Senator Obama, you stand accused of being an out-of-touch, arugula-eating Ivy League elitist who couldn't convert a one-pin spare if the presidency depended on it. I
Now, keep in mind the problem as Fineman sees it as he moves along with the solution. First, let's take a view of something else Fineman says...
I don't have a dog in this fight (despite what Hillary Clinton supporters sometimes think of me)Clearly, by this statement, he does. That pony appears to be either of the Democratic candidates. An objective journalist wouldn't have a pony in either party. Instead, Fineman doesn't care who wins as long as it is a Democrat.
Fineman then proceeds to list seven things that Obama should do. Here is the first.
You are from where you chose to be from, which is the South Side of Chicago.
Now, Fineman clearly doesn't know where Obama is really from. He isn't merely from the "South Side of Chicago". Obama is from Hyde Park in Chicago. Hyde Park is home to the University of Chicago. The University of Chicago is the Ivy League of the Midwest. Now, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I have spent many a night at the U of C going to many of the movies they screen, for free usually. They are usually a good time. I personally enjoy checking out an old Cassavetes flick among academics and students. It's a good night when you tap the person in front of you and proceed to have coffee and discuss the film, philosophy, and life at the local coffee shop. Let's just not pretend that Hyde Park is something it isn't. This is home to yuppies, students and academics. There is nothing wrong with this but Hyde Park doesn't sell your image as an every man.
Yes, the South Side of Chicago is home mostly to neighborhoods full of abject poverty: Englewood, Woodlawn, Austin. There are two that stand out: Bridgeport and Hyde Park. Bridgeport is where the mayor, Richard Daley, makes his home, and Hyde Park is where the top University in the Midwest makes its home. The mayor knows perfectly well that he needs to protect his own home turf and the turf of the Ivy League of the Midwest.
Hyde Park is a gorgeous neighborhood and frankly most Americans would be overjoyed to make their home there, however Hyde Park is not going to help Obama get over his elitist image. Hyde Park defines elitist.
Based on this faulty assumption Fineman proceeds to make several other recommendations related to this. For instance, he says this...
It's not the Ivy League
NO, it is the IVY LEAGUE OF THE MIDWEST.
Then, he says a few more things...
WELCOME US TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Obama can welcome everyone to Hyde Park. I just don't see how the folks in rural Pennsylvania will be impressed by seeing a neighborhood full of Brownstones and upscale condos.
He then starts speaking in gibberish...
DEFEND THE CITIES. You cannot accept the premise—successfully pushed by Republicans since the days of Ronald Reagan—that our big metropolitan areas somehow aren't in the "mainstream.
But the whole point of America is that there are many mainstreams
If Republicans pushed such an ideology I missed it. Fineman is right that there is no mainstream, but frankly there is not even a mainstream within a city. I live in a neighborhood called LakeView. It may be more elitist and upscale than Hyde Park. Yet, I am only eight miles away from Englewood which is one of the poorest areas in the country. Be that as it may, I don't see what point he is trying to make. Chicago is no less monolithic than the small towns that Obama painted with one brush. Is Fineman really suggesting that he try to explain one unfortunate incident of stereotyping by stereotyping an urban area?
Fineman then suggests that Obama: ACCEPT THE THEATRICS, UNDERSTAND ICONS AND SYMBOLS, KNOW WHAT YOU ARE UP AGAINST, LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN AS FAST AS YOU CAN...
This is all perfectly good and well, however also so nebulous and vague that while it sounds good on paper it will mean nothing in a campaign. If Fineman really understand symbolism himself, he would know what sort of symbolism the home of the Ivy League of the Midwest is.
All of this is the sort of nonsense that only an out of touch inside the beltway partisan that pretends to be objective could heep on a candidate. If I were Barack Obama, I would take Fineman's suggesting and put them all where they belong...in the circular filing cabinet.