Why Conservatives Dislike Obama

Some articles explaining Obama's putative downsides:

  1. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/GeorgeWill/2008/04/15/barack_obamas_bitter_liberalism
  2. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2008/04/15/a_living_lie?page=1
  3. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/RichLowry/2008/04/14/the_underside_of_hope
(#2, you will notice, is written by an African-American.)

And, just for good measure, another article:
  1. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/2008/04/15/how_liberals_lost_a_liberal?page=1


Spaceman Spiff said...

Why Conservatives Dislike Obama, translated:

1. Americans are "irritated" by an insightful analysis, and unable to accept that they might be to blame for anything.

2. Conservatives cannot countenance nuanced positions, such the position that while religion in general is a positive thing, some might hold to it out of anxiety or to assuage bitterness, that indeed some might hold to it in ways that contradictory to the nature of the religion they hold. Nor do conservative desire to understand why anyone might be pro-Palestinian, or "anti-Western" because they are far too enamored of themselves and their cherished culture to be interested in hearing any critique.

3. Conservatives find critique "insulting", no matter how well grounded in observation and theory. Also, they cannot understand the difference between "some working class people in Pennsylvania do X for reason Y" and "everyone who does X does so for reason Y", and so enjoy ripping straw men to shreds.

And for good measure:
Conservatives are committed to a triumphalistic and nationalistic narrative that conveniently justifies their greedy, comfortable, and idolatrous lifestyles.

**Just to be clear, I could be just as heavy-handed with the American left, and with myself. But nonetheless these articles read like propoganda. I think there are plenty of more legitimate critiques that the right could offer, but these are quite harsh. Which leads me to suggest what I think the REAL reason is why conservative don't like Obama: he is not a conservative... I mean really, who was the last democrat to be spoken of positively by ANYONE on townhall? And if they don't like ANY democrats, then I don't think we really need further reasons to predict that they probably won't like Obama...**

Speaker for the Dead said...

1. I completely agree with you. But this phenomenon is not unique to conservatives - and if Obama were more honest about some of his views, I believe he would be less popular.

2. I'm sure the San Franciscans to whom Obama was speaking took his remarks to refer to that "nuanced" position. I'm sure they have VERY positive views on guns, religion, and small-town America.

If Obama wants to say what he said, he should consider saying it in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, not San Francisco, California.

Of course, you know that I understand pro-Palestinian views. (After all, they have their own culture, their own religion, and their own language! Oh wait... Actually, "Palestine" meant "Israel" until about fifty years ago, so I think being pro-Palestinian is kind of silly.)

3. Let's not pretend that Obama's comment was "well grounded in observation and theory." Did he really observe the gunownership or church attendance patterns? Did he interview thousands of gun owners and churchgoers? My friend angrily told me that this was an "empirical" claim, but I wasn't aware that you could measure bitterness.

And again, I don't think the problem is that conservatives can't distinguish between the two X and Y relations you mentioned; the problem is that many urban and rich Americans (especially liberals in cities such as San Francisco) have a problem distinguishing between the two. I get some strange looks when I tell people I lived in South Carolina, as if Southerners, gun-owners, and churchgoers were all homophobic barbarians.

And since it's become fashionable for secular people to overemphasize EVERY reason that people go to church ("wishful thinking," culture, bitterness, identity, or what have you) BESIDES sincere devotion to God (which is termed lunacy), I think Obama's comment was actually pretty inane.

I'm sure the people in Obama's congregation are plenty more bitter than the people he mentioned...

Of course there are plenty of other critiques to other - but as long as Obama's campaign centers around "hope," "change," "unity," personality and other non-policy issues, conservatives will be forced to consider Obama in this light.

And trust me, the TownHall people would have been all over ANYONE who said what Obama said. They don't mind criticizing Republicans.

The last Democrat to be spoken of positively on TownHall was probably Joe Lieberman. Maybe if the Democratic Party bothered to toss TownHall a moderate bone every once in a while...

Spaceman Spiff said...

Well, my comments were directly related to critiques offered on those articles, and you really haven't done much to defend those critiques. I didn't comment on what *you* understand, but on how those authors dealt with the issues in their own words.

I would say that the "liberal condescension" into which Obama's comment was lumped is well grounded in observation and theory (and please note that it need not be scientifically so). Empirical need not be equivalent to "measured." Before you yourself agreed that the statement he made is TRUE, which means you think it can be observed as well. Your only reply seemed to be that there are truths which you wouldn't be allowed to say, which seems to be a diversion.

If you find that positive reference to Joe Lieberman I'll be impressed. But even if you do, I think my point stands. It is INCREDIBLY unlikely that the folks at Townhall could respond positively to a differing ideology.

In truth, I don't believe the things in my comment above about conservatives in general, I simply think those are what many of the points on the townhall articles amount to. I'm all for modest critiques, like "he's only human" or "his voting history in the senate is to the far left" (preferably supported by examples), but the ways these guys have ripped on him seems excessive.

Speaker for the Dead said...

I think your deemphasizing the importance of the fact that he said this in San Francisco. That, to me, makes it very obvious he is pandering to San Francisco's well-known liberal ELITISM.

And I don't really find these articles propagandistic; even if they are, they are much more reasonable than the idolatry of Obama coming from other places.

You know the right has been criticizing McCain; they criticized Giuliani, Huckabee, Romney, and Thompson before that. Obviously, they're harder on Obama than they are on McCain - but not by as much as you might think.

I concede that it is true because I lived in South Carolina and know people of that mindset. I'm also (since this apparently makes such a huge difference) white. (If I can't understand Reverend Wright's experience, how can Obama understand poor white people's experience?) Obama can say neither of those things.

And I can't think of a response to their criticism that he hasn't sponsored any significant legislation.

And, just for honesty's sake, I also get RSS feeds from Air America, so I can hear both sides' propaganda. :P

Spaceman Spiff said...

I think you could read the fact that he said it in San Francisco more than one way. It could be that he was "pandering" or it could be that he was acknowledging something they legitimately feel. What matters, I think, is whether he is right, and, I submit that he is. That is something that YOU have admitted, but none of these articles, nor anyone in the news media nor Hillary Clinton have admitted since this incident.

That last fact, combined with the logical fallacies I've pointed out, make these articles read like propoganda, as I said. You quite often refer to what you hear Obama supporters saying as a justification for unreasonable statements criticizing him, but that just doesn't work.

And your point that the right has criticized its own doesn't really matter here either. The left has criticized Obama just as much. That's kind of how this works. My point is that the folks at townhall haven't shown themselves to be moderates who can get behind someone with (D) appearing after their name.

As far as Rev. Wright, I didn't say you *can't* understand his experience to a meaningful extent. But I would say you *don't*, which is entirely different. Anyway, I remain convinced that Obama understands the situation of working class conservative folk reasonably well. Obviously he understands how he screwed up. I think he's right to apologize for the tone of his comments but not the substance, and to acknowledge that there are positive reasons too for all of those things ('cept perhaps xenophobia, at least if we're calling it that?).

As I said, I think the criticism regarding his history in the Senate is a solid one, though as it stands it it just based on a categorization, rather than actual examples of legislation.