Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Webb Part 2

Perhaps I wasn't being clear. Hopefully some time and some sleep have made my thoughts slightly more coherent, and concise.

I don't disagree with his concern for the poor and that aspect of his populism. However, if he's going to draw from that legacy, white populism and Jacksonian populism have some pretty nasty roots. Jackson became popular among white Americans through his slaughter of Native Americans.

My point is that white populism has consistently functioned by appealing to a white populace while oppressing or advocating for the oppression of people of color.

Webb clearly drew on this legacy in his speech and draws on this legacy in order to craft his political identity. However, he also raised some issues which reference the other xenophobic legacy of this identity in the speech. Through the indirect reference to American jobs being sent overseas. This makes me wary of Webb as someone whose outward appearance can easily be identified with the theft of jobs.

Webb seems like a fairly smart man, he knew what he was doing I'm sure. It's a successful way to be a politician. However it doesn't mean I have to get behind him.


disreputable bird said...

Sorry to be dense, but what’s wrong with not wanting American jobs to be sent overseas? It’s not just white Americans who are losing jobs to offshoring these days. Also, corporations transfer operations to other countries because lower pay scales increase their profits, which means they’re getting rich at the expense of American workers and may be exploiting foreign ones.

Certainly people worldwide deserve opportunities to be employed, but there can be a downside to offshoring for them, too. Sweatshops in the Northern Marianas were so awful that a Republican, Frank Murkowski, introduced legislation to apply controls, although DeLay, allying with Abramoff, who had been hired to lobby for the Northern Marianas government, killed it in the House. In that case, garment companies, Marianas government officials, lobbyists, and congressmen were benefiting while doing nothing good for either Americans or Mariana Islanders. Recently, I heard that twerp Patrick McHenry trying to exempt American Samoa from the minimum wage increase the Democrats just passed, but Barney Frank shut him down. These places are U.S. territories, so Congress has some control, but I wonder what goes on in other countries.

At the same time, I also wonder what American workers would have to do to make themselves competitive. Are they sabotaging themselves by demanding a certain level of pay, benefits, and working conditions? What, and how much of it, should they be willing to give up? Is it right to even ask about this, or is it a new reality of the global economy?

So you know I haven't really figured it out. I just have questions.

lovelesscynic said...

well, there's nothing wrong with it in and of itself. But the theft of American jobs is often a lead in to anti-immigrant sentiment. Given Webb's unabashed "Jacksonian" populist roots this makes me somewhat wary. It's easy to mobilize a white working class populace against something. And immigrants or foreigners are a really easy target.

Whether Webb would do this is somewhat debatable. However, given some of the things he's said about affirmative action, although I've read that these statements, like his "horny women" comment have been debated, make me again somewhat suspicious of him.