My Off the Bus colleague Mayhill Fowler opened a big old can of class debate on Friday with her 6,000-comment post on Barack Obama. His San Francisco statement is now everywhere, but based on the booing at Hillary Clinton's stump speech today, it's not long-term fodder for push polls. The "elitism" label, however, may have staying power as Clinton applied it to not only Obama, but also former candidates Al Gore and John Kerry in last night's religion forum.
Which John McCain declined to attend. CNN said "McCain, 71, is from an older generation, one that is more private about prayer."
That assertion could knock Billy Sunday over with a hanging chad - it's personal, not generational.
There have now been debates on race and religion, but class in America is still the big, classy elephant in the room. That dialogue should start with everyone watching Idiocracy, a cautionary tale in which the country is dumbed down to the point that a time traveler from the past is shunned for reading a billboard. Then he becomes the president as the smartest man in the country by default. "I don't read newspapers" wore thin when the effect on Bush's foreign policy became apparent. Marrying a librarian doesn't count as reading books. The outgoing head of HUD, at the helm from the beginning of the subprime mortgage crisis, was qualified by virtue of once being Bush's next door neighbor. And our National Security Advisor this week mixed up which country China is persecuting. Particularly awkward with protesters in nations around the globe trying to blow out the Olympic Torch in solidarity with Tibet.
Jon Stewart addressed the E word on The Daily Show tonight with "Doesn't elite mean good? If you don't think you're better than us, then what the fuck are you doing? I want a president who's embarrassingly superior to me, speaks 16 languages and sleeps two hours a night in a chamber they themselves designed."
Not addressing the Elite label further could put Obama exactly where John Kerry ended up four years ago - soldiering on while Rovian campaign staffers hand flipflops out to the crowd.
Whatever happens in Pennsylvania, "Obama Remarks Reveal Liberal Elitism" was an actual headline this weekend.
It came and went, but on the flipside, a "McCain Courts Rednecks Not Acting in Their Own Economic Self Interest" headline would cause an outcry on CNN since the network apparently reads the Huffington Post for story ideas.
The Daily Show played part of the Off the Bus tape tonight - we're in an era where a blogger can become mainstream news much like old timey reporters, like the time Geraldo did not find Jimmy Hoffa's bones in a vault. Stewart then said that Obama doesn't even come close to describing the bitterness of Pennsylvania towns like "Jesuschristhosemexicansgogetyourgunningsville."
We've exceeded parody when a Fox News correspondent says: "You're a bunch of gun toting bible thumping bigots." He was quoting what it would sound like if a Democratic candidate said that, but the hypothetical almost gave me a Pino Noir spit take. Obama's comments were taped in San Francisco, not Sonoma, but wine country is implied every time Clinton mentions the California fund raiser.
Riding high on the blog spin, Clinton threw back a beer and a shot for public consumption this weekend. Stewart showed a clip and asked, "Is she running for president or pledging?" Between Friday and today, she has tried for two out of three bases on guns, drinking and God. By next Sunday, Clinton may be speaking in tongues, handling snakes or living in a compound of some sort. (I can say that - raised Pentecostal.)
Steven Colbert, live in Philly, described on The Colbert Report, "Old Ma Clinton in a gingham dress" going down to the feed store, and told the audience, "You don't cling to your gun because you're bitter, you shoot it because you're bitter . . ." Colbert's guest was Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter who publicly supports Clinton. Hizzoner did, however, say that on a federal level it would be nice if Congress would maybe restrict assault weapons. Nutter said of Clinton, "She has the depth and breadth to address local issues." An audience member laughed.
Later, MSNBC's Chris Matthews suggested that a candidate who wants to win the Pennsylvania Primary should, "Tell them that they're not bitter." Colbert responded, "I don't think they're bitter and I've licked a few." The news kept getting bigger - Matthews announced that he wants to be a Senator when he grows up and hinted that Clinton will be on Colbert's show this week. Either that was a planned leak or the guest blew the surprise but it's now been announced for Thursday. And Michelle Obama appears on Tuesday, so it will be a duel between the former first lady and the potential future first lady for the Colbert bump.
Memo to the Elite: this would be a good week to buy a television.