Monday, April 21, 2008

Closet Bigots and Their Make-weight Questions

The great John Prine, who sung about it 40 years ago.

Did you ever wake up with a question? I do, most days. Some days it's "why the hell does every joint in my body ache?" but this morning it was "who the heck was that thick-necked, flat-headed, dim-witted woman ABC News put up in the debates the other night? I mean this moron could not even ask a question??!!

Armed with a complete name and an address, it was not hard to find that others had asked the same question. Jake Tapper at ABC (some irony here!), notes that:

McClatchy tracks down Nash McCabe of Latrobe, PA, the 52-year-old woman now best known nationally for asking Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., during the ABC News debate about his not wearing an American flag lapel pin, an example for many critics (including Obama) of how trivial American politics (and American media coverage) has become.

Out of work, "McCabe met her husband, Lloyd, in April 1983 at a dance. They married two months later. Six months after that, she says, he was injured in a coal mine accident. He hasn't worked since. They never had children. He had back surgery. The muscle relaxers he took damaged his heart. He's had three bypasses, nine angioplasties, seven stents and a pacemaker. Three months ago doctors found a brain tumor. His choice: surgery that he may or may not survive, or life in a wheelchair" -- he's scheduled to surgery two days after the Pennsylvania primary.

"Over 25 years of marriage, McCabe was the breadwinner. She said it took eight years to get her husband disability payments, during which time they racked up huge bills."

She's been a nurse's aide, a cashier, secretary then manager of a cleaning company that closed. She was recently laid off from a job as a clerk-typist. She and Lloyd have borrowed money from her parents. She recently inquired to see if she and her husband qualify at a food bank.

And yet, given the opportunity to ask a possible future president of the United States, she asked about a flag pin.

Aw jeez. But the question is not really answered here, is it? I mean the woman is clearly an idiot with a lot of problem, and she cannot get her priorities straight to save her life, but Why and How did she get on national TV? How did ABC News manager to stir this muck up from the bottom of the pond? Did they do weeks worth of focus groups in Western Pennsylvania?

A bit more light drilling, and I come to this article on the blog of The Philadelphia Daily News which notes that:

"ABC News found Nash McCabe the old-fashioned way -- they read about her,
and her thing with the American flag, in the New York Times earlier this month .... So Nash McCabe wasn't located at random at all. Instead, someone at ABC News decided that they wanted to go after Obama on the patriotism issue, and they actively sought a Pennsylvanian who they knew wanted to bring it up ....

That original New York Times article (by a former Newsday colleague, Paul Vitello), the one that started this whole ball rolling. It wasn't really about flag pins or patriotism.

It was about race.

Here's the headline over the picture of Nash McCabe: "In Ex-Steel City, Voters Deny Race Plays a Role."

Vitello writes that he found little support for Obama in Latrobe [99% white], and the crux of his article is this:

But when dismissing Mr. Obama, voters in this former steel center, whatever their racial feelings, seem almost compelled to list their reasons, if only to pre-empt the unspoken race question.

Because he voted “present” too often as an Illinois state senator.

Because he speaks very well, but has not talked about reviving the coal industry.

Because he would not command the respect of the military.

Because there is something unsettling about his perfect calm, they say.

So, The New York Times is basically stating that many voters are finding odd or vague reasons not to support a candidate who president who happens to be black. And without any thought to the subtext, ABC News plucked one of those reasons and brought it to the center stage of democracy.

Yes they did.

This phenomenon of closeted bigots raising make-weight excuses to be opposed to Barack does not start and end with the troubled, dim-witted Nash McCabe though, does it?

I see folks picking at nits with Obama while ignoring McCain's push to gut Social Security and Medicare, the Iraq war dead, the Iraq war injured, the mounting national debt, the war mongering against Iran, the rising price of gasoline at the pump, the collapsing economy, McCain's push for a massive amnesty for illegal aliens, McCain's past support for gun control, McCain's adultery, the Keating Five corruption fiasco, McCain's pyrotechnic temper, McCain's refusal to release his taxes, McCain's obvious memory lapses, McCain's tenuous grasp of key foreign policy facts, and McCain's refusal to release his medical history.

Do I think racism underpins the creation of make-weight questions about Obama?

I certainly do. When people ignore the broken fundamentals of John McCain while creating contrived problems about flag pins with Barack Obama, there is not much question as to what is going on. This is an attack plan that fools no one.


YesBiscuit! said...

If only he could have given a snarky answer like "Muslims don't wear lapel pins - Death to America!" hee hee

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree that the candidate's patriotism is not a critical marker of their elligibility to fulfill the role of President. The Oath of Office states, "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." How can you consider this candidate seriously when he refuses to uphold our national symbols and pridefully wear his celebration of our way of life "on his sleeve" in a manner of speaking. If by "Not wearing the pin" is a marker of his patriotism, should we expect that he would also "refuse to say the pledge" if it turns out he doesn't like a vote by the judiciary? Couple that with his elitist, socialist, and terrorist sponsorship (yes I'm talking about the pentagon bombers of the 70's), I think it IS VERY important to many Americans just what kind of president the party hopes to have in office.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the Dickster nor his soft porn author wife, weren't wearing their made in China flag lapel pins while sending off the pope last night.

Come to think of it, I didn't see a flag lapel pin on Hillary, or the two moronic "debate" moderators either.

Just an observation.

Marie E.

PBurns said...

Scott R., I'm guessing you are border-line retarded. And I mean that. Do you seriously think wearing some plastic pin made in China is a test of patriotism? If so, you are retarded. You are stupid on a stick. You are an embarassment to your own family.

And, I am being kind.

But, of course, we have had brain-damaged children like you before. John Prine even wrote a song about them called "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore":

Enjoy, moron!

While digesting Reader's Digest
In the back of a dirty book store,
A plastic flag, with gum on the back,
Fell out on the floor.
Well, I picked it up and I ran outside
Slapped it on my window shield,
And if I could see old Betsy Ross
I'd tell her how good I feel.

But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.
They're already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for,
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.

Well, I went to the bank this morning
And the cashier he said to me,
"If you join the Christmas club
We'll give you ten of them flags for free."
Well, I didn't mess around a bit
I took him up on what he said.
And I stuck them stickers all over my car
And one on my wife's forehead.

Repeat Chorus:

Well, I got my window shield so filled
With flags I couldn't see.
So, I ran the car upside a curb
And right into a tree.
By the time they got a doctor down
I was already dead.
And I'll never understand why the man
Standing in the Pearly Gates said...

"But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.
We're already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for,
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more."


Anonymous said...

Patrick --

It's better than you realize -- it turns out John McCain NEVER wears a flag pin. Communist bastard! America hater! Funny that Scott R. never noticed this. Wonder why not? Ooops -- I guess you said!

It gets better. Look at any picture of George Stephanopolous or Charlie Gibson -- no flag pins on either of them. No flag pins on Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly, eiher. Are they communists? Probably.

Now guess who DOES wear a flag pin, ALL THE TIME? Believe it or not, none other than draft-dodging, war-mongering Dick Cheney who sought and got FIVE draft deferments because he "had other priorities" back John Kerry was piloting a mosquito boat up the Mekong Delta.

As for Barack Obama, he has occassionally worn a flag pin in the past, but he now feels that politicizing the American flag cheapens and devalues it; something he is loathe to do. On occassion, however, Barack Obama will wear a flag pin, as he recently did in Pennslyvania when presented one by a true Iraq war veteran just prior to going up on stage. That was a pin that meant something, and Barack knew it.

Nice job with the John Prine clip, bt/w. An oldie and a goodie.

- David

Isaac said...

C'mon Patrick, don't hold back so much. Just tell Scott how you feel about him! ;-)

PBurns said...

I was being gentle Isaac. I *seriously* doubt I said anything Scott's parents, siblings and friends have not said before.

Retardation is a medical condition in any case; the afflicted are not to be blamed, they are to be assisted as much as possible. Please donate to The Arc at >>

On Dave's point, I just looked it up, and it turns out that a flag pin was given to Obama by Philip Fiumara, a disabled Vietnam vet, just before Barack went on stage. Not only did Barack put it on, he gave a shout out to Mr. Fiumara saying: "“Thank you so much [for the pin]. It means a lot coming from YOU, and we are very grateful to you.”

Would Barack have put on an American flag lapel pin handed to him by just anyone, like Scott R.? No, probably not. Meaningless is meaningless, and Barack is not too interested in demeaning the flag. Barack put on this pin, because it was GIVEN meaning by having come directly from the hands of a disable American war vet.

For the record the ABC TV debate in which the flag question was asked was held on April 19th -- four days AFTER Barack gave a shout-out to disabled vet Philip Fiumara and was wearing a flag pin all through a televised speech (April 15). So did ABC notice Barack was wearing a flag pin four days before this contrived kerfuffle? Did the dim-witted Nash McCabe? Did Scott R.?

Did these same people notice that John McCain NEVER wears a flag pin, as Dave points out? No. Which tells you something about the whole lot of them, I think.