who says that economy and job loss forces people into terrorism is perpetuating a myth. Bad economy and job loss makes people angry and looking for opportunities but it is irrational hatred that makes people into terrorits.

by tarheel74 2008-04-12 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: the blithering talking heads

I uprated you. The troll rating was uncalled for.

If radical Islam only attracted lower classes then Osama wouldn't have been attracted to it right? Remember Osama comes from a very wealthy family. It seems that is a conveniently forgotten fact from some posters.

by Ga6thDem 2008-04-12 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: the blithering talking heads

Two right wing spin-so-far-they're-unrecognizable myths for the price of one. Not only did Obama come from a wealthy family, he's also a Muslim! Well, when he's not a member of a black radical christian church, that is.

Troll rating for the troll.

by upstate girl 2008-04-12 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: the blithering talking heads

What the heck are you talking about? I said nothing about Obama in that post.

by Ga6thDem 2008-04-12 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: the blithering talking heads

Great diary.  Thanks.

by hornplayer 2008-04-12 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Not to Mention -

That Obama chose to respond by reiterating his views rather than softening them.  That indicates to me that Obama is either unable or unwilling to see the very point that you make so effectively in your diary.

For me postmodernism is important in understanding the world - in fact, I see the place for post-postmodernism in a social critique. But it isn't going to get anyone to buy me a beer - except, maybe, in Berkeley or Amherst.

One of the greatest shortcomings of intellectuals is  the consuming need to be right. I'm not sure how many millions of people have been killed in the course of human history by intellectuals pursuing their rightness to the extreme.

In England, the Puritans urged the populace to a never-ending battle with sin. And, still, most ordinary folk simply wanted to enjoy life.  Thus, many of the purest of the pure were forced to embark on a long journey to the "Citie on a Hill".

I suspect that Obama still resides there.
However, most Americans don't.

by johnnygunn 2008-04-12 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Not to Mention -

Amazing with the state of education in this country that a Democrat can rattle off a list of problems with "intellectuals" with a straight face.

People are tired of being played for fools, and claiming that "intellectualism" is the antithesis of what makes America great is pure GOP trolling. I thought Democrats were supposed to support reasoned thinking and...well...using your intellect.

by upstate girl 2008-04-12 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Not to Mention -

Hey Upstate -

I don't particularly like the caliphate line - and read it after I posted.

But I do stand by my perception of intellectuals in the American political tradition. One of the reasons that intellectuals tend to fail is their inability to work with the less-gifted.  Like it or not - most Americans are reluctant to entrust the presidency to an overly erudite person. This has been true since the days of Andrew Jackson - the end of the Early Republic when the "natural aristocracy" of Adams, Jefferson, and Madison held office.

Since the 1820s there has been a litany of scoundrels and scalawags, but precious few intellectuals. Woodrow Wilson was one - but his intellectual rigidity destroyed his presidency.  Herbert Hoover was brilliant, but inflexible in the face of the Great Depression.  Jimmy Carter had a rough presidency - although he was transformed by the failures of his administration. And Bill Clinton's intelligence has, certainly, been a mixed blessing.

Abraham Lincoln was, in my opinion, the most intelligent person to hold the presidency - yet, he had little formal education and withheld from broad intellectualisms - preferring, instead, the framing of the ordinary American.

I am reminded that at Gettysburg in 1863 Edward Everett spoke for two hours before Lincoln and no one remembered a thing. Lincoln spoke for two minutes - giving what is often considered the finest example of American speech and literature -

   Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

   Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

   But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate--we can not consecrate--we can not hallow--this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

by johnnygunn 2008-04-12 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Not to Mention -

Its hard to read Lincoln's quote and not cast his lot with the intellectual crowd. Intellectualism isn't reliance on long winded speeches. One can make intelligent points in brief quite easily.

The anti-intellectualism we face today in this country is of a far lower cast. Education is spiraling downwards, and the appeal to the "common man" is anti-intellectualism dressed up as a mockery of populist values.

Rather than condemning the ivory tower pontificators, the anti-intellectualism we face today is aggression in the face of critical, common sense thinking. "Elitists" and "intellectuals" are used as smear tactics in order to deflect attention from what the GOP actually does while they're in power.

Education and/or brilliance are not solely in and of themselves indicators of a successful President. But allowing the Republicans to set the scene as being on the side of the common man, while all the while working to insure that the common man never once questions the official line of what he's being told, is sacrificing the concept of learned reason as being something undesirable.

by upstate girl 2008-04-12 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Not to Mention -

I'm glad to have the opportunity to agree with you.

I am no longer teaching at the college level, but the last few years were a brutal squeeze between lowered expectations on the part of administration and heightened anti-intellectualism on the part of students.  I can't tell you how often I heard something like, "History can't get you a better paycheck."

Many of my colleagues have reported similar situations all across the country.  The ability of college students to do any significant structural analysis is limited, at best.  When I ask, "If everything is built in a community so that all activities require an automobile, do people still have a choice?" and, "Is such a community design a political action?" I don't even get dismissive looks any longer - just a combination of lack of knowledge and lack of interest. I'd love it if someone were to jump up and say, "You sound like a communist!" Even that is generally lacking nowadays.

I once tricked my students into comparing all the strengths and weaknesses of the various Idol contestants. I was dismayed how much they knew about each and how detailed their knowledge of various strategies was. One of my students knew that I was setting a trap and was grinning from ear to ear.  He's in grad school now.

Yet, one must recognize that we Democrats face such a cultural environment, at least for the short term.  There are some glimmers of hope.  Many Americans are increasingly wary of Wal-Mart - and there was widespread backlash to Wal-Mart's recent attempt to seize the monetary settlement from an employee who was brain-injured.

But can you ask, "Is there a connection between the Iraq War and the inability of the federal government to fund alternative energy?"  I think not, since even Democratic leaders in Congress appear unwilling to make such connections.  I'm probably older than you - and cannot believe how much ground has been lost in the past 25 years.

I guess my frustration with Obama is with how I perceive his use and misuse of his abilities.  Some commenters have said that I don't recognize Obama's intelligence.  I do.  I think he is brilliant.  But sometimes his brilliance may actually hinder him.

After years in the academy, I had the opportunity to work with people with severe mental retardation and to care for a parent with a long decline into Alzheimer's.  It helped me realize the hubris of intelligence - especially the idea that my thinking was better than others'.

Anyhoo - glad we got this chance to connect.

by johnnygunn 2008-04-12 03:04PM | 0 recs


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