Media Watch: The Sharyl Attkisson approach
The Republican strategist Democrats love to hate weighed in this morning on his impression of Barack Obama:
ABC News’ Christianne Klein reports that at a breakfast with Republican insiders at the Capitol Hill Club this morning, former White House senior aide Karl Rove referred to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, as “coolly arrogant.”
“Even if you never met him, you know this guy,” Rove said, per Christianne Klein. “He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”
Liberal mega-blogger Josh Marshall titled his post on the issue, where he quoted Rove verbatim, Uppity-Watch, vol. 1. This is, of course, a subtle implication that Rove’s comments were tinged with racist undertones. Time and time again when a conservative Republican criticizes a black liberal Democrat, many of us have seen liberals fire back that “so and so apparently doesn’t like it when [politician/politician's spouse] starts acting ‘uppity‘” – as in this kind of ‘uppity’:
Informal Taking liberties or assuming airs beyond one’s station; presumptuous: “was getting a little uppity and needed to be slapped down.”
In other words, the underlying meaning behind the far left’s use of the word “uppity” is to suggest that a black man or woman is speaking above themselves, and that they should go sit in the back of the bus.
Thankfully, Marshall’s fellow liberal blogger Matt Yglesias doesn’t see the racial animosity Marshall hints around about, but instead sees this:
But what about the class cues? How many Americans have had the experience of being at a country club and watching some dude with a beautiful date hold a martini and smoke a cigarette? Certainly I haven’t. Rove assumes that “you know this guy” but unless “you” are a wealthy person from the past, you probably don’t know a guy like that.
I beg to differ. I’ve been to a swanky party or three and came across more than my fair share of upturned noses in the crowd, and my income isn’t remotely in the same universe as some of those people. But I take Yglesias point for what I think he meant to say, which is, “Hey Rove, you’re a country-clubber yourself; look in the mirror.”
But there’s no other meaning behind what Marshall wrote than exactly what he said with the title of his post, which goes a long way towards showing that when it comes to race, the people who are zeroed in on it all all times are Democrats, not Republicans. Every politico out there knows that Republicans have been characterizing Democrats as arrogant, elitist and out of touch for decades now (and in turn, of course, the left have tried to paint Republicans as rich fat cats who care nothing for the poor), whether they are black or white. Barack Obama opened himself up to this type of criticism with the remarks he made in front of m/billionaires while at a ritzy speaking engagement/campaign fundraiser at a posh San Francisco home back in April when he said the following about blue collar workers:
But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Now, he’s said and done other things that have raised eyebrows along those same lines, but the above comments are the standard bearer for why Barack Obama is viewed in conservative circles as elite, arrogant, and out of touch with mainstream America. This has nothing to do with Barack Obama being a black man anymore than the criticism John Kerry routinely received from conservatives in 2004 about how he married into wealth twice had anything to do with his color (that is, unless there’s someone reading this who really does believe Teresa Heinz-Kerry is an “African-American.”).
As a matter of fact, how many times have we seen conservatives write about how sick they are of hearing both Michelle and Barack Obama’s sob stories about how they were “only recently” able to pay off their student loans from the uber-expensive Harvard Law School and Princeton, in multiple silly attempts at trying to paint themselves as average Americans, even though they are obviously very well off and not having a hard time feeding the kids at night? Quite a bit. (Other examples can be read here and here)
Yet Marshall, clearly another Democrat who sees a racist Republican around every corner, thinks because Barack Obama happens to be black, and Karl Rove said what he did about being able to see Obama drinking a martini in the corner and smoking while with a beautiful date at a country club looking down his nose at others, then that ‘obviously’ means Rove thinks that Obama’s an “uppity black man,” rather than simply being one in a long list of elitist Democrats black and white Rove and other Republicans have criticized for years as being elitist snobs who willingly cut themselves off from the common people.
If anyone out there needed proof that it’s the left who will make race an issue in this campaign, I’d say between Marshall’s post, and Barack Obama’s own injection of it last week, there’s more than enough evidence there for you to chew on.