Note: I've expanded on comments posted on another blogger's page here:
But that doesn't make them bigoted. It DOES however often lead to displacement. Yet when Obama calls displacement displacement, the media wants "us" to get up in arms about bigotry!
These latest comments have not been given a free pass at all . . .
Having grown up in rural agricultural areas and former steel cities I don't think Obama's remarks that people have turned from the potential of Washington and national fiscal policy to have real (positive) impact on their daily lives are offensive. I DO know these people, farm people and steel people, agricultural people and urban people, many people, many very good people -- white and black , old and young and middle-aged -- who have displaced real concerns about the economy and the disappearance of viable non-corporate ways of life and the decline of the real purchasing power of the dollar since the 1970s onto other issues that have "us" fighting one another rather than challenging the rise of the economic top five percent. Obama is by no means the first person to have observed that -- many academics in many disciplines have perceived this for some time. Compare it to ethnic conflicts within a colonized people who divide themselves further rather than organizing to change the balance of power against a colonizer. Ask who benefits most from disguising the fact that our interests are actually aligned. Don't miss the fact that the economic right strategically commandeered the values and religiosity of middle America for capital gains. Note that reflecting on this is not the same as rejecting the values and religion of this mythic-imaginary middle America!
I don't think it is at all "obvious" what we ought to do with Obama's thoughts on the displacement of economic anxieties onto social ones.
But in any case, the term "free pass" here [as a way of describing seeming low-levels of scrutiny for Obama] is of concern to me. I have *never* seen it used in a context that was not intentionally racially divisive itself (one would not say that a woman is getting a "free pass" as a woman in the same way that one would not say "gender card".)
In our house we might say that as a good orator (he is) and as a charismatic figure (he is) and as a viable racial minority candidate Obama has become a media darling and could seem to do no wrong for some time (which would be a fair criticism -- of our media!), BUT that time has passed
And not for the benefit of the electorate necessarily but because a prolonged democratic race makes for better news ratings. No one is getting a free pass anymore (one has only to look at CNN to know this is the case; certainly FOX is giving no one a free pass) because free passes don't suit capitalism.