Thursday, August 21, 2008

STILL FLUMMOXED BY THE BUTTHURT CODGERS OF PENNSYLTUCKY: Big media only cares what the white trash think when it affords an opportunity to speak of Obama

“There’s this e-mail that he didn’t shake hands with the troops,” Mr. Stickles said of a rumor that is false. “I don’t have the time to check out if it’s true, but if it is, it’s very offensive.”

Today the New York Times went back to Pennysltucky to cover what DD knows as the bitter white codger demographic. Those are the people who may have voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary, alleged salt-of-the-earth folk, located between Philly and inner Pittsburgh (but not from Steelton-Highspire in Dauphin County, or State College) who don't dig Barack Obama. The Washington Post covered the same demographic last week. The Times went to the western part of the state. The Post went to York and Lancaster.

The bitter codgers confuse the mainstream media because it's difficult to come out and call them precisely what they are: closet racists who are old, white, poorly educated, and deeply suspicious of people not like them.

This was a great way to be if you lived in Pennsy in the Seventies and even during much of the time of Ronald Reagan. You weren't yet old or middle-aged and things, in general, seemed very good.

In the steel-manufacturing hot spots of Bethlehem, western Pennsy and a couple of other locales, one could go from high school right into the mills and earn $20/hour. This afforded a good living, more than enough to raise a family and, in many places, just about enough to get you into the upper middle class. In Schuylkill County, where DD was born, ALCOA had the biggest aluminum extrusion plant in the world. In Bethlehem, where your host earned his doctorate, Bethlehem Steel furnished the economic drive.

But in reality, things were slowly starting to go to hell by the mid-Eighties. And ALCOA had been an early warning, closing its Cressona facility by the mid-Seventies. (The history of the plant is here. DD's father worked in administration for ALCOA and the plant's closing was a disaster for everyone. Only the senior staff was preserved, being offered jobs at a much smaller ALCOA factory near Lancaster, one in the business of stamping bottle caps. Cressona Works was bought by another owner but it was never the same. Currently, it is still in operation under ALCOA and another entity, but it is not much of an economic driver in the county.)

As for Bethlehem Steel in the Lehigh Valley, it is now long gone.

The New York Times, for its part, travelled to the absurdly named Raccoon Township. (The Resident Evil movies, tales in which all are turned into the walking dead by a virus escaped from a giant corporate arms developer, now come to mind when seeing any use of the word "raccoon" as a proper name. Resident Evil's Raccoon City might as well be a metaphor for Pennsyltucky.)

"Many voters talk of reading a stream of false and shadowy rumors purveyed by e-mail: Mr. Obama does not put his hand on his heart during the national anthem, he is a Muslim, he did not say hello to enlisted men in Afghanistan," reports the Times, re-circulating the same old crap from a few months back. "Some disregard these rumors; some do not."

Mr. Obama is an Ivy League-educated lawyer campaigning in towns where an eighth-grade education and a sturdy back once purchased a good life. And he talks of soaring hope to people mistrustful of the same."

And here's where much of Pennsyltucky goes south.

In Schuylkill County, you were deeply distrusted, even despised, if you had more than a high school education. Learning of any kind was seen as an indication of many bad things: One, you were lazy, because you didn't go out and get a job right after school. Two, you were rich and lazy, because you went to college. And three, because you had the temerity to go college when everyone else had their nose to the grindstone, you thought you were better than everyone else.

There was no reasoning with these attitudes.

Hand-in-hand with such beliefs was the drinking in of one's own bathwater mythology, that one was part of the hard-working, God-fearing bedrock of the nation.

However, America hasn't been good to the white trash of Pennsyltucky. The current plan doesn't include them. But it does not include many classes.

Still, in Pennsyltucky, they're pissed off about it. The disgruntled codgers, soon-to-be-codgers and middle-aged-who-might-as-well-be-codgers think they're entitled to something. They reckon they've been cheated out of dreams that were their birthright. And in some ways, they have been robbed.

But they also must carry some of blame for their predicament.

"Few want a handout, but fewer want government to abandon them," reports the Times. "A simmering hurt suffuses their words, a sense that neither hard work nor their unions could save them."

What isn't really mentioned is that while Democrats can win in Pennsylvania, they do so by being Republican.

And that registered Democrats, old union men and factory workers in the gone-bust steel towns, often voted for the party -- the GOP -- most inimical to their way of life. In this way, for example, one could have Democrats regularly elect the most parsimonious and reactionary politicians from the Republican right.

Ronald Reagan. Tom Ridge. Rick Santorum. Curt Weldon. Chris Carney (technically a Democrat, but a politician who is simply a rubber-stamp for strict Republican policy).

"Despite the advantage in Democratic voter registration, Lehigh County (and Northampton County) ... elected Republicans Charlie Dent in 2004 and 2006 and Pat Toomey in 1998, 2000, and 2002 to Congress," relates Wikipedia. "In 2004, however, the county did narrowly vote for John Kerry over George W. Bush for President."

And here is the dilemma, one which tends to baffle political reporters from big city newspapers.

The New York Times states it thusly:
Raccoon Township, with a population just over 3,000, sprawls atop a hill in Beaver County, a 92 percent white and deeply blue-collar province. For a century it formed a stud in the Steel Necklace, a stretch of Pennsylvania and Ohio defined by belching steel mills and robust union wages. But as the mills shuttered, voters tipped Democratic by ever-narrower margins: Al Gore bested George W. Bush by eight percentage points in 2000; John Kerry took Mr. Bush by fewer than three in 2004.

In other words, they sent more and more votes to the people most likely to screw them over worse. And, as it turned out, who did.

Well, what're you gonna do?

In the New York Times story, the example is given of the classic steel man, gone from a good hourly wage to crap.

"Mr. Sylvester -- [76]-- labored in a steel mill for 42 years," the paper reports. "Then the mill owner declared bankruptcy. Now he was bent over a chipped fire hydrant, putting down a coat of yellow paint for $7 an hour."

The Times piece reveals a wishful thinking from those interviewed, a desire to see some type of political strategy, one delivered in simple language (there's that resentment of the educated, again) -- a plan to explain how the the manufacturing base and economic success are to be restored.

Might as well ask for magic and miracles. Ain't going to happen. Not from either party. But will they vote for the guy, John McCain, who's tax plan "would erase the burden on the rich"? (Page 1, today's Los Angeles Times.)

From the "This must prove the guy's a girl" poll:

"A survey has found that John McCain holds a considerable lead over Barack Obama in the race to become president - among hunters and fishermen." Absolutely brilliant work, reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Someone who don't know the difference between a crappie and a lunker as president? That just wouldn't be right.

Update: This next fragment comes from the media practice of allowing Republican political hacks to explain why Barack Obama needs to erase the impression that he's an over-educated, over-achieving, intelligent Ivy League scumbag grad. As opposed to being a real American like the modern plutocrat salt-of-the-earth Republican party appointees who graduated from piss ant Bible colleges where they learned to be intolerant, ignorant and crooked in the name of Jesus.

"While Obama is likely to pick up the votes of almost everybody who voted in the Democratic primaries, there are plenty of older white working-class voters who are still far from sold on him, if not downright suspicious," writes someone named Mike Murphy for TIME magazine.

"Democratic strategists often make the mistake of assuming that these white, economically downscale voters will automatically make their ballot choices on the basis of class. In fact, many vote on culture. Obama's academic style is much of his problem. For many, Obama reminds them of the Ivy League whiz kids they've dealt with at work during the latest downsizing. They look at him and see another bloodless young achiever coming down from the top floor to fix the ailing machine-tool company."

Obama won't share "a cheesesteak and beer with the hourly workforce."

This is another take, one with less character-assassinating language, than the Pennsyltucky Barflies for Clinton or McCain demographic DD went on about months ago here.

In other words, Democrats -- particularly educated people -- don't like cheesesteaks and beer. And then it only follows that they're not good Americans, either.

Translated: If you're a product of the Ivy League, or someone who uses too many three and four-syllable words, make more like some white dumbass from the interior of Pennsyltucky. In a Presidential election, it's best to appear to be a slightly stupid person. Not so stupid as to be crippling, don't overdo it, but still...

Delivered by "a consultant who has worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. In 2000 he was senior strategist for Senator John McCain's presidential race."

See here.

Agonizing over the white codger vote in Pennsy.

Angry white Pennsyltucky codger-man -- from the Dick Destiny reading room.


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