Sunday, March 06, 2011

Kelly pushes stereotypes

All Presidents are interesting, I guess. I mean, when things happen, the President reacts or doesn't, and sometimes (perhaps often) the actions of the President (whether reactive or proactive) can have dramatic effects across the country. I think no other single job title consistently has this effect.

That said, I have to say that Jack Kelly's column today is somewhat appropriate, in examining aspects of President Obama's character, specifically his seeming willingness to accommodate republican ideas when considering policy. Of course Obama is a first in at least one respect as President, so I think it is safe to say that his actions would get a special scrutiny. Certainly I remember Pittsburghers were posting to blogs claiming Obama was going to create a secret police force and round up Republicans, and/or claiming that Obama is a socialist and/or a Muslim. Now, I still maintain my private theory that some of the actions Obama takes, he does with at least partially the intention of defying the assumptions made by those Pittsburghers and around half of the rest of the country. But while you might expect he would get praise for, say, the amount of tax cuts he put into the stimulus bill, instead that component of the stimulus is ignored by Republicans/conservatives, and Obama is blamed because the stimulus did not have that big an effect (as also predicted by liberal economists like Paul Krugman). Essentially the accommodations that Obama makes for Republicans (often before a policy is formally proposed) have been reinterpreted, with conservatives crowing that Obama is disappointing his supporters, or weak, or something.

Jack Kelly spends his whole column on that today. In doing so, he pushes some stereotypes that quite frankly I find offensive. Don't get me wrong, some of what he says about Obama I agree with, but some seems to be right out of the Palin/Tea Party playbook. His third paragraph starts with a grammatically bizarre sentence and then has a huge stereotype that is obviously false: "The desire among whites to rid themselves of racial guilt crossed party and ideological lines, but was felt most strongly by white liberals. White liberals could relate to Barack Obama because -- as a product of elite private schools and Ivy League colleges -- he was much like them." Ok, first, does no one edit Kelly's work? Is this writing something the Post Gazette would want to represent them to the country? And second, to be a white liberal, you have to be the product of an "elite" private school and an Ivy League college? Sorry, Bill Peduto, Pat Dowd, or anyone who didn't go to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth or Cornell, you can't call yourself a liberal. This sort of bigotry based on education is straight out of the Tea Party's own version of a Declaration of Independence, which stated among other things, (from possibly faulty memory) that they would not be controlled by the educated elites. It reminds of nothing so much as Richard Nixon's railing against the "East Coast intellectual elite".

I won't spend much more (of your) time on this, except to note a few more whoppers. Near the end, Kelly starts to summarize Obama's misdeed, noting that he reneged on a promise to close Guantanamo (true) and on a promise not to raise taxed on the middle class (hunh?). What tax? Without listing a specific, and without noting the taxes lowered for everyone in the stimulus, this sounds like a made up attack, again straight out of the Palin/Bachman/Tea Party playbook.

Then in the next two sentences Kelly gives what is maybe the biggest whopper of them all: "He has even reneged on his implicit promise to be a racial healer. His administration has been the most racially polarizing since Woodrow Wilson's." I won't even dignify that with a comment.

Kelly finishes talking about how the media deceived us about Obama's brilliance (according to Kelly), finishing with "It's time now for them to show us the little man behind the curtain.". Totally silly, and demanding the media explain Obama to his satisfaction is just insulting to Kelly's readers.

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