Thursday, September 04, 2008

Culture War - Palin vs. Obama

A culture war? I'm up for that.

So it's gonna be a culture war, another God guns and gays election.

We got a nice helping of red moose meat last night from Sarah Palin, who as I expected nailed the delivery. We'll have to see if that persona of a kinder gentler Ann Coulter, mocking and contemptuous, is the role she'll stay in. She'll fire up the base, all right -- on BOTH sides.

The first two major national politicians of my generation (I'm 2 years younger than Obama and two months OLDER than Palin) are on the stage and I can't imagine two people more opposite. It's not just the issue positions or the obvious male/female and black/white. It's the cultural symbolism. Wasilla vs. Chicago. Prius vs. SUV. Harvard Law vs. University of Idaho. Jay-Z vs. Gretchen Wilson. Wal-Mart vs. Whole Foods, as the Sioux City Journal's Bret Hayworth notes:
A family member related a customer service station experience this morning at a major retailer (don’t think too hard).

A woman came up to the counter, telling the clerk that she wanted a magazine removed from the shelves, since it painted Palin in a negative light. Very agitated, her voice rose and got higher as she related her beef about the mag. The woman said she chooses that store specifically because the political left is critical of that retailer, so as a conservative she considers it her family’s store.

The only thing I think Obama and Palin have in common is basketball.

This Kos diarist makes an interesting point as to why Palin and ROOdy kept nailing "community organizer":
Used the way the GOP speakers used the words tonight (i.e. with a sneer), community = ghetto and organizer = activist.

It essentially was a coded way of pointing out Obama's work in, with and for the black community (see? even I'm doing it) on the South Side of Chicago. Also the fact that his work involved helping low-income people stand up for their legal rights, as opposed to a GOP-sanctioned "real" job like business owner or career military officer (or moose hunter.) They were trying to put Obama back on the same level as Jesse Jackson -- i.e., the black protest candidate -- and mocking him for it.

To cut right to the nasty, they were using "community organizer" as a euphemism for "poverty pimp."

And, as a special bonus, to a GOP audience (country club division, at least) organizer = union. What could be worse than a black, radical activist union organizer from the South Side of the Chicago?

A coded way of saying the eighths word you can never say on television?

So it's gonna be a culture war, another God guns and gays election. I like our odds in that. The Republican base may have maxed out in 2004, driven as much by ballot issues as by Bush, while the Democrats yawned over John Kerry. This year looks more like the expand the electorate election that Democrats have been fantasizing about since the 26th Amendment moved the voting age to 18,

The danger, as usual, is that if the campaign gets negative, that expanding electorate gets turned off, which is exactly what the GOP has been good at for the last 15 years.

But the pendulums are swinging on the social issues and Obama's been good at staying on message. Watch for this one to be the biggest ever.

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