Thursday, August 14, 2008

BREAKING: Delawareliberal verifies that Obama "clinging to guns or religion" comment was NOT taken out of context

You'll recall that back during primary season, Senator Barack Obama got a nasty surprise when audio from a closed fund-raiser surfaced, with his voice explaining the attitudes of small town Ameircans in these words:

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.


As the UK's Guardian noted,

Obama initially reacted to the resultant media firestorm over the weekend by trying to stand by his comments. But he later apologised, saying: "If I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that."


Now, in a stunning piece of investigative journalism and editorial analysis, Jason Scott of Delawareliberal explains that Senator Obama meant exactly what he said, and that it is the opinion of many liberal Democrat columnists and bloggers that many (if not most) non-liberal middle-class American citizens are feared to be homicidal gun-toting maniacs.

Scott quotes extensively from an article by David Neiwert in 2005 that argues:

I’ve been talking for some time about the course that eliminationist rhetoric on the right would eventually take by the force of its own nature: pretty soon we’d go from talking about liberals as traitors to overtly wishing for violence to be visited upon them and discussing locking them up, followed in due course by such violence and incarceration becoming a reality....

Now, you won’t hear this talk on the upper levels of the conservative movement....

You hear it when conservatives — especially those red-state cultural conservatives from the working class who are most likely to vote against their own self-interest, and then blame liberals for how lousy their lives are — get together among themselves for their communal liberal-bashing hatefests. They’ll say it when they think no one else is listening. You can hear it from “fringe” radio figures like Michael Savage. Or you can read it in the unpublished letters to the editor that most publications choose not to run....

My very clear impression of the rank-and-file American right is that many if not most of them, at the behest of their leaders, now believe that opposing George W. Bush and the Iraq War, as well as his handling of the War on Terror, is an act of genuine treason worthy of the ultimate social condemnation, including incarceration and execution. They feel not only vindicated but profoundly empowered by the election result, empowered to silence their opposition, by force if need be.


Niewart's Eliminationist Rhetoric Theory has, since 2005, become a staple piece of George Lakoff-style issue reframing for liberal/progressive thinkers. [I won't do the thousands of links; just Google Niewart and eliminationist if you want to find them.]

In fact, on the blogs attached to Senator Barack Obama's official election website you can find discussions of Niewart's work, and examples provided that validate the seriousness with which many of the Senator's supporters connect this rhetoric to small-minded Americans out there clinging to their guns in order to create a society that tyrannizes liberals:

There is one conservative spokesperson who's led the rhetorical race to the bottom -- and one specific long-term conservative political agenda item that got served as a result. In his [Niewart's] first example, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre sells a "vision of the world where violent assaults on individuals are inevitable, all laws and institutions are powerless to stop them, and the only guarantee for survival is for citizens to be prepared to fire a gun at the oncoming danger." This worldview can only be adopted at the cost of our own democratic ideals, by fostering a "command-obedience" relationship between the governors and the governed—one that places the use of force outside the rule of law and beyond the control of the people's government. In the presence of arms, people are silenced, and the creative give-and-take required for good problem-solving suffers. Those who hold the guns prevail. This leads to tyranny.


Jason has carefully and perceptively summed up this liberal world-view in the concluding sentences of his post Killing Democrats & Other “traitors”:

It will probably get worse at Obama continues to lead in the polls, and “cultural conservatives” feel more an more helpless and at odds with the mainstream of American thought. As Neiwert points out, violence is the natural result of the kind of rhetoric we’ve gotten from the national conservative punditry. Simmering with rage and comforted by their guns, the Republican underclass is inarticulate but increasingly willing to act out the violent fantasies that Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have been pimping for the past ten years.


Let's compare those two critical sentences again.

First, the one Senator Obama sort of disowned ["If I worded things in a way that made people offended"]:

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.


And then Jason's concluding sentence:

Simmering with rage and comforted by their guns, the Republican underclass is inarticulate but increasingly willing to act out the violent fantasies that Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter have been pimping for the past ten years.


The only real difference between Senator Obama and Blogger/investigative journalist Jason Scott is that since Jason is not actually running for office he is free to verify what the Senator had to back away from for reasons of getting elected:

Many liberal politicians and bloggers [including at least one running for President] really do believe that any middle-class Americans who are not liberals are in fact potential homicidal maniacs waiting to gun down innocent Democrats.

Thanks, Jason, for clarifying everything on Senator Obama's behalf.

7 comments:

kavips said...

Just a couple of points:

One Obama was making apologies for, or at least attempting to explain to Californians, the tendencies of ex-Republican rural American voters. In other words, within the full context of his answer, one gets the sense of a pensive mind trying to explain their rational to Californians who still have some trouble understanding why people would not want to sit at their pool all day... (I say that because I love Californians, but recognize: 'they are different'."

Jason has just been challenged to a duel by a wingnut such as the one you describe. Probably a normal functioning middle class person in real life, but one who, being incapable of articulating his ideas in human fashion, at least effectively, resorts to the bully's mantra of "Meet me outside, if you dare."

What this proves is..... nothing really. Except for the obvious generalization that people all across the board, are different.....

Where I think you err in your otherwise funny and clear assessment, is in your conclusion where you seem to impose your message of what you wanted it to carry, instead of summing up the momentum on which the natural weight of article is moving forward on its own.....

There is discordance between the two, that took away from the otherwise profundity of the piece.

To facilitate not flipping between screens, allow me to post it again here...

Many liberal politicians and bloggers [including at least one running for President] really do believe that any middle-class Americans who are not liberals are in fact potential homicidal maniacs waiting to gun down innocent Democrats.

First, since we are dealing with "fringe" elements, for me to take the last paragraph seriously, I need a quantification of the word many.... 5, 500, 5000, 500,000 ...

One cannot rule out there are none...so some quantification is needed to determine whether the idea has, or has not, any validity....

Were I editor, my recommendation would be thus:

Liberals and bloggers (perhaps including the one running for President), really do believe that within that category of middle class who are not Liberals, there may in fact, lurk homicidal maniacs willing at some point to gun down innocent Democrats....

Even though it takes away the fun of teasing Jason330, it makes a good piece a little better....

But, now you see, that's why I'm not an editor..... :)

Mattheus Mei said...

For some reason I'm reminded of a certain man in Tennessee who went into a church and shot up a bunch of people killing one because they were liberals and supported gays, defiled his Jesus, etc. In his truck were copies of the latest Tomes by Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly - but I'm sure that was just coincidental.

Hube said...

My God, the Left is really losing it. One word: The Unabomber. Therefore, according to fuck-ups like Jason Scott, the "Democrat underclass" is acting out their frustrations, yada yada yada.

DE Liberal has become a pathetic parody that should only be taken as an Onion-style comedy.

Steve Newton said...

kavips,
With all due respect, I think you both got and missed the point of my approach.

I used "many" without quantification quite intentionally, in precisely the same fashion that Jason doesn't qualify any of his statements and does a blanket condemnation of anybody who happens to be a Republican or a conservative (and please recall that I am neither).

Moreover, as I will show soon in a more serious piece, this "exterminationist" label by David Niewart is a collection of pseudo-history, factual cherry-picking, and the overt ideological distortion of facts to score political points.

I've tried to do this through rational discourse.

It hasn't worked, because Jason--among others--is not interested in that.

Steve Newton said...

kavips,
A second note; the wingnut who has challenged jason to a duel is not a conservative or a GOPer: he's a paid consultant to both the Carney and Denn campaigns.

That hardly serves as evidence for jason's point of view.

Joe M said...

Shoddy thinking a DE Lib? Shocking!

Good thing they can't silence you on your own blog, Steve.

kavips said...

Yes, I missed your tone in copying precisely the same fashion that Jason doesn't qualify any of his statements.

I also missed Hube's reference to the Unabomber and how it does apply to this discussion. More connections, please? (It could be there, I just didn't make the jump.)

And I was quite well aware of the ID of Jason's threat.... I left it open on purpose, to poke fun of the type of characters behind Carney's campaign. And yet at the same time to illustrate that the fear of a threat is very real to liberals. Alas, for what it was worth.