Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Horse Only Looks High When You're On Your Knees

Candidate on a High Horse - George Will @ Washington Post

Now there are several problems with Will's op-ed in this mornings Post that irked me (not surprising). First and foremost was his attitude that Sen. Obama's comments on the bitterness of Pennsylvanian voters might have some merit to them. As Sen. Obama himself has said, that bitterness has come from a quarter century of broken promises on bringing new jobs to the region. So after being essentially lied to by the last three administrations, it's only natural to think that the electorate of a particular state might hold some animosity against politicians making the same promises once again. I don't consider such comments as condecending so much as telling a truth that hurts.
The second, and perhaps more serious problem with Will's article is the terminology he uses. All of the Marxist talk on 'false consciousness' and that, due to Pennsylvanian fasle consciousness, they fail to understand the important programs a President Obama would bring, that must mean Sen. Obama is a closested Marxist. Now if one wants to attack a candidate for being elitist then perhaps it's not the best idea to use some of the most elitist thinking as a method of attack. I know Will is an intelligent man, but rather than rely on academic-speak to bolster his argument her should take a more sanguine attitude by viewing things both from the perspective of Sen. Obama and the average Pennsylvanian voter. I don't believe that Sen. Obama was being condescending to these voters. On the contrary, I think Sen. Obama was seeking to explain why such voters hold the attitudes they do, which is far more than either Sens. McCain or Clinton have attempted.
Finally, Will completely ignores the facts of Sen. Obama's career, along with those of Sens. McCain and Clinton, in leveling his charge of elitism. Sen. Obama hasn't been a multimillonaire for much longer than a decade, if even that, and he had to work hard to get there. Sens. Clinton and McCain have spent more time in Washington and more money than Sen. Obama has ever made on their campaigns. I find these niggling facts, and Will's willfull omission of them, more damaging to his argument than his use of academic-speak and inablity to understand that Pennsylvanian voters might hold some bitterness towards politicians based on a series of broken promises.
It's strange that Will would write an article like this when I would expect a more tempered and centerist essay. That Will would resort to taking talking point from someone like William Kristol either shows that Will wasn't thinking much when he wrote the article or simply phoned it in. I expected better from Will honestly, and he's disappointed me with a disappointing essay. Really, Will is better than this.

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