Case In Point

While this isn’t my letter, some of it is damned close to my sentiment:

Dear Stumped,

For 30-odd years I have been a faithful Democrat. But this year, I feel like I am about to hit the wall.

I am not particularly conservative. I support single-payer health care, a high minimum wage, strong environmental protections, and full civil rights for gay and lesbian folk. But I have come to the point where I just cannot stand liberals in general and Barack Obama in particular. The smug sense of superiority, the air of condescension to working-class people, and the overwhelming sense of self-righteousness have me ready to grab the first tire iron I can find and swing it at the first person who utters the word “inspiration.”

I fully understand the reservations that some people have about Hillary Clinton, and I admit I share a couple of them. But the Cult of Obama is one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen. When I hear things like “We are the ones we have been waiting for” and “We are the change we seek,” I want to scream. Is this kind of psychobabble all that is left of the intellectual tradition of Locke, Mill, and Niebuhr?

In contrast to this rhetorical insanity, John McCain seems centered in reality as I understand it. I do not share his enthusiasm for the war, but at least he understands we cannot leave Iraq in shambles.

Am I the only Democrat who feels this way? Or is there some new version of the ”Reagan Democrats” of the 1980s, people who feel alienated by the arrogance of the party’s liberal leadership and are ready to jump ship in November?

— Not Sure I am Still a Democrat

And what is the sage advice from your friendly Washington Post blogger?  Check this out:

Dear Not Sure,

Okay. Take a deep breath. Put down that tire iron. Easy does it…. Did someone, perhaps a “smug liberal,” just break up with you or something? I know how these personal problems can color our political biases. I’d probably be in favor of single-payer health care if a certain brunette hadn’t … okay, I digress.

All I am asking is this: Where is your anger coming from? Because if there’s to be a legion of “McCain Democrats” (I doubt it, though Michael Kinsley seems tempted), I’m guessing these would be pro-war, pro-business Democrats who resent heavy-handed attempts to arrive at universal health care coverage. The views you describe, in contrast, fit comfortably in the dominant liberal mainstream of the Democratic Party.

Your beef seems to be more cultural — more a matter of tone than of policy. If all this isn’t stemming from some shock in your personal life, I am going to assume you have been spending the bulk of your time in a liberal bastion such as D.C., the Upper West Side or Santa Monica. The way you recoil against what you consider liberals’ smugness, perceived moral superiority, self-righteousness and arrogance tells me you are suffering a bad case of dogma reflux.

It happens. You are so smothered by a prevailing dogma, held without question and with such self-satisfied vehemence by those around you, that your body’s organisms begin to reject it, and you begin to question long-held beliefs. Before you know it, you find yourself saying things at dinner parties like “Well, on the other hand, the president did increase AIDS funding for Africa” — and everyone stops the conversation to look at you with concern.

You need a time-out, my friend. Clarity is a beautiful thing. So do yourself a favor: Take a few weeks off and travel to a red redoubt like Tulsa and ingratiate yourself to the natives, as I advised Remy recently. Make friends. Talk politics. See what happens. You’ll either find yourself missing the smugness of right-minded people — or you’ll discover you really have been in the wrong tribe all along.

ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME??!!?!?!(please excuse the liberal punctuation)

Either A: there is something wrong with NotSure stemming from some personal SHOCK, or B: NotSure simply MUST be a lifelong resident of Liberal City, USA.  He couldn’t, just couldn’t, have a mind of his own. 

And you people don’t think you’re drinking koolaid.  Just look at the assumptions on the part of ol’ Stumpy.  Evidently there’s something WRONG with merely acknowledging that Bush did indeed increase AIDS funding for Africa.  (Remember, do that and “everyone will stop” and “look at you with concern.”)

There’s your culture of hope.  Finding the good in a bad situation is cause for “concern.” 

Uh-huh.  I find phrases like “dogma reflux” to be sufficient cause for “concern.”


6 thoughts on “Case In Point

  1. This was great. I understand what you’re going through. If you find an answer let me know. I think we’ve been “spun” so much, we have no clue as to what reality is anymore.

    Right now, my vote is for “none of the above.” This isn’t a slacker decision. I’ve never not voted in a presidential election. If I don’t go to the polls it will be my way of saying, “None of this crap that you’re presenting is acceptable.”

    For some reason, this reminds me of when I went to see “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Everyone in the audience was clapping and cheering and booing in unison (depending on who was on the screen). There was this group think thing going on that was a little creepy, even to my liberal way of thinking. I talked to my son about it, and he said, “Remember, Mom, Michael Moore’s go his agenda too.” I try to remember that, even if they’re supposedly on “my side.”

    Sorry for rambling. I hope this makes sense.

  2. Makes perfect sense to me, moonbeam. I could live with either Clinton or McCain, but I don’t think either is perfect by a long shot. One serious consideration I have with McCain is who his running mate will be, and if he’s going to end up giving Huckabee some post like Attorney General (Gods, no!). His running mate will make a big difference, because like it or not, he’s 71 (I think) and if he cacks it, I don’t want some holy roller taking office either.

    I dunno. It’s very discouraging. Obama’s just the liberal version of Bush, all talk and no substance, but, hey, let’s all vote for him anyway because he talks purty.

  3. I am disappointed in the choices left for president. I would have voted for McCain in 2000, but I don’t know now. I’ve never been a fan of the Clintons. And we see that talking a good game still works in getting people to vote for you.

    As for McCain, I seriously doubt that he would consider Huckabee for his VP, unless of course, he wants NO chance of winning the election.

  4. I know it’s often said by those fed up with whatever the “current” situation is in the USA lately, but . . .I only live 6 miles from Canada. From there, I can sit back and say “told ya so” in four years when this country’s gone COMPLETELY down the tubes.

    Fat lot of satisfaction that will be. Hrmph.

  5. What’s wrong with someone that can inspire people? We’ve gone through years of zero leadership where the only thing asked of us is to “keep living as Americans” so that the terrorists don’t win. There are some tough times coming and this country needs someone that can persuade people to sacrifice and do the right thing whether that is pay into universal health, not buy an SUV, or whatever.

    The choice as I see it is between Clinton’s and McCain’s politics of “confrontation” and Obama’s politics of bringing people to the table to talk and work things out. Obama will instantly gain the respect of much of the world and get us back quite a few allies. His approach is thoughtful and logical in a world where we need friends not enemies.

    Clinton wants to “take on the Republicans” and beat them down. Obama wants to work with them and fashion a working government. Clinton wants to confront aggressor nations. Obama wants to work with them to make them stop being aggressive. Don’t you think that is the better way? I don’t think Republicans are “evil”… just self-serving and Clinton’s approach will only build things up at their expense so naturally they will fight tooth an nail. I just want a better way out. Obama talks like someone not jaded by years in DC and that is what the country wants. Sure, he’ll probably let us down in many ways but Clinton’s approach of “more of the same” confrontational politics is a failure now and we should at least give civility a chance.

  6. What’s wrong with someone that can inspire

    Nothing, Keith, but I don’t think that’s the requisite for becoming a President. I ask for more.

    Bush inspired people, too, just on the other side of the aisle. Obama’s lack of detail and tendency to stick to vague generalities that appeal to the better nature of people is lighthearted and, indeed, inspiring, but, not substantive. And we’re electing a president, not a preacher.

    Just because we’re tired of war–and I’m really f’ing tired of it, tyvm–doesn’t mean we’re not still at risk from other threats. Iran becomes increasingly belligerent every single day, and the rhetoric from them alone is enough to make me believe we need someone more experienced than he is at this time.

    I don’t expect a President to fulfill his or her campaign promises. What I do expect is at least a general outline of what their policies will be.

    Besides which, Obama is not the gay-friendliest candidate out there. He parses his relationship with the gay community to the extent of inviting anti-gay preachers to his rallies(Donnie McClurkin), and shunning pro-gay marriage mayors (Newsom). Remember that Bush himself was not particularly anti-gay, nor Cheney, until they needed to be to get elected and stay elected. I don’t see Hillary doing that–in fact, she’s the only candidate who actually sat down with the Advocate to give an interview.

    You say, Clinton wants to “take on the Republicans” and beat them down. Obama wants to work with them and fashion a working government. Working with them means gays will be once again the sacrificial lamb. Mark. My. Words.

    I really believe that people are so full of disgust for Bush that they’re just voting for what they perceive as the ultimate anti-Bush. And while nice in theory, it may well come back to bite us in the ass.

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