The Truth Can Get You In Trouble

Last week Obama said "And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." He got in some hot water for that. Some are saying that is proof that he doesn’t understand rural voters. He replies that he just explained the truth poorly. Personally I think he is largely right.

I think he does understand rural voters at least as well as Clinton does. The big problem, and it is a problem for both of them, is that they are on the wrong side of issues that are important to rural voters.

Clinton said "Americans who believe in the Second Amendment believe it’s a constitutional right" and I have no doubt that Obama understands that as well. But the fact is that both candidates want to seriously abridge that right in ways that go against rural values. Clinton is just less honest about it.

Religion is another area where both candidates are weak. Personally I think Obama is more credible as a Christian (as one who really believes what they say about what they believe) to me but Clinton is the better politician about it. Her show is better. Obama gets hurt because people, especially in rural areas, are being fed a lot of misinformation on one hand and on the other hand there is his whole wrong stand on abortion. It’s hard for people to understand a religious person standing for abortion when their own religion sees it as so abhorrent.

And immigration is just such a mess I’m not sure there is a right side to be on. Trade is an area that hits rural areas differently than urban ones. Its complex to solve but easy to pick a simplified side.

It’s a mess. I understand what the man was trying to say. I think he is largely right. Economics are not deep ingrained "values" though it is a huge concern. Plus it is a complex concern with complex "fixes." Religion, guns and even immigration are issues that are more easily simplified as reasons to vote. Right or wrong it is easier to say "she’s different" or "his stand on guns is wrong" or "they’re more interested in immigration as a way to get the ethnic vote" then to really take a look at the greater economic issues and suggested solutions.

There is no doubt in my mind that Obama loses some votes in rural areas because of his skin color. No doubt at all. It may not be so much that he is black as it is that he looks different. I suspect that a white candidate who looked too upper class or too different in some other way would lose some votes for that. As much as Obama loses for being black? In some areas yes and in other areas no. Racism is still stronger in rural areas than in urban ones. Denying it may win some votes but that doesn’t make it right.

I don’t think this makes Obama less electable than Clinton though. When push comes to shove and voters have a choice between a woman and a man as many people are going to vote for the man as would vote for the white in a white versos black election. Not the same people but about the same numbers. Sexism still exists to! But in both cases I think that the issues will be the deciding factor more than the "they look different" factor. None of the sexism and racism is near as bad as it once was.

In my own case, between Clinton and Obama I see little differences in issues. But Clinton is not a nice person (in my perception) and Obama is. Obama seems sincere in his Christianity and Clinton does not. Sincerity is more important than the specific religion BTW. At least in a political candidate I am evaluating. I feel better after listening to Obama and somewhat slimy after listening to Clinton. So I’d vote for Obama over Clinton without a second thought.

McCain over Clinton without a second thought. McCain against Obama? That requires some thought.

2 Responses to “The Truth Can Get You In Trouble”

  1. Matt says:

    “Americans who believe in the Second Amendment believe it’s a constitutional right”

    She’s got me confused here… The Second Amendment is a Constitutional right, because it’s an Amendment to the Constitution. I’m not sure what point she was trying to make? Even if a politician tried to ban every single gun in the country, he’d still “believe” that the Second Amendment is a Constitutional right, he’d just disagree on its meaning.

    It’s hard for people to understand a religious person standing for abortion when their own religion sees it as so abhorrent.

    It’s because religion isn’t black and white. Even for the religious practices we do have in writing, various versions of those writings contradict each other.

    I don’t see abortion as a religious issue. To me, it’s a question of when life begins. If you believe it begins at conception, than abortion is horrifically wrong, even to an atheist. On the other hand, if you don’t believe that life begins at the moment of conception, then you could be the most devout Christian in the world and not have an issue with abortion. (Obviously, later-term abortions are more clear-cut, but they’re illegal.)

    So I don’t see a pro-choice candidate as contradicting his or her religion, really. It’s much like how I dismiss the Catholic church’s opposition to homosexuality as ridiculous. The Church has tried to present their doctrines on a “take it or leave it” basis, which presupposes that they’re 100% right on everything.

    And immigration is just such a mess I’m not sure there is a right side to be on.

    What annoys me here is that I think everyone is mostly on the same side. The Republicans come across as if they’re racistly against Mexicans and hope they all die; the Democrats come across as if they’re encouraging everyone to come into our country and be a drain on our society. In actuality, both sides pretty much agree, and people take minor disagreements entirely out of context.

    But Clinton is not a nice person (in my perception) and Obama is.

    What’s funny is that, until she started campaigning, I’d have disagreed with you. But it seems like every time she opens her mouth she makes me dislike her a little more. This surprises me a bit because, as you say, she and Obama are similar on the issues, so I agree with both of them 99% of the time. So to stand up and deliver a speech on something I agree with wholeheartedly, and have me walk away disliking you takes some skill.

  2. Gravecat says:

    While I haven’t really been keeping up with American politics — being in another country and all, so much of this admittedly goes over my head — it still seems, from past experience and other observations, where it’s a kind of “his view is wrong, my view is right, vote for me” situation, this time around seems like many voters are going to be biased quite heavily by the black man vs white woman choice.

    Regardless of their individual views on issues and whatnot, I can’t help but think that in the minds of many of America’s less educated voters — and let’s face it, pretty much every country has a large share of those — the end result of this is simply going to come down to whether people want to vote for a black man or a white woman, the rest of the politics be damned. Certainly, there’s plenty of Americans who can see beyond that and measure their vote on the more important issues, but again, every country has an unfortunately large portion of folks who are too shallow to see that far.

    With that said, I do get a certain level of satisfaction imagining some stereotypical, buck-toothed hillbilly stuck between a rock and a hardplace, unable to decide the lesser of two evils. But then, I’m a Brit. It’s my job to say things like that. 😉

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