Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Adore Carol Marin of the Chicago Sun-Times

Original Link:

By Un coup de des

Carol Marin of the Chicago Sun-Times is the blue flower in the landscape of journalistic vapidity. Indeed, she is the intrepid news reporter who appears in this video created by Flineo:

Casting a critical glance at Michelle Obama’s abortive attempt to woo women voters at the Palmer House this week in Chicago, Marin explains why Michelle’s bankrupt entreaties will fall on deaf ears. I quote Marin:

The Obama campaign has a woman problem. How big? How small? It’s not clear, but in a close election, small can be big.

Marin, in other words, acknowledges the schism in the Democratic Party, a schism, she correctly observes, that is a result of the disenchantment of a core constituency: women. Refer to them as small all you want, Democrats, but small is large in a competitive general election. And yes, size matters.

Marin continues:

You wouldn’t have known it from this mostly well-dressed, mostly well-heeled crowd. Many of the women, black and white, young and old, were early donors who gave money back when Barack Obama was a long shot, and they were gladly giving again now. A lovely lunch of organic chicken prepared by a renowned chef, Alice Waters, brought in somewhere between $400,000 and $700,000 for the Obama Victory fund.

Although visually diverse, the crowd of women attending the Women for Obama event are all wealthy; they are members of the haute bourgeoisie. This is in stark contrast to the many female Democrats the media has relegated to the penumbra. Marin, on the other hand, places one of these ignored women in the center of her column. I quote:

But the women Obama needs right now are the ones who do not dine downtown. They’re the ones who can’t afford organic anything, forced to choose between a gallon of gas and a gallon of milk because they can’t buy both on the same day.

Women like Sarah.

A few hours after leaving the “Women for Obama” luncheon, I ran into Sarah, not her real name. I’ve known her for a few years. A single mom, she free-lances, working as many jobs as she can to support two growing boys. She dreams of a permanent gig with benefits, but it’s still just a dream.

A 37-year-old Democrat, she is also a college grad and a news junkie who has watched this campaign like a hawk. She surprised me with her anger Tuesday, saying she’s voting for McCain.

To Sarah, Barack Obama is like the organic chicken at lunch. Sleek, elegant, beautifully prepared. Too cool.

At last a reporter highlights what everyone else suppresses. Obama is an elitist, Marin declares, and he must choose a different tack if he desires the support of women who have had to struggle their entire lives to receive an education and to raise their children. These women are the survivors of sexism, and they empathize with Hillary Clinton and all the other experienced women who have been forced to wait as the polished, groomed boy of little to no accomplishment is arbitrarily catapulted to the rung above her on the social and financial ladder. ”Too cool” is an apt characterization of Barack Obama: he is nothing more than a newfangled commodity, and the insidious glow that emanates from the burnished surface of this patriarchal blandishment does nothing more than contribute to the chilly environment too many working women have had to endure both inside and outside the sexist workplace.

Women whose dreams have been crushed continue to suffer, but Michelle and the donors with whom she cavorts nibble on organic chicken as they celebrate the destruction of Hillary Clinton. Because Marin understands this is not a winning strategy, she offers the Obamas a bit of advice. I quote Marin again:

They may need to try offering more macaroni and cheese.

In other words, the hopelessly aloof, indeed oblivious, Obamas must acknowledge the uncomfortable reality of their irrecoverable loss of the votes and the confidence of working women. Perhaps Michelle should ask the WAL-MART distributor to whose Board she was appointed if they have any boxes of macaroni and cheese mix to spare the family that spends $10,000 per annum on ballet lessons and summer camp. Perhaps it is time for the inhabitants of the Rezko mansion to learn how real Americans experience quotidian life. Perhaps Michelle Obama would understand working women if she spent less time at fashion shows with her husband’s slum landlord patron and more time with the ordinary women Carol Marin interviews.

If only reporters were as thorough and rigorous as Carol Marin of the Chicago Sun-Times.

The reception of Marin’s article can be reviewed at Memeorandum.

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