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First good left-wing critique of Obama that I have seen for a while.  McCain tried to co-opt "Joe-the-plumber" as a metaphor for blue collar America.  That Joe isn't called Joe, isn't a qualified plumber, is delinquent in his taxes, didn't have plans to take over his bosses business, and would have to pay less under Obama's tax plan if he did is neither here nor there.  

Not even "Joe's" relationship to Keating of the Keating 5 is relevant.  What matters (to McCain) is that he claimed to be a plumber, and thus the opposite of the effete intellectual white collar urban middle class which McCain is trying to paint Obama as representing.  (The non real, not patriotic, anti-America that Palin is painting as the enemy of small town (white) real America).

McCain's claimed identification is of course a fraud, even more fraudulent than Joe turned out to be.  But the point is that McCain and Palin attempted it - and her very inarticulateness is evidence that she is "one of us" the blue collar working class.

Obama needs to demonstrate more cultural affinity with the (manual) middle classes that he extols.  Merely offering them a tax break won't cut it for them.  They may go with him now because the financial melt-down doesn't give them much option, but if the Dems want to match the 30 years of Reaganite domination, they are going to have to build more than a temporary tactical alliance with the blue-collar working class.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 03:35:50 PM EST
It's a good rant, but I don't think it answers the most basic question - which is why the blue collar demographic is willing to vote for people who are desperate to screw them over.

It's obvious with the fundies, but the draw from the right seems to be low taxes (a lie) and racism.

The only difference between the middle class condescension of the Dems and the pseudo-aristocratic condescension of the Reps is that the Dems believe their shtick about making everyone middle class, while the Rs are utterly cynical about it.

Making a difference doesn't just mean reaching out, but removing the dog whistle talking points.

As long as anyone can use 'Socialism' and 'Tax and Spend' as a way to end an argument, the Dems are going to have problems.

It's not like it has to be hard. Obama's recent emphasis on J.O.B.S. should start to make a difference.

Seed the meme that the GOP steals jobs while the Dems look after them, and the GOP is toast.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 03:48:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Dems want to make working class blue collar workers middle class (white collar) like themselves.  The Repugs know they need servants and plumbers and mechanics to fix the car, and so they pretend to laud them because they don't want them to become like themselves, they want them to stay being servants, plumbers and mechanics.

The Dems have got to become the party of choice - yes we value you as servants, plumbers etc., if that is what you want to be - but we will also support you if you want to become something else.  But it is your choice - not our ideology, values or snobbery which determines whether you should try to be something else.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 04:06:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Dems want to make working class blue collar workers middle class (white collar) like themselves.

It's like Jews for Jesus.  Despite the presentation that it's done out of a sense of goodwill, it's really about committing cultural genocide.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 04:11:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... created in the decade of Great Income Compression from 1936-45, was an overlapping income class of the better paid among the blue collar workers and the majority of white-collar workers.

That was the income class that Reagan was industriously working to hollow out through union busting and promoting illegal employment of undocumented migrants ... for the ambition of capturing all productivity gains for profit income, finally achieved under GW Bush, the political division between blue collar and white collar in the face of common economic interests was critical.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 06:00:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's about respect, and the problem is that there is virtually no respect among the people who are shaping the Democratic message for the idea that blue collar work is not some kind of badge of dishonor.

Its all good and well to say that you are for the working man (and there's a considerable body of evidence that suggests that Obama is an even bigger sham on this than McCain) but when you refuse to include a place for their lives and lifestyle in your plans for the future, they aren't going to vote for you.

And Obama has been seriously fucking milquetoast when it comes to addressing the possibility that the problem with the American economy isn't that working people are retards who didn't get a degree, but the victims of an economic system that fundamentally doesn't believe in shared prosperity.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 04:09:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ManfromMiddletown:
victims of an economic system that fundamentally doesn't believe in shared prosperity

Yes but there is also something else happening.  "The West" has given up on being competitive for manufactured goods in a globalised economy because it cannot compete with Chines wage rates.  Thus, out of economic necessity, there has been a flight (upmarket, or up the economic food chain in the value-laden jargon) from blue collar to white collar jobs - with blue collar workers seen as dead-enders who will never compete with the Chinese.

However, now, Globalisation has moved into a new phase with even white collar clerical, accountancy, administration and many other jobs being outsourced to India etc. - so that, finally, globalisation has become a middle class issue as well - which can lead to a new blue/white collar alliance.

With even capital now fleeing the USA for more profitable havens there is the basis for a broadly based, nationalist alliance against global capital.  However it has a lot of cultural/ethnic/class barriers to overcome before it can be a reality on the ground.  Perhaps that is part of the dynamic which is driving Obama forward.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 04:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... if the challenges of the formation of the coalition is taken seriously.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 06:02:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
The West" has given up on being competitive for manufactured goods

I think it would be more accurate to say that the West has given up on being competitive for manufactured consumer goods. For high-end industrial goods, whether machine tools, printing systems or commercial aircraft, the world still buys from the West (as seen in Germany's status year after year as the world's largest net exporting nation (as well as the largest exporter in absolute terms in some years).

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 02:44:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LEGO is either entirely or mostly produced in the West, so is playmobil.
You can wear Trigema cloths and Italian shoes, and of course a mostly local nutrition is available.

Yes, consumer electronic is not so much produced anymore in the west, but there are exceptions like AMD processors.
Especially the high quality consumer goods have often a major Western produced component.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 03:37:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed.

My experience with manufacturing has always been more investment than consumer goods, so that tends to skew my perspective.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 03:45:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the problem I have with these arguments from people like Sirota: This notion that Democrats have somehow denigrated the working class.  Sirota, who constantly has his panties in a twist over stupid shit, such as Obama mentioning Reagan's effectiveness on an ideological level (thus committing the sin of telling the truth and somehow revealing himself a traitor to the David Sirotas of the world), is happy to give in to Republican horseshit when it suits his goofball faux-populism.

It betrays a hopelessly misguided view of history that portrays the mythical working class -- one that Dems apparently don't win, even though they, you know, do every time -- as being treated as beneath Democrats when, in truth, this small group of working-class voters who switched sides did so because for many reasons.  Some economic, sure, but this amounts to a convenient excuse for many whites -- and let's be clear that this small group within the working class is entirely white -- not being happy about Democrats becoming the party of crazy kids and emboldened blacks and broads.

"Blowjobs, more important than job-jobs," as I've put it.

This idea that pointing out the fact that Sarah Palin isn't qualified to run the McDonald's down the road from me, let alone serve as vice president, somehow implies that I'm talking down to small-town America is nonsense, and it says a lot more about small-town America than it does about those of us who point these things out.  Wasilla is a small town in the middle of nowhere, and her contributions to it were banning books, firing people she didn't like, and turning it into the largest crystal meth supplier in the state.

This is somehow insulting to people in small towns -- how, exactly?

People in small towns are pandered to on matters of culture constantly in our idiotic discourse.  As Sirota enjoys palling around with uber-xenophobe Lou Dobbs, one of the chief architects of this garbage, I would've thought he'd get that.  We're constantly under the barrage of The HeartlandTM, that wonderful place where simple people -- they's jess folk -- live out good and decent lives with family and Main Street and Jesus and Dorothy and Toto and the theme from Cheers always playing, without the degenerates from the cities around to fuck it up.

Or something.

But it does serve to illustrate a key similarity that Sirota and others have inadvertently picked up on: That there's always another bogeyman for the Right to capitalize on.  If it isn't the blacks rising up against them with the end of slavery, then it's women bringing their emotions into the voting booth, or blacks on welfare, or Latinos stealing jobs, or kids hating the troops, or drugs and sex and Rock And Roll corrupting us all, or Democrats being too much of a bunch of pussies for whatever it is they're too much of a bunch of pussies for this week, or Democrats not grovelling sufficiently in front of the Dumb Hick demographic.

There's always another bogeyman.  Always another excuse for stupidity.  It can't be the segment of voters who are stupid, can it?  No, it's gotta be the party and its supporters.  And God help us if someone ever finally has the balls to stand up and point out that the real welfare queens in America are in places like Alaska and Iowa, not New York and "Taxachusetts" (as they oh-so-cleverly call it out there).

A not-insignificant chunk of small-town America believes Barack Obama is a Muslim who will raise their taxes, while John McCain is a Christian who will lower them.  A not-insignificant chunk of small-town America believes Jimmy Carter was a disaster while Ronald Reagan was one of the nation's greatest presidents.  A not-insignificant chunk of small-town America believed John Kerry was a traitor while George W Bush was an American hero.  A not-insignificant chunk of small-town America believes the Rapture will come in its lifetime.  A not-insignificant chunk of small-town America believes John McCain would make a better Commander-in-Chief purely because of the fact that he speaks seriously about killing brown people in faraway places without rational decision-making.

But then a not-insignificant chunk of small-town America believes we found the weapons of mass destruction.

Oh.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 09:47:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And just so they don't throw me in GITMO for saying that: God Bless America.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 09:55:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to put the above in a Diary to qualify for Gitmo around here.  How about it?  It must be time for your quarterly offering.  Folks around here are tired of small town Irishmen prognosticating on US elections!

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 01:24:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No we're not...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 01:29:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have to agree with Sven.  I'm certainly not tired of your diaries.  I think they add a very interesting perspective.  It helps to have a clean outsider's view many times in order to get a proper reading of contests.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 04:41:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...adding: And I can't do a diary on it.  My best and worst stuff is always done on the fly.  True, much of what I say would likely be less offensive when it failed given the chance to clean it up, but it'd water-down the good stuff too, and where's the fun in that? ;)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 04:45:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't write your diaries on the fly?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 04:47:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No.  That's part of the reason I haven't really written a proper one lately.  I tend to think too much and change too much.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 04:51:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
great, drew...nice to see the expanded version...

"I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned." - Richard Feynman
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 04:32:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.  Marek's is the better one though.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 04:46:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's never been successful Socialist or Labor Party in the US.  Very different from the European political history.  Thus there has never been that strong influence on national debate and national policy such a party gives.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 12:55:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should think you'd want to reconsider that statement.

The Socialist Party in the US has been an enemy of the state since European immigrants brought the ideology and union organizing principles to these shores. Casual labor  historians recognize, too, that "party" contribution to formation of the CIO -- at the time a "radical" response to AFL political and cultural hegemony, nativisim really.

Does the name John Lewis (not a card-carrier) ring a bell? It should. FDR put him on the first NLRB panel.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 09:20:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The SPUSA elected a couple of Congressmen and unsuccessfully ran Debs then Norman Thomas for President.  Their largest vote total was received prior to World War I.  Resistance to the US involvement in WW I, the Palmer Red Raids, and internal split on Bolshevik Revolution reduced them to insignificance as a party.

The CIO's history is interesting.  Their basic organizing principle, industrial unionism, was an IWW principle and the use of Sit Down Strikes was a Syndicalist tactic also touted by the IWW.  

Meany was the head of the AFL during the 50s and of the reunited AFL-CIO from mid 50s to 1979.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 10:49:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Their largest vote total was received prior to World War I.  Resistance to the US involvement in WW I, the Palmer Red Raids, and internal split on Bolshevik Revolution reduced them to insignificance as a party.

Thank you for adding crucial historical benchmarks and qualification of party "significance" restricted to votes. But is that really an appropriate measure of the party's influence on "national policy"?

I would think the continuity of US federal law and police actions to destroy this (third) party's apparatus and political alliances across the labor movement was a significant feature of national policy.  

If not, I still must wonder about the popularity of socialism within FDR's administration and right up to the end of WWII, while Russia enjoined favored nation status. Wilkie's "One World" tour was quite the money-maker, no?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 02:04:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the glass three quarters empty or one quarter full?

We're getting into a discussion of perspective and I'd just as soon not Go There.

Advances were made under FDR are still with us.  Advances made under FDR have been lost.  Some of the people in the FDR administration responsible for those advances came from the Left; some of the people in the FDR administration came from the Middle, some from the Right.

I'll merely note that was 60/70 years ago and leave you with the last word, should you care to give one.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 02:53:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jose Yglesias
Ybor City was an island in the South [figuratively; actually a Tampa, FL, barrio]. When an American got mad at any Latin, he called him a Cuban nigger. This was one of the first fieeling I remember: I want to be an American. You become ashamed of the community. I was an ardent supporter of Henry Ford at the age of twelve.

The strike of 1931 revolved around readers in the factory. The workers themselves used to pay twenty-five to fifty cents a week and would hire a man to read to them during work. A cigar factory is one enormous open area, with tables at which people work. A platform would be erected, so that he'd look down at the cigar makers aas he read to them some four hours a day. He would read from newpapers and magazines and a book would be read as a serial. The choice of the book was democratically decided. Some of the readers wer marvelous natural actors. They wouldn't just read a book. They'd act out the scenes. Consequently, many cigar makers, who were illiterate, knew the novels of Zola and Dickens and Cervantes and Tolstoy. And the works of the anarchist, Kropotkin. Amon the newspapers read were The Daily Worker and the Socialist Call. The factory owners decided to put an end to this, though it didn't cost them a penny. ...

It was an extraordinarily radical strike. The cigar makers tried to march to City Hall with red flags, singing the old Italian anarchist song, "Avanti popolo," "Scarlet Banner." I thought it was Spanish because we used to sing "Avanca pueblo." You see the bonus march mad them feel the revolution was here. ...

There were attempts to organize the CIO. I remember one of my older cousins going around in a very secretive manner. You'd think he was planning the assassination of the czar. He was trying to sign people up for the CIO. The AF of L International was very conservative and always considered as an enemy. They never gave the strike any suppor. It was considered the work of agitators

Th first successful "sit-down" strike began at GM's Fisher body plant in Flint, MI, Christmas Eve 1936 and expanded to four additional sites. It lasted 44 days and was organized by the UAW-CIO. A striker like Glenora Dollinger didn't see herself among the "communists" GM claimed had commandeered its property.

Victor Reuther was there.

I get angry when I see hard-won gains given away as concessions to arrogant employers, who are ven more greedy than they were in the '30s. I am embarrassed that the labor movement which once foughtso hard to win these gains now [1995] appears to be the junior partner in a corporate world. So, hitting eighty-two, I want to get out and keep fighting.

Good thing he's dead. I don't think he'd be much impressed by middle-class demands for tax-cuts to make their benefits more "affordable."

I was with the rise of the CIO in the late '30s, when a new kind of labor leadership came into office. They came up through the ranks: textile workers, auto workers, chemical workers. They knew what it was to be in the shop, to be tied [or locked in, as at Ford] to the assembly line.

As time has passed and the trade-union movement has become bureaucratized, the leadership tend to look upon themselves as corporate executives. The spend so much of their time in paneled, air-conditioned offices that they've lost touch with the rank and file. They do not realize the degree of discontent in the ranks. ...

I may be the sole survivor of a group that went to the Soviet Union in the '30s to help build the first automobile plant there. Later, refugees from Hitler's Germany and Austria fled to Russia. Many were fleeing Mussolini in Italy. Canadian and American Finns by the thousands went to Karelia, where Walter and I helped build this first factory. The Ford Motor Company was officially participating, at the request of President Roosevelt. In the end, Stalin practically liquidated the whole international community that had sprung up there. I'm one of the few still around to tell the story.

He died June 3, 2004.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 03:23:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's Barry implying Joe must be lying, because no plumber could possibly make "a quarter million dollars." And you falling for it because afterall the IRS has a $1200 lien on Joe's checking account and "ninety-five percent" of small businesses (read: DBAs?*) earn less than "a quarter million dollars."

Very funny, Frank: "effete intellectual white collar urban middle class which McCain is trying to paint Obama as representing."

McCain is wasting his time trying to suck up to what passes for "hard working white Americans" as opposed to "hard working Americans" and "intellectual white collar" Dilberts.

---
* "Figure 1 and Table 1 show data from the Internal Revenue Service's Statistics of Income ("SOI") regarding the number of tax returns filed by different forms of business organizations from 1978 to 2005 ...Throughout the period 1978 to 2005, nonfarm proprietorships made up the vast majority of businesses. The S corporation is the second most numerous business form. In 2005, S corporations constituted 11.6 percent of all business entities."

fn. 16 "The numbers reported for nofarm sole proprietorships and for farm returns are based upon the number of taxpayers who filed a business return as a sole proprietor (Schedule C to From 1040) and who filed a farm income return (Schedule F to form 1040).[Sixty-seven percent] One taxpayer may report more than one business organized as a sole proprietorship; in that circumstance, the data reported here count only one sole proprietorship."
--"Technical Explanation Of Title III (Tax Provisions) Of Division A Of H.R. 1424, The "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act Of 2008" Scheduled For Consideration By The Senate On October 1, 2008" Joint Committe on Taxation, pp6-10 (pdf)

If Barry and Michelle filed a Schedule C, (and he did; I read the pdfs of the returns released to the public.) does he count his family among the sole proprietors (self-employed, salaried employee reporting "Other Income") or a small business employer?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 10:23:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always thought Obama could be a bit Po-faced -but here he is really funny - and quite cutting about poor Rudy!

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 20th, 2008 at 03:26:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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