The Blog

Morning Jay: Obama's Dime Store Sociology, Grijalva In Trouble, and New Polling Data!

6:30 AM, Oct 18, 2010 • By JAY COST
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

1. Obama’s Dime Store SociologyThis recent story from Politico caught my attention.

President Barack Obama said Americans' "fear and frustration" is to blame for an intense midterm election cycle that threatens to derail the Democratic agenda.

"Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hardwired not to always think clearly when we're scared,” Obama said Saturday evening in remarks at a small Democratic fundraiser Saturday evening. “And the country's scared.”

Not the first time we’ve heard comments like this.  Remember these comments about the Israeli people?

During the interview Wednesday, when confronted with the anxiety that some Israelis feel toward him, Obama said that "some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion."

And who could forget this shot at the bitter clingers of small town Pennsylvania?

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.

This kind of dime store sociological explanation is pretty common for the president, despite the fact that it landed him in hot water back in the spring of 2008.  These comments have three traits in common.

(a) He doesn’t really know what he’s talking about.  Obama might seem like a sociological expert, but he really just plays one on television.  For instance, explaining the cultural conservatism of small town Pennsylvania as an artifact of economic decline sounds extremely ill-informed to anybody with at least passing familiarity of the subject.

(b) Hardships generate a false consciousness that always seems to manifest itself as irrational opposition to...Obama.  As far as Obama is concerned, the fact that the country is disappointed with his performance is not a sign that he hasn’t done what he promised, but that the country is not thinking clearly.  

(c) He turns fellow citizens into sociological subjects.  It is one thing for a professor doing a study to treat other human beings as subjects; it’s another for the president of the United States to do it.  There is a condescending, anti-republican quality to these statements.  Rather than take opposition at face value – President Obama locates the hidden causes behind it, causes that his fellow citizens do not even understand themselves.

This is a terribly bad habit of President Obama's.  It comes across as arrogant and condescending, and it doesn’t do a thing to help persuade people. 

2. Latest Sign of the Dempocalypse.  Wow.  This ad courtesy of the Hill:

Ruth McClung is challenging Democrat Raul Grijalva, who represents Arizona’s Seventh Congressional District, which stretches across the southwest corner of the state.  It gave both Obama and Kerry 57% of the vote, and is majority Hispanic. 

Recent Blog Posts