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That’s Why Democrats Can’t Win an Election

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As a hopeful Democrat, I’m so disappointed in Barack Obama’s recent stereotyping of working class, religious, rural, and small town people. In the small Midwestern town where I grew up, there are doctors, teachers, farmers, business owners, and lawyers. There are rich people and poor people, smart people and dumb people – pretty much like the west coast city I live in now, only with fewer places to hang out on a Saturday afternoon. I suppose that Obama shouldn’t be expected to know first hand what shapes the values of ordinary Americans, but even George Bush, who had the most pampered and privileged upper class upbringing possible, has a better intuitive grasp of it (or at least his speech writers and advisors do – maybe Obama could borrow one).

The truth about rural, small town people – particularly in the Midwest – is they really don’t care what people are doing in San Francisco. “If you want to live in California with all them crazy people, go ahead,” I’ve been told on more than one occasion. They do care, however, if the government is going to tell them what to do with their land, what to drive, what to eat, what doctor to go to, et cetera, and 'progressive bordering on socialist' candidates just don’t speak to their values.

When I was a kid the dumbed down version of politics went something like this: Rich people are Republicans and poor people are Democrats. But the reality is Republicans attract two types of lower income voters. The first are fiscal conservatives who don’t want to pay too much in taxes and most definitely do not want to accept anything that resembles a “handout” from the government. They don’t want the Democrats’ pity – they might not have what Bill Gates has but they respect that he earned it and they’ll pay their own way, thank you very much.

The second type are the much maligned social conservatives. They’re the ones who allegedly hate everyone who is different from them.

For years everyone in my hometown knew that my cousin was gay, but he was scared to admit it. Now it’s all out in the open and you know what? Nobody cares. Well – people talk, but if you’re not gay, they just find something else you do that they can talk about – that comes with the “small town” territory. I don’t love my cousin any more than the rest of my family does just because I went to college and live in a big city now.

I happened to travel to my family’s house in rural Indiana the day Hurricane Katrina hit. The victims of Katrina were overwhelmingly much “different” from the people I was hanging out with. Yet the first thing a neighbor said to me when I arrived was, “Can you believe? If this had happened in Timbuktu, we’d be pulling out all the stops, airlifting in aid… where the hell is the government when OUR people need them?”

My father once explained that he and his siblings are all Democrats, but his parents are Republicans. I asked my grandfather (a retired farmer and county worker) once what he thought of his kids’ political conclusions and he shrugged, “I’d never tell anybody what to believe.”

Pretty compassionate and empathetic for a bunch of bitter, gun-wielding xenophobes, no?

It would really be something if Barack Obama, the most progressive viable candidate for office we’ve had since – maybe ever – could take his own advice and exhibit a shred of open-mindedness toward people who are different from him.

People don’t “cling to guns” out of fear of anything. They wonder what the big deal is all of a sudden and why they have to suffer just because inner cities have gang problems. They don’t “cling to religion” out of fear of anything. The vast majority of Americans are not particularly over-the-top religious, but Christianity is still part of their tradition, part of their family history, part of their understanding of their place and responsibility on this planet. Most American Christians are closer, in practice, to the “atheist Jew” or the “cultural Catholic.”

It’s not about fear of anything. It's just a piece of your identity, part of what has shaped you as a human being, an important connection to the people you love. And to value that and take comfort in it is not some outrageous fear-mongering. It’s human. It’s what people do. Maybe that’s not what they do at Harvard, but then, potential Democratic candidates listen up — no regular person really gives a damn what people do at Harvard.

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About Staci Schoff

  • Aside from the fact that Dems appeared to win a number of elections in ’06, the reason Obama might not be President isn’t because of what he said, it’s because some people are not smart enough to understand what he says so they accept the spin and interpretation of others.

    Where did he say that people cling to guns or religion because of fear? I can’t find where he mentioned the word. Or could it be he meant when times are tough, people stick to what they know and get comfort from? I will concede I only looked at his words and didn’t take into account what Clinton, McCain, or the usual idiot pundits have told me to think about it.

    If your cousin wanted to get married, would the small town folk still not care? Knowing he’s gay and treating him equal are two different things. And to be fair, your grandpa may well be a very nice fellow, but one statement does not a man make.

  • Arch Conservative

    Staci you seem to exhibit an understanding of small town rural Americans that the average liberal living in a big city or the suburbs does not possess.

    It’s been my experience and I think the experience of many oters that far too many liberals living in major cities have no knowledge at all of what they’re speaking of when they so smugly and condescendingly belittle rural America. They think because they have art museums and playhouses in their city that this somehow makes them more intelligient, more sophisticated, worldy and generally better than their small town counterparts. They tend to be very liberal and suffer from superiority complexes of monstrous proportions.

    I think El Bicho is one of them. Let look at something he just said….

    “the reason Obama might not be President isn’t because of what he said, it’s because some people are not smart enough to understand what he says so they accept the spin and interpretation of others.”

    So basically El Bicho is saying that anyone who wouldn’t support Obama is just too stupid to realize that Obama’s the best guy for the job. If you don’t like something Obama says it’s not because Obama may have said something that a person could legitimately object to but it’s becasue you’re too stupid to to understand a genius like Obama and you have been fooled by people in the media who don’t have your interest in mind like Obama does. C’mon…….we’re not supposed to let those who ooppose Obama in the media influence us but we should just accept everything Obama says without question and vote for him?

    That’s the biggest problem Obama is going to face as he moves into the general. Neither he nor his supporters can withstand any real scutiny of his candidacy. If instead of parroting one of his campaigns meaningless empty platittudes like “change we can beleive in” you have the gall to actually question Obama’s experience, ability or policy his supporters will scream bloody murder and claim Obama is being treated unfairly.

    But yet you have a typical Obama supporter here, El Bicho claiming that the only reason people would ever vote against Obama is because they are too stupid to understand Obama’s “vision” and this is not elitist?

    The Dems attitude has not changed since 2004 when so many of them told the nation we weren’t smart enough to understand the brilliance that was John Kerry and it didn’t work. By all means stick with this gameplan.

  • Dan Miller


    I very much enjoyed your article; I now live in a very rural area, and the closest “town” has perhaps a hundred residents. The nearest big city is about thirty-five minutes away, and I avoid it at every opportunity. Even though the place where I live is in Panama, it much resembles the small town in Virginia to which I was often taken as a kid to visit my grandparents. That small town was pretty much as you describe.

    One of the problems with the U.S., I fear, is that the small town mentality is vanishing — and with it the sense of self reliance, which is being displaced by a sense of entitlement.

    I do think that you may have misinterpreted Senator Obama’s remarks. I do not like much of what he says, although I would much prefer him to Senator Clinton if that were the choice. The various reasons have been so often articulated in numerous venues that they are not worth restating here.

    Senator Obama was speaking, I think, about people suffering from conditions reminiscent of the Great Depression, and from a sense of hopelessness. During the Great Depression, people came to rely on Government to get them out of trouble, some of their own making, some not. That reliance, a sense of entitlement if you will, persists and has, if anything, become even more pervasive. In this context, it is not surprising that some of the less fortunate residents of the Rust Belt are hopeless and bitter, and that they turn to palliatives; just like some people with terminal cancer turn to quacks.

    The things to which some of them turn may not be palliatives; they may well make them feel better, and they may well inspire hope. That is good, not bad. However, the root problems remain, and I think that was what Senator Obama was trying to say. More governmental intrusion may well not deal with those root problems; Senator Obama and other so called “liberals” think it is the best shot. That, after all, has been the Democrat platform for a long time.

    It is not a platform which I favor, but many people do. There is enough wrong with the policy itself, without unduly disparaging Senator Obama’s articulation of it.

    Again, thanks for the many insightful comments, with most of which I agree.


  • The notion that “big city liberals” are not in touch with rural America may to some extent be true, but it’s a two way street. What does a rural Indiana farmer know of life in the ghetto?

    Believing that only rural, heartland Americans have true wisdom is ludicrous. There is a great deal of wisdom to be found within urban limits.

    As with all things political, there is always someone ready to jump on every word, every nuance that a candidate makes. When looking back over the last few months, Obama has made far fewer gaffs than either Clinton or McCain. Obama has acknowledged a poor choice of words – whether they were originally his or one of his writers is immaterial, Obama said those words.

    I doubt that there is anyone posting or commenting here, myself included, who could stand up to the rigors of a national political campaign without putting our foot in our mouths numerous times.

    Staci writes: “I suppose that Obama shouldn’t be expected to know first hand what shapes the values of ordinary Americans,…” While Obama’s early life was somewhat unusual owing to his particular parentage and the absence of his father (not unusual,) he was raised much as most people in the U.S. have been. His family was far from rich. That he made his way to Harvard is testament to his own intelligence and dedication.

    Also, the fact is that those who attend the likes of Harvard & Yale & Princeton & MIT & Columbia & Northwestern & Stanford among others make up a great deal of our country’s brain trust. The attitude that they are all a bunch of elitist slackers is, first, untrue, and second, simply a testament to the ignorance of those who hold it.

    The “aw shucks” attitude, the “I’m just a simple country boy (or girl,) I don’t use them 10 cent words.” anticipates that those within ear shot will agree and celebrate their ignorance as if it is a badge of honor.

    I don’t believe that the only intelligence is to be found in the class room. I don’t doubt that there are a number of very smart farmers and others who live in our rural communities doing quite well without college degrees. But both country and city people must come to understand that we depend upon each other – it is a symbiotic relationship.

    Obama is very well equipped to understand that dynamic. Perhaps moreso than either Clinton or McCain.

    Oh, and just one other thing: How many supposed “stand on their own” farmers receive government assistance for crop failures or even receive government money for NOT growing certain crops? More than a few, I’m guessing.


  • El Bicho,

    I used my grandfather as a specific example of the general attitude I’ve encountered over 38 years.

    I like Obama and you’re correct that he’s very intelligent, but being an intellectual isn’t always compatible with being elected president of the United States. Not just because most people are idiots (though they may be) but because people vote for candidates whom they feel can relate to their priorities. There’s a good political reason George Bush never talks about his Yale education except to point out he was a C student.

    Getting elected to office is not about being the smartest person in the room, but about being the person who can connect with the masses. You don’t have to like it — I don’t have to like it — but the fact remains. And as a progressive Democrat I’d like to see a candidate who “gets this” so we could win the presidency. That’s all.

  • “If you want to live in California with all them crazy people, go ahead,” I’ve been told on more than one occasion.

    So in other words, the good people of the rural midwest deal in stereotypes, too. And yet somehow this is seen as folksy wisdom instead of closed-mindedness.

  • B-tone — I certainly don’t think that rural Americans are “more wise” than anyone else. Far from it. And yes, I understand that Obama is intelligent, but if his goal is to be the president, he doesn’t need to understand the dynamic between city and country people, he needs to be able to seem like someone the masses can relate to. And he doesn’t do that very well.

    As for farmers receiving subsidies, I’m not an expert on the matter and of course my knowledge is limited to one geographical area, but I know many farmers who have received and do receive them. However, I don’t know one farmer who believes that’s a good solution to the farming crisis.

  • Lisa McKay, I’m not sure how anyone interpreted my words as saying that I think rural people are exceptionally wise. Good Lord, there are more than several reasons why I moved away when I was 14 and only return when guilted into it.

    My point is only to say that the stereotype of them being deeply motivated by a desire to keep people in (just as an example) San Francisco from doing what they want to do is false. They don’t give a whit what other people are doing, and they don’t want the federal government dictating to them what they should value either.

  • Staci,

    I doubt that many San Franciscans “give a whit” about what mid-western folks are doing either. I think your concerns regarding Obama are mis-guided. I believe his intelligence IS important. Obama is, bar none, the best communicator to come along in a long time who is also a viable candidate for president.

    The kind of scrutiny that political candidates get today magnifies everything they say, everything they do, every bodily excretion they pass totally out of proportion. I’m sure they are mindful of that, but they are, afterall, fallible human beings. They make mistakes. Just as with the rest of us, they have their prejudices, their likes and dislikes. In the capacity of political candidates, they must play the game. They can’t admit to any of those things. They are trying vainly to be all things to all people. Occasionally, they get caught.

    We put faith in say, judges to put their own agendas, their own prejudices aside when acting in their professional capacity. More often than not, they succeed. So too with most politicians.

    I, for one, could not manage that kind of precarious balancing act. As with many participants here, I feel stongly, even passionately about a number of the issues we now face. I’d be hard pressed to suppress those feelings. Politicians are often required to do just that in the quest for votes, the quest to garner the widest appeal possible in that the margin of victory (or defeat) is usually very small.

    Every time Obama or McCain or Clinton say or do something stupid, or just something that may seem innocuous but gets picked up and bashed about – like Obama and the damn flag pin – (In that I must agree with Dave. What a load of crap that is.) I can see each of them in their turn after one of these things comes up, banging their heads against the wall (either figuratively or in actuality.) A potential electorate is more fickle than your average restaurant critic.

    The fact is that those people Obama described DO exist. I appraise real estate in central Indiana. I have inspected literally hundreds of homes that people have built out in rural areas, away from the city wherein the owners are, it is made clear by their decor and items sitting about the house that they are fundamentalist christians who eschew the city and own an ample collection of guns. I may not be able to weigh in on their relative bitterness, but the trappings are there in plain sight. The above may be only anecdotal, but stereotypes emerge most often because of their basic truth. There are a lot of people out and about who fit well within Obama’s description.
    He wasn’t so much wrong as he mis-judged the effect such a description would have.


  • “So basically El Bicho is saying that anyone who wouldn’t support Obama is just too stupid to realize that Obama’s the best guy for the job.”

    No that’s not what I am saying, but I do so appreciate you chiming in to prove my point about some people not being smart enough to understand what others are saying. It’s an ability you share on almost a daily basis at the site.

    I don’t think explaining it will help you, but Shari’s article is about Obama and his apparent attitudes to rural America based upon her or someone else’s interpretation of what he said and how that will affect his chances to win the White House. I think she and others have misrepresented his words and stated why, as did Dan Miller afterwards. She has had a chance to respond to my challenge and hasn’t pointed out where Obama talked about fear. You had a chance as well but didn’t, or more likely couldn’t, and went off on your usual frothing-at-the-mouth tangents that don’t deal with the issues being discussed. You are certainly entitled to not like anything Obama says, but you should at least object to what he actually said.

    “yet you have a typical Obama supporter here, El Bicho claiming that the only reason people would ever vote against Obama is because they are too stupid to understand Obama’s “vision” and this is not elitist?”

    I am not currently supporting Obama nor do I think he’s the best guy for the job, so again you show your vast political ignorance and poor reading comprehension. “Ever voting for Obama” never entered into the equation.

  • B-tone,

    I agree with everything you said EXCEPT that Obama’s intelligence is important. It’s refreshing and it’s nice and I appreciate it, but look who is considered one of the most successful (in terms of popularity) presidents of our lifetime — Ronald Reagan. Nothing going on between those ears if my memory serves. Similar case could be made for Bush Jr. who managed to be elected even the second time when there was no disputing that he’s no rocket scientist.

    Intelligence might be something that some of us value, but it doesn’t win an election. If Obama wins the nomination I’ll vote for him, but I hope he doesn’t, because I don’t think he has a chance against McCain. As consolation to myself, John McCain isn’t the worst republican candidate I’ve ever seen.

  • El Bicho, you are correct that Obama did not use the word “fear” and I neglected to acknowledge it. I’m the one who used the word. But antipathy toward those who are different from you and opposition to immigrants who could potentially take your job are both rooted in fear. I should have been clearer.

  • Baronius

    Stacy – Good article. First time on the Politics page?

    Personally, I don’t think that Obama has demonstrated a great deal of intelligence yet, but you’re right about the perception. It’s a matter of likability: sure, some people idolize Obama, but does anyone like him? Then again, this isn’t the year for likable candidates apparently.

  • Arch Conservative

    Would it kill you guys to comment on something I’ve said once in awhile?

    If yall keep ignoring me I’m going to develop an inferiority complex and turn into a liberal.

    Staci compared Obama to Reagan and claimed that Reagan was not the brightest bulb in the box. While it is true that Reagan may not have been the most intelligient, analytical mind ever to inhabit the oval office he did have soemthing that Obama obviously doesn’t have. He had limitless faith in the American people to solve their own problems and better their own lives without the federal government overseeing, dictating, and micro managing every aspect of our lives. Reagan was an eternal optimist and peopel responded to that.

    Obama talks a good game but when all of the silly little catchphrases are stripped away all that is left is an extremely left wing run of the mill liberal who’s ideas and solutions are not and will never be in the vein of traditional American politics and values.

    You use words like progressive which to me has come to mean an attempt to bring mainstream sociliasm to the nation. However this nation was founded on individualism and not collectivism and I think the majority of Americans like to remain that way. We’re the cowboys not the comrades. But nowhere is it written that cowboys can’t and don’t have sympathy for others.

    This is the first post of yours that I have read and already I liek you because you seem to be much more open minded than the avergae person who would call themself a progressive Staci.

    The comment…….

    The first are fiscal conservatives who don’t want to pay too much in taxes and most definitely do not want to accept anything that resembles a “handout” from the government. They don’t want the Democrats’ pity – they might not have what Bill Gates has but they respect that he earned it and they’ll pay their own way, thank you very much.”

    coming from someone who calls herself a progressive and supports Obama is utterly amazing. You get it. You have the ability to understand someone like me.

    So let me try and do my best to understand someone like you. I understand the desire to help others and create an equal opportunity society. I do not however understand sitting idly by while people abuse the system. here’s alittle example…..I have absolutely no problem with my tax dollars going to some type of government program that will help a single mom working two jobs trying to take care of her children who is still struggling or to a family whose members have always worked hard and played by the rules but have fallen on hard times due to the breadwinner in the family having cancer and being unable to provide financially…….I have sympathy for these people….I have no problem if my taxes have to go up a little bit so that they don’t have to live in misery 24-7….I get that..I’m OK with that

    What I cannot and will not tolerate is the idea that my taxes should be jacked through the roof to subsidize the lifestyle of some deadbeat welfare mom whose only reason for having kids is to collect a governemnt check and who never even thought about getting a job but rather stays home all day long waiting for the next check to come…..or that my healthcare costs should rise because some illegal snuck across the border, ran up a 2500 bill in the ER and never even attempted or though about paying for the healthcare they received

    These types of things make me extremely angry and I will admit sometimes blind me to the possibility for good that some government programs may be able to do for deserving individuals

    But don’t they make you angry too Staci? To think that you, who I’m assumign ahs a job, pays taxes and follows the laws, would have to pay extremely high medical bills if you developed a serious illness while some illegal can just walk into the ER get care and neevr be responsible for paying for it……….that doesn’t make you wanna scream?

    The whole mortagage bailout that the Dems are proposing is another infuriating thing. A bunch of people didn’t do their homework about mortagegs and teh market and got in over their heads and now can’t afford to keep their homes. So Hillary and Barack want to raise taxes on the rest of us to bail them out. Does that seem fair to you Staci? Should a young person with hopes of buying their own home someday be forced to have more of their income taken, thereby making that dream of theirs that much more difficult so that someone else can stay in their home? Does that make sense to you or seem fair Staci?

    I guess what I’m saying is that I too have compassion. I just wish you libs would temper your compassion with a little more common sense and rational thinking. Not everyone is a victim of society. Sometimes people screw themselves through their own porr decision and other times some people, wehnt hey refuse to evey try to help themsleves do not deserve help from others.

  • Doug Hunter

    Is Obama really likable, or does the media just repeated that over and over until it is reality?

    It’s impossible to know anything anymore it’s just who gets the most favorable and frequent time on the chatterbox in everyone’s living room.

    If you say over and over and over and over that Bush is dumb then it becomes true. Facts like his better performance at Yale, than say, John Kerry who talks like a real smart city person, mean absolutely nothing.

    Here’s a hint for those interested in the Rural-Urban thing: Being Stupid = Not agreeing with someone’s politics.

  • Doug Hunter

    Also, education does not equal intelligence, although intelligent people are more likely to receive the former and excel at it.

  • Arch Conservative

    Oh and El Bicho your comment did sound like the typical liberal elitsit “you’re too stupid to get it because you’re not a liberal like me.”

    Then you called me stupid because I interpreted your remark in my own way and did not agree with your point of view.

    You said I did not address what Obama actually said. Fair enough I will do that in a minute but to me “change we can believe in” without any substance or plans to back it up fails to address the issues the nation is facing El Bicho. I think Obama has real ideas and plans but is too scared to share them with America because he himself is aware of how much furtehr to the left of mainstream America he is.

    As for Obama’s bitter remark. if it wasn’t rooted in some type of belief that most of rural Americans are nothing but ignorat rubes then why did he say it in front of a crowd int he most left leaning city in the nation? If he truly understands rural Americans and how they feel why did he not make the remark in front of a crowd of people in rural PA? To me his remark seems like pandering to a group of people who truly believe that rural Americans are nothing but inbred buck toothed, cousin fucking, banjo playing, yokels and to some extent Obama share’s this view.

    That was my interpretation. I didn’t get that from any media pundit…they just happen to agree with me. As a matter of fact it may surpise you to know that I don’t need the media to tell me what to think. I’m extremely unhappy with all of the choices I have this fall regardless of all the different media outlets spinning to tryto cast each favorite in a positive light. I’m a republican but I’ll be the first to tell you I can’t stand John Mccain and think he’s be a shitty president. The only reason I’m going to vote for him is because he is the best of the worst.

  • Staci,

    I guess we’re talking about different things. I said that Obama’s intelligence is important. You said not.

    It may not take a great deal of intelligence to get elected. Look who’s sitting in the Oval office playing with his toys. But, it does take intelligence to be a good president. While there are those who bow to Reagan’s (now dead) feet in awe, I never looked upon him as anything more than an average president. He was far from being the deepest oar in the water.

    Bill Clinton was and is very intelligent, but he is a borderline sociopath which has the effect of canceling out his brainyness.


    How many people “like” Obama? When it comes down to it, how many presidents have truly been likable? Harry Truman, perhaps, but you could probably count the “likable” presidents on one hand and still be able to pick your – ah – your teeth.

    The singular determination it takes to become and remain the president or leader of any large country is beyond belief. It leaves little room for pleasantries.

    Actually, though, I’ve seen Obama caught in some casual moments wherein he seemed at ease and enjoying the conversation. McCain, too, seems to be able to relate on a personal level, but his short fuse may serve to sabotage such efforts. Such moments may be tougher for Clinton. As Evan Bayh says in one of her Indiana campaign ads – “Hillary has a spine of steel.” Cold bones do not for a casual moment make.


  • Arch Conservative

    While there are those who bow to Reagan’s (now dead) feet in awe, I never looked upon him as anything more than an average president. He was far from being the deepest oar in the water.

    Well I was only 3 years old when Reagan took office and 11 when he left but I have done a lot of reading and research and it just seems to me that he was an extremely likeable guy who inspired Americans to believe in themselves Baritone. Maybe you got a different vibe from him but did you witness the outpouring of grief when he died from millions upon millions of Americans and others throughout the globe? Was it like that for Nixon and Ford? I don’t recall. Do you think so many will express such sincere, heartfelt sentiment when Clinton dies? I doubt it.

    Clinton was probably much more intelligient than Reagan but as far as I can tell Reagan had him beat in the honor category. I’ll take honor and integrity over intellgience any day. We need a president that has both. It’s unfortunate that Mccain lacks the intelligence, Hillary lacks the integrity and Obama does not represent the majority of American thinking.

  • ArchConservative,

    I grew up in a small town in Indiana and I work in mortgage banking — so I suppose I’ve heard a thing or two about conservative view points. 😉

    Conservatives and liberals disagree on the fundamental role of government in society. Also, when liberals look at poverty they see a systemic problem and when conservatives look at poverty they see a personal problem.

    That doesn’t mean that all people in the opposing category are stupid or ignorant or in-bred or uneducated or elitists or rich, et cetera. People are complicated, as is the business of leading the United States. And there are idiots everywhere you go, probably even at Harvard (I mean George Bush was at Yale once, no?)

    I agree with you about the appeal of Ronald Reagan to the masses, but your stereotyping of welfare moms is simply false rhetoric created during the Reagan administration.

  • Doug Hunter, Not only intelligent people are likely to receive an education. Rich people, whether they’re intelligent or not, also generally do.

  • Suebob

    Personally I think too much was made of one clumsy sentence by Obama.

    But what I really want to say is that I love the thoughtfulness and intelligence of your readers. The comment section is, in general, quite refreshing.

  • Doug Hunter

    Very true, Staci. But is it not possible that being intelligent makes one more likely to end up with wealth, a feedback mechansim of sorts.

  • Reagan certainly had a huge adoring following. But we’re not talking about people who actually knew him.

    I don’t know how well he was or wasn’t liked by his family, his staff and associates. But since he left office, and I suppose owing in part to the tragedy of his last years suffering from Alzheimers, many people elevated him almost literally to some kind of diety. To disparage him is tantamount to bad mouthing Jesus. Nevertheless, he was just a guy, a bad actor who, in my opinion was in some ways a turn coat in that he was once the president of SAG who then busted the ATC union. He was an average president who left office with what was at the time a record budget deficit, which was in turn elevated by GHWB and now even further exceeded by GWB.

    Bill Clinton, the man everyone loves to hate, actually balanced the budget. I had many of my best business years during Clinton’s tenure.
    If Clinton hadn’t pissed away his last years in office with Monica and all that came after, his might have gone down as one of the better run administrations ever.

    I guess I have made it clear, I’m no fan of RR.

    Have I used enough initials?


  • Arch Conservative

    I agree with you about the appeal of Ronald Reagan to the masses, but your stereotyping of welfare moms is simply false rhetoric created during the Reagan administration.

    Well Staci I have actually known quite a few “welfare moms” so I know that this is not some mythical being created by angry conservatives.

    “Bill Clinton, the man everyone loves to hate, actually balanced the budget. I had many of my best business years during Clinton’s tenure.”

    Let’s not forget a few things. Clinton balanced the budget with a Republican congress. Clinton was also in the office when the internet/.com boom was going on in the private sector. To his credit Clinton had enough sense to stand back and let the .com boom do it’s thing but it wasn’t as if he was responsible for it happening. In fact when the .com bubble burst late in Clinton’s second term the economy started turning south and we were losing jobs while he was still in office. It didn’t get really bad until Bush was in office and then we had 911 so he gets ALL of the blame for the downturn. The fcat is that all presidents both enjoy and suffer events that have a dramatic effect on the economy over which they have absolutely no control. To paint Clinton as some kind of economic genius is both inaccurate and unfair when comparing him to other presidents.

  • Arch Conservative,

    Yes, I know there are people who abuse the system (probably not as many as there are rich people and corporations who abuse the system to avoid paying their share of taxes, but that’s another issue).

    Welfare is not a solution, it’s a band-aid.

    The rhetoric that was created during the Reagan admin is the false assertion that those few people abusing the welfare system are taking up an inordinate amount of your tax dollars.

    I’m not condoning their cheating of the system, I’m not suggesting they’ve made good choices, but what I’m saying is they do not suffice as evidence that the government of a civilized nation doesn’t have an obligation to its citizens in need.

  • Arch Conservative

    “The rhetoric that was created during the Reagan admin is the false assertion that those few people abusing the welfare system are taking up an inordinate amount of your tax dollars.”

    One dollar spent on them is one dollar too much.

  • Which is why the welfare laws are now set up in such a way as to stop abuse. So you should be happy, Arch.

    Or should there be no welfare at all?

    You remind me somewhat of a character envisioned by a certain Mr Dickens…

    “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.
    “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
    “And the Union workhouses ?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
    “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, ” I wish I could say they were not.”
    “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.
    “Both very busy, sir.”
    “Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I am very glad to hear it.”

  • Why yes, Dreadful, no government welfare at all would be best and definitely most fair – “abusing” the system is not the main problem. USING it properly within the legislatively determined parameters is what is mostly the problem. Plus, there is the gross injustice of taking money from people at gunpoint (taxes) to give it to other people.

    Besides the utter immorality of government welfare, there is the practical bad effects. The more you’re able to collect a check, the less incentivized you are to do for yourself.

    But eliminating or severely curtailing government welfare would not eliminate help for the most truly needy, as there are lots of private charities of all kinds. Plus, if people 1)weren’t paying the exorbitant welfare state tax rates and 2)knew that the government was handing out a lot less benefits, there’d be even much more private charity than there is now.

  • I note that even the dreaded Arch Conservative has fallen into the classic liberal self-delusion than Ronald Reagan wasn’t very bright. Ha! For being such an idiot, he messed up the Democrats little world for a generation, and re-shaped the whole ideological landscape of the country.

    Reagan was highly intelligent and thoughtful. He just didn’t strike a pretentious academic pose about it. Very much to his and the country’s benefit, he didn’t care a whit that the mindless trained monkeys of the Ivy League held a low opinion of him.

    Was Ronald Reagan a dummie, or were his critics just too stupid to understand his brilliance?

    RE: my own brilliance: there ARE (not is) the practical bad effects to welfare.

  • Also, perhaps the DNC or such might consider putting Miss Staci on payroll. It seems like a rarity at this point to find a national Democrat with any sense at all. She sounds like a good Hoosier Democrat who would be open to reason and try to understand and accomodate the legitimate opinions of people she disagrees with. A Democrat who talks like she does here might could actually get elected.

  • The Conservative Position:

    No welfare
    No unemployment compensation
    No social security
    No medicare or medicaid
    No section 8 or public housing

    In a nutshell. No government aid of any kind. (Except, of course, tax breaks for high rollers.)

    Oh, and we don’t want to see homeless people on the street. Get thee be gone! Where? We don’t care, just go away. Your presence is offensive. You stink!

    What’s left for these people? If they have any cohones, they might make it. Otherwise, it would really be best for society if they would just do the rest of us the courtesy of dying. If they can’t help themselves, of what use are they? This country was built upon self-reliance. They are just an embarrassment worthy of nothing. I suppose the government could hire a few slackers to go around and pick up the bodies, dump them in a common grave and throw lime over their rotting carcasses. Good riddance!


  • Baronius

    Al got it right. Democratic presidents have been bright and bragged about it; Republican presidents have been bright and humble.

    Carter made sure that everyone knew how smart he was. Carter created the myth that he was too smart and too good for the presidency. Reagan wrote all his speeches and radio commentary before his presidency, but never felt the need to show off. (Odd that Baritone went on a Reagan tangent.)

    Clinton, Gore, and Kerry have always kept their intellectual credentials in the fore. Bush Jr. realized that he can’t talk like an adult, and wisely never contested the caricature of him as a moron. Political junkies will recall how successful Dan Quayle was at trying to reverse his reputation.

    That instinct to respond hautily can kill you politically. Hillary and Obama have an air of superiority. The interesting thing is, although McCain isn’t an intellectual snob, he does not like to be challenged. Any of them has the potential to alienate voters on a bad day.

  • Arch Conservative

    The dreaded” what’s that all about.

    No one said there should never be any form of welfare B-tone. What I was specifically trying to get at was that it should be provided sparingly and only as a last resort for those who made a concerted effort to better their lives but still met with difficulty.

    That is the fundamental difference between conservativesa and liberals isn’t it? Conservatives beleive in equality of opportunity and that the individual should provide for themself and only be provided with government aid when circumstances beyong their control have made it impossible for the individual to provide for themself. Liberals believe in equality of results without regard for individual effort or merit. They believe entitlements and completely absolving the individual from personal accountability but rather it is better to blame society. everyone is a victim of society and no one is a victim of their own shoddy decision making.

  • Thanks Baronius. I might also add that a lot of these Democrat geniuses aren’t nearly as smart as they like to think they are. Obama, for example, is a genius because he’s a Democrat, for starters, and because he’s a black guy with a degree who has managed not to pee on the carpet so far. At least, not much. But voters are starting to smell some urine in the corners.

    For example, how smart could he be to have not seen that he was going to get the Rev Wright broke off up in him? His people can stamp their feet all day long about how unfair this supposedly is, but that means nothing. The day he decided to run for president maybe a couple of YEARS ago, he should have been shopping for a different church and distancing himself.

    He’s pretty, but he ain’t the brightest bulb in the pack.

  • Arch Conservative – I say “dreaded” with love, for you seem to be regarded as such by the lefties among us.

    Still, Baritone has us rightwing nutjobs all figured out. Some dupes might think that conservatives love poor folk, but don’t think that government welfare and bureaucracy is the best fair or effective way to help people. But Baritone knows that really we just hate poor people and want to kill them so we don’t even have to look at them.

    Obviously Baritone’s nipples are leaking from the abundance of the milk of human kindness that swells in his breast. But of course a dirty rightwing bastard might take it that he simply likes himself very much, and likes to think how great and generous he is for proposing the stealing of other people’s money to give to poor folks. After all, they’re just helpless victims who couldn’t get by without his gracious noblesse oblige.

  • Yeah, you guys are full of, well, not milk. Your characterization of liberals is no less bullshit than how you claim I described you. You think it’s all pat. You’ve got all lefties figured out, that we are all witless, bleeding heart assholes.

    The reality is that you ape your own bullcrap over and over in a vain attempt to reach the higher ground.

    Arch, you say: “No one said there should never be any form of welfare B-tone.” But you also stated: “One dollar spent on them is one dollar too much.”

    Which is it?


  • Arch Conservative

    The “them” refers to the abusers not the people that deserve so those aren’t actually mutually exclusixe statements B-tone.

    As far as intelligence and accomplishments go. I think Mitt Romney has it all over Obama or any other candidate that ran this time around. Mitt Romney was born into an upper middle class home but he had what it took to go into the private sector and build himself a large personal fortune. He did it himself and yet he is villified by the American left who know nothing about him as a greedy fat cat corporate devil. yet what so many who toss this trite cliche out at him fail to realize is the good he has done in his carer for others. While it is true that while with Bain Capital he may have liquidated some business and caused some to lose their jobs in the process , this is not the sum total of his tenure there. Bain capital also took staples from a small outfit and made it into the magechain it is today that employs thousands of Americans and provides products to them as well. there’s Domino’s pizza….andmany other companies that Bain actually helped to create many many jobs.

    It’s too bad that someone like Romney, wo actually understandds the economy and business can’t be president. instead wehave a dottering old man with a chip on his shoulder and two anti-market quasi socialists.

  • Lee Richards

    Al, If you ever need a break from stereotyping others and building strawmen, you might learn something instructive by actually looking up the definitions of ‘liberal’, and its antonyms.

    Conservatives can be proudly liberal, too.

    Or, you can just go on making up your own simplistic definitions to bully others with.

  • Dan

    “Or, you can just go on making up your own simplistic definitions to bully others with.”

    Or to answer a simplistic definition with a funnier one.

    Baritone forgot to mention the methane gas extracors the conservatives would install at the site of the mass graves covered with lime.

  • Sniveler: “The reality is that you ape your own bullcrap over and over in a vain attempt to reach the higher ground.”

    When children are routinely committing felonies only hardened criminals would think of doing; when we look at presidential candidates held up as “very satisfied” by the sniveling liberal base; when we see the liberal leadership trying to lose a war to win politically; when they see this didn’t work despite their best efforts they switched to their old standby of “it’s about the economy stupid” to pursuit the same depraved result. With these and countless issues more;

    We don’t have to “reach” for higher ground, you idiots HANDED it to us as if you were holding a hot rock!!!

  • Hmmm… Snivelers to the left; pompous self-righteous asses to the right. What a great fucking world.


  • Baritone forgot to mention the methane gas extracors the conservatives would install at the site of the mass graves covered with lime.

    I’ve been advocating this for years. I think it’s a tragic waste to just vent that methane and burn it off. I’d like to be able to run my car on it.


  • Clavos

    We could put “gas trap” bags on cows’ rear ends, too…

  • STM

    How about harnessing all the hot air in Washington, London, etc, and the methane from all their bullsh.t.

    World saved, alleged global climate crisis over.

  • Baronius

    “I might also add that a lot of these Democrat geniuses aren’t nearly as smart as they like to think they are.”

    Yup, Al. I think this is one of the most interesting and unnoticed stories in politics over the last 20 years or so. There was a time when the intellectual geek was a Republican, and the Democrat was driven by emotions (according to the stereotypes). Now the Dems have the highbrow reputation and blind emotionalism is found in the red states (again, stereotypes).

  • Y’all might note that my sarcasm about “the milk of human kindness” was NOT directed at or addressed to “liberals,” who sometimes might have good ideas. I was specifically addressing the foolish Baritone.

    RE: methane extractors on the mass graves: In my best imitation of the Russian ambassador from Dr Strangelove, “That’s an astonishingly good idea you have there…”

  • Carrie

    As a Hawaii resident, I found the statement about how folks in SF don’t give a whit about the mid-West and vice versa. We are So Far Removed from the mainland US, in both time and space, that HI residents also don’t really give a whit on much that goes on in the big land mass. This doesn’t defend Obama’s comment, but it may explain a teeny tiny bit of it. Life on Oahu is different from both the midwest and the Coasts.