Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Hampshire Votes: (Waiting for Arnold, Bloomberg and Obama)

By Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network on 1/9/08

Hillary wins NH: America is descending to politics of the heart rather than the head; the politics of families rather than parties; the politics of personality cult; the return to generational tribe and monarch and the abandonment of commonweal and republic - that which you would expect in Spain under Franco, in Pakistan under Bhutto, in Argentina with Fernandez and today in America under Bush or Clinton.

A constant problem here in New Hampshire comes from the recent movement of people across the border from Massachusetts to the industrial cities in the south of New Hampshire. They are cautious and defensive – afraid of change, afraid of life, simply afraid. They come from industrial Massachusetts and are representative of a working class people who have risen a little ("upper working class") and are terrified of losing their slight purchase and can’t go no further and don’t want to.

If you took away those southern counties which I have said should be renamed North Massachusetts (or maybe North South Boston), Obama would have won (the real) New Hampshire in a landslide. Same in '04 - Wes Clark was way ahead in the northern regions and Howard Dean was doing well, then when they voted in the southern counties it was all John Kerry. I really don't see these dynamics so fully expressed elsewhere other than the Northeast and particularly in the extended Boston region. I have opposed the New Hampshire primary altogether because today it only gives a picture of people of post-industrial Massachusetts and how they vote when they move across the New Hampshire border to avoid paying taxes and to get away from black people.

I voted at 8 am for Obama and all morning there were calls and calls and visits to the door - all supporting Obama. The crowds were overwhelming to see Obama - (and as the Washington Post reported, they walked out on the Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love, who brought the Big Hair to the same building in Hanover).

New Hampshire is certainly the quirkiest state in New England and probably in the country. We always seem drawn to the outsider and it is not a surprise that we in the quirky part of the state would go for Obama. What I find amazing is that we are confluent in this with conservative, consistent, conventional, white, faith-based, uniform, farm folk, Okie from Muscogee, did I say white (? - 97%) Iowa.

If an African-American from Chicago's South Side who still has sisters in Kenya can win in Iowa I don't see why he can't win everywhere. If Iowa no longer cares about race we are a free country. I think it might be easier for my friends and family in Tobaccoville, NC, and Poplar Camp, VA, to vote for a black man today than it was to vote for a Catholic in 1960.

But frankly, Iowa's heartland farmers seem to be less afraid of a black man from Chicago than my cousins at the bottom of New Hampshire holding signs saying "Irish for McCain" and what not all over national television these past few days.

This is the politics of Fear and Anti-Hope (which is right to the edge of Panic and Despair), and Clinton, who calls Obama’s hopeful visions “unrealistic expectations” is certainly its avatar. It is a celebration of no-can-do America and the Culture of Incompetence. It is likely to pull a good crowd in the post-industrial Northeast, where most everyone had a father or grandfather, aunts, great aunts and uncles who worked in the cotton mills (I have at least 31 possibly half of whom died from their tasks – the rest were cops and Vaudeville performers).

This quote from my local newspaper this morning by an excellent political reporter, John P. Gregg, gets to the point:

"Sullivan County (bottom of the state - bq) County Treasurer Cynthia Sweeney, who is in her mid-60s, said she voted for Clinton in part because the youthful Obama ‘scares the daylights of me’ and reminded her of ‘those same young Turks’ (Islamic slur? - bq) Sweeney blamed for the decline of her former employer . . . . ‘It's the attitude of we know, we can do it better, get out of our way and let us do it.' said Sweeney . . ."

I was raised up here with South Boston people but spend half of my life in Virginia and North Carolina. People outside forget, but - particularly in the industrial cities of northern New England - time has left us behind to allow the South, the Southwest and the West to rise economically and culturally. I did not find this same general negative orientation in North Carolina or Virginia possibly because there was no such vast industrial class sent upward in so short a time; only two generations.

I'm feeling two things at this point:

One: The South is still a rising boat and rising boats don't express this cautionary tale we saw from Clinton idolaters last night in New Hampshire’s industrial cities; the South and the newly empowered economic regions will rise to Hope and not succumb to Fear and the Democrats there will rise to Obama and Edwards.

I am looking forward to South Carolina and the South primaries. One of the things that happened in Iowa is that black people nationally had pledged to Hillary in loyalty to the Clintons prior to Iowa thinking that Obama didn't really have a chance. Then when he won Iowa it was clear that he did have a chance and he does. So Obama's support went up 20% in South Carolina among blacks overnight and in a state like that which is half black, it will make a difference. Iowa should still bring it to South Carolina in spite of New Hampshire.

There is also rapidly growing up here in NH and I think everywhere a stark generational turning; a contrast between Bill Clinton - he no longer draws crowds - and Obama (they faint). As reporter Gregg said in his article, we actually LOVE Obama and Michelle now in the northern valleys. I think that is correct (in the mountains but not in the southern cities). The Clinton supporters up here yesterday all use the same phrasing - I heard this again and again on the C Span reports - they want to bring back the past because, it was " . . . better then." So this struggle between Clinton and Obama is a struggle between the past and the future and it cannot be seen any other way. As always, the engine of that struggle is generational conflict. Earth to Clintons: the young generation always wins.

Second Thought: Mike Bloomberg, who appeared with former Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia and David Boren, President of the University of Oklahoma, at a conference in Oklahoma last week to encourage “post partisanship” was widely thought to be there to begin a movement toward a third-party bid for the Presidency. Wisely, he left quickly when he saw Obama's flame ignite in Iowa.

When Obama hatched in Iowa, Bloomberg saw his gate close. Then last night he saw Hillary open the gate for him again.

Bloomberg is all about being the anti-thesis to Billary's Politics without Passion – a weird political aberration spawned from rapid and uniform post-war birth rates and the subsequent inevitable demographics - which John Kenneth Galbraith called a “Culture of Contentment.” And he is from the same neighborhood as my Irish cousins in Boston who vote for Hillary. The gate opened again for Bloomberg to return us to mature and rational governance and the enlightened tradition from which all our Boston tribes emerged. If he wants to do this he might bring along his best bud, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Yesterday afternoon, when we were voting up here in New Hampshire and listening to the Silver Tongued Devils cautioning us to go forward without hope and rely on the sure ways of the past, Californians were listen to their dynamic Governor give his State of the State speech.

“Sometimes you have to be daring because the need is so great,” said the Governator.

If Obama is elected he might first hire Bloomberg and Arnold. They are all three on the same page and live in the same millennium. If Bloomberg is elected he might first hire Obama and Arnold. Such a grouping would satisfy the “post partisan” vision and leave the pessimists in the dust.


Anonymous said...

Excellent points.

Personally, I find Obama a genuine great guy. His oratorical skills resemble MLK or JFK whether out of talent or cunning improvisation.

I do think he will emphasize a more holistic and civic approach at the expense of the powers of corrupt business and lobbyists based on his intentions.

Substantively, what has he done that makes him a leader in action over thought?

Intentions are substantive inherently but some significant results should follow.

Unfortunately, and I mean this without malevolence, I do believe if Barack was darker he would be too threatening to a certain cross section of people. I believe there is a cutoff in some people's minds as to when being too black can be the supreme issue regardless of talent. I suspect few would like to comment on this sensitive topic. The same rationale can apply to Hillary's degree of feminity.

My hopes are with Obama. While he may not have the resume, he has the potential, in spite of what I said above. The only thing good about this election at its worst, is that all candidates have more charisma and cerebral activity than the current heroes in office.

Ernie Quagmire

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