Palin socks it to the prigs

Real or not, it\'s a good image!

Real or not – this is the sort of image projected by Palin. I’m glad it appeals.

Sarah Palin produced a stunning performance when she spoke at the Republican Convention yesterday.  She scared the pants off the pseudo-lefty blogospehere.  When put to the test, McCain’s “idiotic” and “uniformed” choice of running mate revealed herself to be more than a “confused fundie airhead”. Turns out he knew what he was doing. It’s panic all around. Maybe the End really is nigh!  Could The Messiah be running out of luck?

Writes one depressed punter at Lovartus Prodeo

Check the sustained cheering and mayhem when she goes “the media”. It’s decent small town repubs agin dirty left liberal media blogging fops. I never seen such a big snook cocked.

I am seriously depressed. And as Nabs says – this is better than any WW writers wld ever dare serve up. (But then I’m not Nabs – so remain depressed.)

If she manages to transcends the base – and allows the mainstream white voter to find reason to honour their instincts – then the Dems are done again.

If Obama needed a challenge – he’s got it now. I’d love to think that coming back to the issues is the answer but I reckon this is gonna be all about rhetoric. Voters are uncomplicated folk by and large and economics may as well be string theory.

Oh dear!! What a pity those “uncomplicated folk” have the vote!

What fascinates me as I read this  stuff from the  “progressive” camp is the utterly undisguised contempt for ordinary  people.    They just don’t get it.   McCain understood enough to play the game by choosing a fesity, gun-toting mother-of-five who will win support precisely  because she can project an image of real toughness and spirit at the same time as appearing “ordinary”.   And how do “progressives”   respond?   They launch a mocking  attack on her support base (ordinary working people).  They berate them, laugh at their “folksiness” and “simple-mindedness”.

Yesterday’s Crikey email newsletter thought it could score a point by  saying:  “The fact is, that the pregnancy of Palin junior points to the deeper hypocrisy of the proselytizing, moralizing, upright, arrogantly self assertive religious right. Weird indeed. ” Huh??  The kid’s pregnant and her mum still gets the Republican nomination for Vice President! It’s only the pesudo-left who is moralizing.  I’ve rarely read anything more preachy and arrogantly upright  than the commentary on Palin in the mainstream pseudo-left blogosphere over the past few days.

What on earth are they thinking???  The world has moved on. It’s extraordinary really.  Here we have American conservatives (!)  endorsing as their Vice Presidential candidate, a woman who projects an image of toughness, spirit and a bit of cheek.  They cheer when she  maintains that “every woman can walk through every door of opportunity”,  they take it as a given that she’ll be out in the public arena while her husband looks after the kids.  They don’t care that her teenage daughter didn’t wait till she was married. Things have changed when this is the way for conservatives to score a goal!

I’m an atheist, I support abortion rights, sex education in schools (and  all the rest of it). Nothing about  Palin’s views panics or depresses me though.  Some of her views are very  backward and I would argue against them.  But the mocking contempt  from people who call themselves “leftwing” and “progressive” is unforgivable.  It reflects an attitude toward the people which leaves me cold.  I don’t want to be ruled by prigs like that either. No thanks!

Fundamental to being on the Left is a positive attitude toward the people.  This is not the same as thinking that the people are always right (we know they aren’t.)  Nevertheless we have confidence in their capacity  to grow and change. Historically this has always been the case.  (Compare today’s mainstream beliefs with those even as recent as 50 years ago).  The  popularity of the image presented by Sarah Palin is a startling testament to this.

The sneering and jeering that we are seeing at the moment seems to be at odds with that other plank in the so-called progressive platform which is all about “diversity” and respecting different cultures.  Many of these people are prepared to downplay  the most appalling backwardness and abuses of human rights in various parts of the world.  It’s “their culture”, “they aren’t like us”, it’s “oppressive” to  expect them to embrace our (Western) values”.  They insist that it’s out of bounds to call backward,  primitive  cultures what they are – backward and primitive.  It’s not not of course.  What would be wrong is jeering and mocking at the same time as criticizing various cultural practices and traditions.   And this  is exactly what has happened in the case of Palin and her constituency.  Historically it was always the Right which engaged in such behaviour.  Now it’s the pseudo-left. They  are clearly to the right, even of the  of the Republicans, these days.

But I haven’t answered the question of why these people can both claim to embrace something called “diversity” while at the same time being quite prepared to sneer at ordinary people when it suits their agenda.

I don’t think this apparent double standard reveals incoherence – the underlying world view is quite coherent.  Both attitudes – feigned broad mindedness/tolerance and undisguised intolerance, reflect the same thing. It’s all part  of a priggish sense of superiority.  Quite simply, they patronise the “lower classes” and the oppressed.  Backward third-world cultures are romanticised and regarded as in need of protection.  Similarly, minority groups within Western society are seen as victims who can’t help themselves. The mainstream working people, on the other hand, are to be chastised and detested for refusing to embrace this ideology.  It’s frustrating when the masses won’t follow you even after  you’ve told them (again and again) what’s right!  There they are, sticking to their folksy views, clinging to religion and guns, doubting the theory of evolution. Damn them!!  Take away the vote until they come to their senses or we’ll find ourselves back in the dark ages.

Says Kim on Lovartus Prodeo:

My fear–that she (Palin)  will appeal, not just to Christian conservatives but to many “ordinary Americans” particularly in the Midwest and South-west, who like the idea of a citizen-politician.

Yikes!  How dare they go for a citizen politician!! Those “ordinary Americans” are a real problem…

Everything feels a little scary and threatening to these people. Sometimes I think that they really may be deluded::

Backlash? Feminists, or progressive women whatever, have been whipped from pillar to post for the last thirty years. When exactly do we get to fight back?  (comment at Lovartus Prodeo)

Strange stuff. As far as I can see, women are better off than they ever have been. What world do these people live in?


After all, if the neocons get back into power, the Supreme Court will be fixed for the next decade and american women’s rights will be stripped to the bone, and the rest of us may well follow them back into the dark ages. This is serious………And I definitely don’t want a fundie airhead a heartbeat away from the trigger.

They actually think they’re in danger when American conservatives have shifted to the point of swooning over a female vice presidential candidate who mounts a spirited attack on the Washington Establishment and the “good ole boys”.  Whether Palin is genuine, is entirely beside the point.  What counts is that she projects a rebellious, gutsy, gritty  image and mainstream America loves it. That is real.

The social shift  is enormous. The clock has jumped forward and can’t be turned back.

I haven’t even covered the other thread of debate in the “lefty” blogosphere. That’s the one in which Palin is attacked for putting political ambition ahead of her “large and troubled family”.  There’s been a lot of this on the Huffington Post, and a bit on Lovartus Prodeo. This is interesting in itself as I can see a wedge opening up.  The more extreme “feminist”(??) attacks on Palin for having “neglected” her children (my god!! one of them is pregnant and she went back to work the day after her Down’s Syndrome baby was born in April) have roused the ire of other women and forced some of them to show just a little grudging respect for Palin.

Confusion abounds – which is all to the good.  Strange times and all that.

Palin’s delievery of her speech can be viewed here.

40 Responses to “Palin socks it to the prigs”

  1. 1 youngmarxist

    Many feminists who stand against Governor Palin’s politics have been angered by some of the more personal attacks on the Governor:Wake up and smell the privilege, Kossacks. Then back the hell off. By concentrating so much on the personal rather than the political you are letting this simplistic conservative candidate get all the inside running, and it’s playing in her favour. That doesn’t help keep McCain out of the White House, dudes. Criticise some of her actual executive decisions and policy positions for a while now, please.

  2. 2 Bill Kerr

    I liked Palin’s line that Obama can speak about two wars that america is involved in without mentioning the word “victory”, except for victory for his campaign to be President. She also effectively drilled Obama for his patronising double standards regarding middle america, the rednecks who enjoy their hunting and beer. I thoroughly enjoyed her speech and her joke about hockey mums (the difference b/w a hockey mum and a bull pit is lipstick) – but was simultaneously aware her considerable demagogic ability to temporarily induce me to suspend my critical thinking and just go along for the ride. I thought afterwards that maybe she is like a Pauline Hanson who is actually entertaining as well as populist.

    I agree with your critique that the Left’s diversity thinking is very different from a class and historical analysis of where we are at. There is more fleshing out required there I think. For instance, this recent review of a new book by Hitchens is worth reading in that respect. I’d also shamelessly point to my own blog accounts of Furedi’s analysis of the “left”: how the left became conservative and truth slips from view …

    It also should be pointed out that not all critics of Palin from the liberal left are pseudos in the sense you are describing, for example, Borderlands Alaskan blog offers a more measured view – and he links to some other interesting accounts that are worth reading.

  3. 3 keza

    I think that the analogy with Pauline Hanson is (roughly) accurate.  Hanson’s views were reactionary and needed to be opposed.  But once again she was attacked for being “ordinary”.  And the attitude of the pseudo-left was to not only  attack her for this but also to try to prevent her from speaking (they shamelessly attempted to wreck public meetings at which she was a speaker). Reactionary ideas generally need to be debated, not repressed.

    In Hanson’s case the two major parties here in Australia combined to drive her out of parliamentary politics.  They didn’t want a third force.  She became everybody’s scapegoat. And the pseudo-left joined in.

    My main point is that if you attack the people you aren’t going to make it with anyone.  Palin herself is not really the issue. I’m talking about her constituency and what is is that they find attractive in Palin.   A lot of that is good – the “gutsy woman standing up to Washington” etc.  There is plenty that is more negative of course and those things should be fought.

    But the way the liberal/fake lefty blogosphere goes about it makes me sick.  They really are a pack of elitist prigs.

    McCain chose her for good reason: he wants to win and he has some grasp of what is required.  I don’t think that he cares for the people any more than the p-leftists, but he’s not so silly as to attack them for being simple minded.

    Obama also has some grasp, hence his attempts to reign in some of the vitriole against Palin.  He can see trouble there.

    Have a read of this: Vice in Go-Go Boots? . It’s from the New York Times. Here’s an excerpt:

    This chick flick, naturally, features a wild stroke of fate, when the two-year governor of an oversized igloo becomes commander in chief after the president-elect chokes on a pretzel on day one.

    The movie ends with the former beauty queen shaking out her pinned-up hair, taking off her glasses, slipping on ruby red peep-toe platform heels that reveal a pink French-style pedicure, and facing down Vladimir Putin in an island in the Bering Strait. Putting away her breast pump, she points her rifle and informs him frostily that she has some expertise in Russia because it’s close to Alaska. “Back off, Commie dude,” she says. “I’m a much better shot than Cheney.”

    Then she takes off in her seaplane and lands on the White House lawn, near the new ice fishing hole and hockey rink. The “First Dude,” as she calls the hunky Eskimo in the East Wing, waits on his snowmobile with the kids — Track (named after high school track meets), Bristol (after Bristol Bay where they did commercial fishing), Willow (after a community in Alaska), Piper (just a cool name) and Trig (Norse for “strength.”)

    “The P.T.A. is great preparation for dealing with the K.G.B.,” President Palin murmurs to Todd, as they kiss in the final scene while she changes Trig’s diaper. “Now that Georgia’s safe, how ’bout I cook you up some caribou hot dogs and moose stew for dinner, babe?

  4. 4 John Greenfield

    The “progressive” Spinster Aunts at Luvvie Plodders are just bitter – AGAIN -that they can’t catch an Eskimo to marry them, father their children, stay at home and play Mr.Dad, while they become an international feminist sensation and putative Vice President of the United States of America.Still, they’ve always got the gig where they sit in their room, taking a nip a gin, firing off revolutionary blog posts – behind a pseudonym – against “rednecks,” “feminists of convenience,” “fascists,” “the christian right.” Sock it to ’em ladies and change the world.Silly, silly, silly bints.Sock it to e’m

  5. 5 keza

    Maybe some of them are bitter. 

    I’m quite happy to sock it to ’em.  But…. even when enraged we should avoid casting aspersions and concentrate on exposing the ideas of those we oppose.

    It can be difficult to do that at times, especially when the approach is not reciprocated.   For example this comment at LP.  No content there. Just frothing.

    Nevertheless,  we need to  stick to our guns and avoid too much slagging off if we want to win in the end.

  6. 6 Mag C

    I think you’re taking the enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend philosophy a little too far: Sarah Palin is valuable because she exposes a few bloggers and commenters as elitists and pseudo-leftists?! This is culture-war gumph.What precisely is it about the McCain-Palin policies that attracts you to them?  Where’s your evidence that Palin’s ‘ordinary people’ are ‘the people’? Isn’t Palin’s ‘ordinary people’ just another populist gambit that defines said people in terms of those who the cosmopolitan, Hollywood, elites etc. etc. hate and act all superior too. In what ‘Left’ universe is John McCain not part of the capitalist elite? Are you really buying into this round of the culture wars?

  7. 7 keza

    My blog posting was not in support of Palin’s personal views on such things as abortion, abstinence based sex education in schools etc).  It was an attack on the reactionary nature  of the “left-wing” response to her, and more especially, toward those who identify with her.   Two different things entirely.

    Palin’s “ordinary people” are a large slab of the American white working class, a group which has become increasingly pro-Republican. This is not a negligible group.  Obama selected Biden as his running-mate, partly for this reason.

    Where did I say that John McCain is not part of the capitalist elite?  I can’t find it!  My point was that his choice of Palin was a smart move, enforced on him by some very real and positive changes in the way American conservatives view the role of women. 

    The panic stricken response from “lefty”/liberals is a real case of tilting at windmills, as well as extraordinarily priggish and arrogant. 

  8. 8 Mag C

    The point isn’t that Palin’s ordinary-people are being attacked but rather that she is invoking a culture-war populism that invites people to identify as ordinary because the cultural elite (in Washington, in Hollywood, in the Left-blogapsphere etc) “looks down on people like you!” You could hear the same sneering populism in other speeches at the RNC: Gulliani was clear that Obama’s cosmopolitanism meant that he hated and looked down on small-town Americans. As if these orientations are mutally incompatible. This is divisive politics- which won’t help the next US Government solve the massive geopolitical and economic problems the country faces.   I’m not saying that populism, like Palin’s, is monopolised by the left or right, but that who ‘the people’ are has more to do with rhetoric than is usually thought. In Australia ‘the people’ were John Howard’s ‘battlers’ before they became Kevin Rudd’s ‘working families’. How ‘the people’ are placed into national narratives, who their enemies are, what their values are all changes over time and according to how electorally successful the rhetoric is. The current opposition calls ‘the people’ ‘ordinary everyday Australians’ – we’ll see whether this catches on.It’s what the populism is aimed at that is the problem here. Palin’s RNC speech was pure culture war divisive populism designed to elicit a reactionary left-liberal response. I read your post as letting her and the GOP off the hook for that while you attack the “pseudo-left”. Her personal beliefs are in fact her political beliefs and therefore deserve critique and after a little over a week it’s much too early to tell whether her popularity is actual, sustainable or represents any real shift in American conservative beliefs around women in public life.   

  9. 9 keza

    Mag C,

      It is most certainly true that the populism being invoked is a calculated political stunt, and that this sort of thing is done by politicians everywhere. It’s all part of the game.  Support  for crude populism is not what I was proposing.

    And as you point out, the divisiveness is negative.  I agree with you that it’s reactionary to suggest that Obama’s cosmopolitanism is in itself bad and elitist, and that narrow parochialism is what’s in the interests of the people.

    I wanted to get across:

    (a) That the pseudo-left attacks were as much on Palin’s constituency as on her and that what they do is to  reveal the very  real elitism which currently dominates the “left”/liberal community. In my view, this actually  feeds popular anti-intellectualism, narrow mindedness and backwardness.  

    McCain was smart enough to predict that this would be the response from “leftists”.

    (b) That his choice of Palin was due to a real social shift.   American conservatives have now reached the point of actually wanting to embrace the notion that women can take their place along with men in the public arena.   Sure, they would not have embraced a black,  pro-abortion lesbian. But give them time!!  They need to start with one of their own.

    None of what I’ve said rules out criticising her views. But mocking, jeering and going into panic mode (my god they’ve released the nasty, brutish people, all is lost) is extraordinarily reactionary.

    I stand by my view that McCain’s selection of Palin indicates how far women have come and represents no real danger to the continuation of that progress. 

    As always it’s a double sided thing.  Essentially McCain has been forced onto a different playing field due to deep social changes which have occurred.  That’s the only way he can win.  But we should note that he’s been forced there because these changes are real. 

    That the “left” can’t see this, amazes me.  Their attacks on Palin’s constituency can only have the effect of holding things back and hardening the grip of backward ideology.  If progressive ideas are associated with a priggish, nasty elitism, they will be rejected.

  10. 10 Patrick B

    Hey guess what? urns out there’s this really crazy blog that looks like it’s Australian but sounds like those looney US neo-con Christian fundie types. It’s really funny, loads of good jokes about “lefties” and “progressives”. Anyway I hope you all have a nice time in November. Just remember that the party has asked you not to ask Sarah any hard questions like “where is Iraq” or anything like that. Try and keep you blog pieces under ten, no five, words most Christian fundie types like it short and quick (it is a sin after all). I’ll be back to check on yawl later and I’ll clean up the dribble and the poohs.

  11. 11 keza

    I’ve been having a bit of debate with some feminists at Hoyden About Town which anyone interested in the issues being discussed here may find interesting.

    And Patrick B’s comment (above) in which he writes things like:

    “Try and keep you blog pieces under ten, no five, words most Christian fundie types like it short and quick (it is a sin after all). I’ll be back to check on yawl later and I’ll clean up the dribble and the poohs.” is exactly the sort of attack on Palin’s constituency which I abhor.

  12. 12 keza

    NIck Cohen’s analysis of the response to Palin is worth reading.

  13. 13 arthur

    MagC wrote:Palin’s RNC speech was pure culture war divisive populism designed to elicit a reactionary left-liberal response. I read your post as letting her and the GOP off the hook for that while you attack the “pseudo-left”.

    I agree. The point is that it succeeded because, and only because, the “left liberals” are so reactionary.Tactics like that (and far more vicious ones) are standard stuff in mainstream politics. Everyone knows the GOP panders to the anti-abortion lobby and would be likely to run someone as VP who can assist with the pandering since their candidate for President can’t. So the GOP didn’t do something for which they could be placed “on the hook” by nominating Palin.

    It was the pseudos who impaled themselves on a hook and are are being nailed there by people who want to make sure their reactionary attitudes are not forgoten.

    BTW Obama didn’t make the mistake. He or his tactical advisors saw the danger immediately and put out a strong “hands off” warning. But the Democrat commentariat really ARE that preachy and sneering so they just couldn’t help themselves in falling for it, despite how blatant the tactic was, and how clearly they were warned against this instinctive reaction by their messiah.

    There are significant exceptions of course. But targeting her was just so OBVIOUSLY self-destructive that the people doing so really cannot help it, or they wouldn’t have done it. It’s as though the GOP had been unable to stop some of their “redneck” supporters from openly campaigning against Obama because he’s black. They have however been able to to distance themselves from anyone doing that. Obama’s tried, but he hasn’t succeeded because sneering is far more deeply ingrained in the Democrat base than racism in the Republican base.

    PS Here’s a discussion at Kasama showing relatively sophisticated posters unable to restrain themselves.

  14. 14 Steve Owens

    Palin’s speech has energised both the Republican and Democratic bases. The Republican National Conference has given McCain a bump in the polls while the right wing media elites are positively orgasmic in response to Palin. I also understand that it has lead to the largest single day of campaign donations in US history going to the Obama camp. Strange times indeed.

  15. 15 youngmarxist

    The Socialist Unity blog has a good article about this:

    “Just because she is religious and right-wing doesn’t mean she is stupid, or incompetant. She is a hard-boiled professional politician, with a high domestic approval rating. When she eventually starts giving media interviews she will do well, and she will talk directly to the anxieties of middle class Americans in small towns.

    America stands as a land divided. The liberal condescention towards the deeply held religious and moral choices of large numbers of their fellow countrymen plays directly into the hands of the Repubican right. The only way this divide can be healed is by progressive America finding common ground with the economic problems that unite working Americans: the lack of universal health care, the poverty wages of the working poor, the jobs being exported and the high levels of personal debt.”

  16. 16 Bill Kerr

    Obama supporters, LOL:”Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor.”

    “Meanwhile, the rest of the country was probably wondering what being a community organizer has to do with being president”- How Obama Blew It

    Apparently McCain is up 10 percent in the polls.

  17. 17 keza

    I doubt that it will be a matter of the American people finding common ground over simple economic issues, although that will be part of it. 

    I don’t think there will be a real breakthrough until people get serious about wanting more democracy.  At present everyone accepts that they get a chance every few years to choose between  the Democrats and the Republicans.   And the “lefty-liberals” really feed the continuation of this situation by suggesting that only by voting for the Democrats can America (and perhaps the entire world!) be saved from disaster.   The reality that this disguises is that the two parities are so very similar in terms of what they can really offer the people. Currently however, the Dems do win out on priggishness!  Given the utter obnoxiousness of the prigs, and the possibility that the Republicans may be more likely to push hard for democratization in the ME,  I would probably prefer a McCain/Palin victory.  However a black US president would also have benefits – so I’m not too fussed either way.

    In saying that the fight will revolve around “more democracy”,  I don’t mean to suggest that I go along with those who claim that the USA is on the brink of fascism.  If  they think that, then they don’t know what fascism is.  

    “More democracy” means exactly that  – more of it.  As a socialist, I think that demands for more democracy will at some point  have to confront the issue of who owns the means of production. At that point people will be seriously thinking in terms of  wanting to run things themselves rather than having a desire for  ‘nicer’ rulers who will take care of them better.

    I have no idea how long it will take before anything like this happens.  But  modernity is bound to create people who don’t want to be ruled  by either kindly prigs or  conservative father-figures.  They will want to rule themselves.

    Time  for a Douglas Adams quote:

    An extraterrestrial robot and spaceship has just landed on earth. The robot steps out of the spaceship…]

    “I come in peace,” it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, “take me to your Lizard.”

    Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the nonstop frenetic news reports on television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.

    “It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”

    “You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”

    “No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

    “Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

    “I did,” said ford. “It is.”

    “So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”

    “It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

    “You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

    “Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

    “But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

    “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”


    “I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”

  18. 18 Steve Owens

    Have you heard about Vietnam for McCainThe government there has fronted with the guy that captured McCain and the guy that ran the Hanoi Hilton to express their support for McCain. Seems that McCain has voted for every free trade agreement he could. Vietnam wants one with the USA and they think that John is their man.Another admirable thing about John is his position on US manufacturing jobs. I saw him and I think it was Romney talking to manufacturing workers. Romney said something rousing about protecting US jobs and getting back the ones that have been lost. (crowd cheers) McCain then got up and said something like those jobs have gone they are not coming back and Americans needed to change their thinking (stunned silence) You got to love someone who will say what he thinks rather than be a popular liar.

  19. 19 Steve Owens

    ps My tip for the election is a win for the DemocratesThis is due to the election being close. In a close election the turn out will be high. This favours the Dems because they have a larger supporter base are better organised at the ground level and wont waste vote on third candidates this time (sorry Ralph)McCain is a fighter only one year ago his campaign was so poor that he was carrying his own luggage at airports

  20. 20 arthur

    I’m still hoping (less confidently) that something will happen that ends up with the vote being between Condi Rice and Barack Obama.Possibilities include things happening very suddenly in the Middle East after Olmert quits around September 17 and McCain announcing he thinks she would be a better candidate.Another scenario is McCain being declared ineligible because he was born in the Canal Zone and not in a State of the Union as required by the Constitution.It would be such fun to watch the pseudos hinting about black single lesbians…

  21. 21 Bill Kerr

    This article and the responses is worth close study IMO: What Makes People Vote Republican. Lots of reading there. Don’t miss Roger Schank’s response, he is always entertaining and provocative

  22. 22 Cyberman

    I think Mag C was just about spot-on in saying ” I think you’re taking the enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend philosophy a little too far”But how about some Marxist justification for your strange ‘strange times’ position? Here is some Marxist justification for saying it’s all BS!Sarah Palin’s natural constituency is probably best described as a mixture of  the American petit- bourgeoisie and (white) lumpen proletariat. Marx didn’t have a good word to say about either grouping:According to Marx, the lumpen proletariat had no real motive for participating in revolution, and might have in fact have an interest in preserving the current class structure, because members of the lumpen proletariat often depended on the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy for their day-to-day existence. In that sense, Marx saw the lumpen proletariat as a counterrevolutionary force.Marx also argued that the petit bourgeoisie joined in short-term alliances with the proletariat to agitate for democratic rights but would inevitably support the bourgeoisie in its suppression of revolutionary movements, the 1848 Revolution in France being a classic example of this. Petit bourgeois parties had played significant roles in social and political mobilization but were fundamentally reactionary.PS Is this still a Marxist website? I thought your previous one was much better.

  23. 23 youngmarxist

    “Palin’s natural constituency is probably best described as a mixture of  the American petit- bourgeoisie and (white) lumpen proletariat.”

    Got any actual evidence for that? Social studies of likely voters? Polls broken down by class? Because if you are wrong, then your whole argument falls apart. Or are you going to get all upset, again, when I ask you to back up your assertions?

    “PS Is this still a Marxist website? I thought your previous one was much better.”

    Is that why you constantly disrupted it with bad-faith, attention-seeking posts? One of the benefits of this site is that your simple, easy smart-arse posts designed to push your point of view don’t get promoted to the top of the forum anymore, so we are more in control of our agenda.

  24. 24 youngmarxist

    I had a look at the links Bill posted and I think they are very valuable. People also might want to have a look at the discussion I am having at the Shiraz Socialist site. It’s doubly good because if there is something more likely to make some people foam at the mouth than Governor Palin, it’s an article by Frank Furedi of Spiked Online criticising the personal attacks on her (and providing many specific quotes of this happening).

  25. 25 Cyberman

    You seem to have one or two slight reservations about the accuracy of my description of Sarah Palin’s ‘natural constituency’.  If I’ve got it wrong, what would you say it was?Sarah Palin may be slightly interesting. Its hard to hold back from a bit of Palin bashing at times and resist the temptation to be not quite politically correct. But, this week of all weeks , we shouldn’t be talking about her.I came back on to your site looking for your take on the near meltdown that’s going on in the world at the moment. Trillions of dollars of bad debts. Nationalisation, in all but name, of some of the worlds biggest financial institutions. The world teeting on the edge of a financial meltdown. Don’t you guys read the papers?  Have you nothing to say on the topic?

  26. 26 byork

    The question to cyberman was to provide some evidence for his claim that Palin’s social base is the”(white) lumpen proletariat”. Rather than provide evidence for an unsubstantiated claim, he just ‘moves on’. Nothing new in any of this.Meanwhile…. Obama continues to have that new nervous edge to his voice, Iraq continues to look good, the Israeli government has said it does not oppose the release of Marwan Barghouti. Watch this spot for more empty chest-beating from cyberman about the world ‘financial meltdown’. Barry

  27. 27 keza

    Cyberman wrote:

    “I came back on to your site looking for your take on the near meltdown that’s going on in the world at the moment. Trillions of dollars of bad debts. Nationalisation, in all but name, of some of the worlds biggest financial institutions. The world teeting on the edge of a financial meltdown. Don’t you guys read the papers?  Have you nothing to say on the topic?

    I don’t know enough about it to shoot my mouth off at this stage and I’m not inclined to express an opinion or attempt an analysis just because “I should”.

    I honestly don’t feel that I can make any sensible predictions about the likely economic outcome, so I won’t.   All I’m doing at the moment is trying to increase my understanding.

  28. 28 Cyberman

    Maybe you could let Barry shoot his mouth off instead. He couldn’t get it all much more wrong than he did about the Middle East recently. When even the mainstream press are using phrases such as the end of capitalism , surely a Marxist website should at least open a thread on the looming crisis. If you have nothing to say I think I, and others, might be able to help you out! 

  29. 29 byork

    cyberman, if it’s more of the same bizaree stuff as your recent comment about Iraq’s oil deal with China, then please don’t bother. Like keza, I’m trying to follow and understand what’s happening – I don’t have your formula for understanding everything without the need for investigation. Still now evidence for the original claim that Palin’s social base is the (white) lumpen proletariat. How sad. Barry

  30. 30 Cyberman

     “Still now (sic) evidence for the original claim that Palin’s social base is the (white) lumpen proletariat.”  Maybe you aren’t sure what I mean by “lumpen proletariat”. They are generally speaking a politically backward underclass. There are several American unkind terms (non-Marxist)  for this group  such as “redneck” , “trailer trash” etc.  I do challenge you to give me a ‘yes or no’ answer on whether you agree with my assessment that Sarah Palin will attract considerable support from these groups.  In addition she will have considerable support from what Marx would have called the “petit bourgeoisie”. Self employed types, those running small businesses etc. This group would be more politically aware but nevertheless wouldn’t identify with the organised working class. If you feel that I’m wrong and that Sarah Palin will pick up considerable support from the organised working class and from more progressive and politically aware sections of society then please have the guts to say so directly, rather than sheltering behind this tedious tactic of screaming for “references references ! ”  You rarely give any yourself !

  31. 31 byork

    cyberman plucked a prejudice out of thin air, dressed it up in Marxist terminology, and still provides no evidence to support the assertion that was meant to represent a Marxist analysis. Like most religiuos-thinking, finding himself cornered to provide evidnece for his claim, he now turns to me and demands evidence for the contrary. Sorry, that’s not the way it works. You made the claim: you provide the supporting evidence. No wonder Marx once quipped that he was not a Marxist. I know what the lumpen proletariat is, in Marxist terms, and I also know that there’s a difference between a “social base” and “considerable support”. Your original claim was that the lumpens were Palin’s social base.Slip, slide, contort and distort. Such is the modus operandi of cyberman’s pseudo-leftism. And by the way, cyberman, the use of patronising statements such as “Maybe you aren’t sure what I mean by ‘lumpen proletariat'” merely shows you to be highly arrogant as well as frustrated by the failure of your analyses. My study of Marx commenced about 42 years ago and, while I’m aware of my limitations, I at least know that he wasn’t a social democrat.

  32. 32 Cyberman

    One of the more popular criticisms, or insults, that left groups throw at each other is that of ‘political bankruptcy’. (Do I need to cite a reference for this statement too?) I’ve always avoided using the term, it often seems too harsh and too cliched.But in your case it seems spot -on. You don’t have the guts to even disagree with what I’m saying or provide your own alternative explanation of the support base of the radical right in the USA.But even worse than that, we are in the midst of the most significant economic events since the 1929 Wall St crash. Your political bankruptcy is so complete that you are left speechless on this much more important issue too. 

  33. 33 byork

    This is meant to be evidence for the claim that Palin’s “social base” is the “(white) lumpen proletariat”? On the bigger issue, I could easily offer a formula-based pronouncement on the financial crisis – I learned the platitudes by heart long ago – but I’m into actual investigation of reality, which is why I got it right on Iraq. This doesn’t mean that I am in a position to investigate and analyse every important issue. My thinking on the current financial crisis, though, is not trapped in the paradigm that sees the alternatives in terms of whether there should be more or less regulation of capitalism. As Jimmy Cliff once sang: “The harder they come, the harder they fall”.

  34. 34 youngmarxist

    It’s very easy for Cyberman to attack others for having “nothing to say”.

    Cyberman, instead of indulging in your destructive attention-seeking here, why don’t you go and write something yourself? As far as “having the guts to disagree with you”, after the way you have acted in the past, when you made assertions that were easily disproved after a few minutes of checking, no-one who is after a serious discussion – as opposed to your corrosive wrecking – need worry about anything you have to say.

    Anyone who wants evidence of this can check out this discussion on the old Last Superpower forum …..just scroll down to where Cyberman makes wildly inaccurate claims about the amount of US foreign debt. People who have in the past been shown to argue dishonestly can’t expect to have their unattributed assertions taken seriously. Over the last couple of years you’ve demonstrated that you’re full of bad will towards us, and as far as I am concerned your comments should be deleted. You add nothing to discussion and disrupt what we’re doing.

  35. 35 keza

    Cyberman,  I think it’s you who don’t have an understanding  of the  “lumpen proletariat”.  As far as I’m concerned, anyone who is sufficiently part of society to (a) register to vote and (b) make the effort to cast a vote would not be part of the lumpen proletariat.

    Claiming that working class people who identify with someone like Sarah Palin must be “lumpen”, is an incredibly arrogant thing to do.  It won’t get you anywhere.   “Red necks” and “trailer trash” ?  You certainly cast your net very wide!!  Some among these groups certainly have lumpen tendencies, but basically the people you demean in this way are just a section of the poor and undeucated.

    Why can’t you face the fact that around 50% of Americans will choose to vote Republican for one reason or another.  It’s just obvious to me that the overwhelming majority of people who vote for the Republicans will be working people. It’s also the case that over the past decade or so,  a section of white blue collar workers have switched their allegiance from the Democrats to the Republicans. You should be wondering why this is so, rather than dismissing these people as just a bunch of  unworthy, stupid  lumpens.

    With regard to the financial crisis, our silence is not indicative of “bankruptcy” but due to the fact that unlike many others, we like to think before making pronouncements and predictions.

    We will certainly have something to say about it when we have investigated more.    I could shoot my mouth of right now about   booms and busts being an intrinsic  part of capitalism (etc etc). But how enlightening would that be?  We need more analysis than that.  In particular it needs to be an analysis of this particular crisis rather than some sort of formulaic response aimed at merely “exposing” capitalism.

  36. 36 keza

    David is correct that Cyberman’s motive in posting here (and at our old forum) appears motivated more by ill-will towards us, than by anything else.

    For that reason I’m putting  cyberman under moderation. I won’t approve comments from him unless they involve a serious attempt to engage with the substantive issues raised in our blog posts.

    My post about Sarah Palin raised several issues about McCain’s selection of Palin and what I saw as extreme arrogance in the response  from sections of “the left”.   Related to this,  I argued that the “Palin phenomenen” was a positive one, regardless of her declared views on abortion, sex education and so on. I went so far as to say that the preparedness of the conservative right to enthusiastically embrace her, indicated  a shift in a progressive direction by this group.

    These are the sorts of issues which should be addressed in the comments here.  All Cyberman has done is to take the opportunity to write short remarks (no thinking involved) about her social base being “lumpen”,  combined with attacks on us for  having remained silent so far on the financial crisis. He has even suggested that we open a thread so that he can have the opportunity to explain it to us!!

    Cyberman:  if you really feel that you have important things to say, it’s very easy to start your own blog. It’s not my job to open discussions for you. 

  37. 37 Bill Kerr

    Sam Harris on Palin (when atheists attack):”Ask yourself: how has “elitism” become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth—in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn’t seem too intelligent or well educated.”

  38. 38 arthur

    Sam Harris’ observations are interesting. The right is able to mobilize working people’s healthy distrust of their “betters” into support for demagogues who promote backwardness instead of raising people’s level and capability for running the world. The left is going to have to figure out how to do the latter.The easy part will be demolishing the liberal sneerers like Sam Harris, who honestly believes that the philistine conventional wisdom fed to each other by his fellow l33ts represents the actual basis for political decision making in the country he lives in – and can confidently maintain that delusion on the importance of his “opinion leader” leader peers despite knowing (and bemoaning) their complete impotence and lack of influence over either the rulers or the ruled.

  39. 39 the burningman

    You couldn’t be more off. Palin has panicked the Republicans because she is, in fact, a reactionary moron.Maybe watching broadcasts of American cable news lets you believe she is the voice of middle america, but I promise you people hate (and I mean loathe) her brand of Pentacostal nutjobbery. She is prig, hateful and willfully ignorant. This appeals to about 10-20% of America.The Republicans are going to lose this election, it would seem – and picking her drove away every voter who cares about abortion rights (quite a few middle-aged suburban women), science (anyone with above a high school education) and the legions who despise her power-point mentality. Anyone who has ever had a boss like her, which is a lot of people, will never vote for that ticket.McCain was not a social conservative and that made swing voters prone to his campaign. Once he picked Palin, and especially after her interviews… it’s over.

  40. 40 arthur

    Its obvious that McCain cannot win (my view was that he never could have).From Australia its hard to have a feel for US mainstream politics, although there is extensive coverage in the mass media.However I doubt that burningman’s perception is correct. The reaction described seems more likely to reflect that of a (large and significant) section of “liberals” who might have mouthed off about not supporting Obama (either because of supporting Clinton or because of Obama’s general transparent phoniness). Offering Sarah Palin as their reason for turning out and getting enthused can be a similar phenonema to the “Green” vote here which enables people to simultaneously denounce the ALP while rallying behind it. I suspect most of those would have come up with a “reluctant” reason to vote Democrat would ultimately have done so anyway – they usually do and Sarah Palin just provides a suitable excuse.I don’t think anyone (here) suggested she might be the voice of middle America. The point was that by picking her the Republicans were signalling that conservative America had made a major shift in its attitudes concerning women (just as electing Obama will be a major signal that the US as a whole has made a major shift in racial attitudes).I doubt that her “nutjobbery” will have the same impact on the middle that it has had on liberals. Its a specifically “liberal” rather than “middle” characteristic to get extremely upset about right-wing extremism. I think people in the middle actually have social contact with the 10-20% of America that is socially and religiously conservative and see that (correctly in my view) as “just a bit backward” rather than frightening in the way many liberals do.On the other hand the “nutjobbery” panders to the Republican party base to go out and mobilize for McCain despite the Bush administration having made it so obvious to everyone except liberal Democrats that the Republicans only pander to them buta never actually deliver (or could deliver) what they say they Burningman highlights as voters who would be driven away those who care about abortion rights and science. But its only the nutjobs themselves and liberals who seriously imagine that abortion rights COULD be revoked in a modern society like the US. People in the middle tend to understand that the only effect of the Supreme Court backing off would be that some states might attempt legislation that could not work given the situation in other states and that would rapidly result in mass mobilization and removal from office of those that did try it. People aren’t fighting the anti-abortion campaigners because they aren’t a threat. That’s perceived by many liberals as though its because the mass opposition to them would be small if they actually were a threat.Ditto on science, perhaps more so. You have to be part of a particular liberal cultural milieu to seriously believe (or even pretend to believe) people espousing fundamentalist Christian theology could impose Creationism instead of science in schools etc. (In fact its characteristic of that liberal mindset that they don’t welcome the opportunity for science to confront and trounce religious ideology in the classrooms and instead support a sort of official state church of agnosticism. Most Christians are more “secular” in toleration of different religious views and hostility to Government preaching.)As far as I can see the bigger collapse than previously expected in Republican support is partly due to previous overestimates from earlier in the campaign when people shifting camps still haven’t made up their mind not to vote the same way as last time (or admitted to themselves that they have).Its also due to the perception that they will be better off with Democrats in office given the state of the economy. That gets offered as the main reason by most commentators but it isn’t obvious to me that the differences are perceived as strongly favouring the Democrats.Anyway both those factors strike me as likely to be more significant than liberal hatred for Sarah Palin.PS Its well past time for McCain to announce he’s not feeling very well (and cannot win) or that he’s just discovered he’s ineligible for election. If Condi accepted she might well still loose but the rout probably wouldn’t be as comprehensive as what they look like facing now.(I know my theory that McCain knew he couldn’t win all along and is just a standin for Condi looks increasingly unlikely but I’m not giving up on that theory tbefore polling day 😉

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