In Search of the NASCAR Dad [Greg Pollowitz]
Kathryn posted that Senator Obama is considering sponsoring a car in the next NASCAR race in the Poconos. For starters, he’s sponsoring a Toyota:
Ken Schrader will drive the entry, a Toyota, at Pocono for BAM, which is outside the top 35 in owner points and must qualify for the race on speed. The team has run just once since Martinsville due to sponsorship concerns, and has just six top-10 finishes in 167 career starts in the Cup series dating back to ’02. According to sources, the team will stick with Toyota after making a switch from Dodge back in the spring.
The team has raced only once since March 30 in Martinsville for lack of sponsorship money and the car must qualify at Pocono on speed. BAM Racing has only six top-10 showings in 167 starts since 2002.
And three, the NY Times tried to define the “NASCAR dad” back in 2004 without success. The opener:
FIRST race of the year, the 500 at Daytona, I’m standing next to Nascar dad for the anthem. Takes off his sunglasses, holds his hand over his heart. He’s a big man, 40’s, 6-foot-3, a gut-sprung 225, biker leather head to toe and a beard on him like ZZ Rasputin.
Comes to the end of our national song, 250,000 people shouting and applauding, flags snapping everywhere, and a sound rumbles low up out of the ovation and comes down out of the sky and breaks out of the clouds like a thunderclap. It’s the pre-race flyover, four F-16’s with the burners lit, 200 feet off the deck at 400 miles an hour and the crowd goes crazy. The sky cracks and the smell of jet exhaust fouls the grandstands. I, sophisticated tourist sarcast, turn to Nascar dad, cock my eyebrow and shout, ”Our tax dollars at work, huh?”
He looks down at me through the beard, blue-eyed and red-faced in the heat. ”Damn straight,” he says, ”damn straight,” as the tears roll down his cheeks.
And the conclusion:
Political cynics on both sides of the aisle, the self-described ”cognitive elite,” are pretty sure they know what Nascar Dad, the caricature, wants. All Nascar dad wants is another beer, they’ll tell you, and an Earnhardt in Victory Lane. Nascar dad wants a 56-inch plasma flat screen. Nascar dad wants to be left alone during the James Bond marathon. Nascar dad wants a brand new 4-by-4 crew cab pickup with a V-10 and the heavy-duty towing package and a 200 mile-an-hour speed limit on the interstate. Nascar dad wants a happy hour booth at Hooters, and a double order of buffalo wings. Nascar dad wants another shot of Jim or Jack or Johnny, another week on disability, another satellite dish, another four-color neck tattoo of a showroom stock ’68 GTO.
And that’s true, as far as it goes. But Nascar dad wants some other stuff, too.
Nascar dad wants not to be talked down to. Nascar dad wants not to be told what he thinks. Nascar dad wants not to be pandered to by candidates or condescended to by operatives or deconstructed by eggheads and television’s talking haircuts.
Nascar dad wants a political process, a president, a government, that make him feel the same galvanizing, heartbreaking pride he feels when he looks at his flag. Nascar dad wants to be moved, inspired, encouraged. Nascar dad wants to be put in touch with his better angels.
Nascar dad wants to know that all his hard work, all his effortful virtue and his diligent vigilance, all his ancient bravery and his bone-deep devotion, all his canny intelligence and his remarkable ingenuity, all his abiding love of country, and all the struggle in his living and his dying, is in service of something much greater than himself.
All that, and a weekend of topless karaoke at the track. These things are not mutually exclusive. As I said, Nascar dad is a mighty complicated man. Look far enough past the ”bikini inspector” hats and the rainbow suspenders, the clichés and the rhetoric and the race to catalog the constituency, and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of him. He’s right there, in the grandstands at Daytona, one huge hand over his heart for the anthem and standing razor straight.
Yeah. An ad on a Toyota oughtta do it.
By Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | 7/11/2008
Jesse Jackson has always been known for his oratory. This week was no different, though for once his words revealed the content of his character and the temperament of the modern leftist warrior.
Over a hot Fox News mic, the good reverend whispered his assessment of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. “Barack been [sic.] talking down to black people,” he said. “I want to cut his nuts out.”
Seeking to explain his remark, Jackson parried, “My appeal was for the moral content of his message to not only deal with the personal and moral responsibility of black males [who father children out of wedlock], but to deal with the collective moral responsibility of government and the public policy which would be a corrective action for the lack of good choices that often led to their irresponsibility.”
One can only speculate why Jesse Jackson would be enraged by a speech directed at absentee fathers of illegitimate children. But it is not Obama who condescends to blacks when he calls on deadbeat dads to live up to their responsibilities. It is rather Jackson who patronizes blacks, denying their inherent self-control and calling illegitimacy “a structural crisis” that is ultimately “the collective moral responsibility of government.”
Had these been Jesse Helms’ dying words, the media would not have missed their sheer violence and historical precedent. The “Strange Fruit” dotting the gallant South had often been castrated as part of the mob’s “lynchcraft.” In the 1960s, the Klan issued very real threats of castration against integrationists.
Yet today the far-Left is the home of the most noxious racism. Further explicating himself, Jackson told a reporter Obama “is cutting off his you-know-what with black people.” Polls show Obama receiving 90 percent of black support. Yet there festers a continual debate – exclusively the province of the Left and of black racists – that asks, in the words of Time magazine, “Is Obama Black Enough?” Although the Left assailed Rush Limbaugh for parroting the term, it was the L.A. Times that first coined the phrase “Obama the ‘Magic Negro.’” At the heart of the question is whether the biracial son of a Kenyan father raised in Hawaii and Indonesia truly shared “the African-American experience” (as though there were but one uniform experience of American blacks). CBS’s Steve Kroft famously quizzed the candidate, “You grew up white…yet at some point you decided that you were black?” Salon’s Debra Dickerson even inveighed Obama is not “politically and culturally black.” Other black Democrats have revealed the seedy racialist undertones Obama faces. Cinque Henderson played the miscegenation card in a piece for The New Republic, writing, “Had Barack married a white woman, his candidacy would’ve never gotten off the ground with black people.” Clarence Thomas, a hero of the Right, knows this pain all too well; not only did he marry a white woman, but he dared frame his political views around another legal compass, permanently disqualifying him as “politically and culturally black.” Jesse Jackson’s rhetorical separation of Obama from “black people” should highlight the Left’s obsessive anthropological navel-gazing.
More importantly, it should underscore the Left’s viciousness, very much a corporate character trait. Rev. “Hymietown” has exposed his fallen side before. However, his seeming bloodlust – punctuated on video by a head-thrust and hand gesture – is a shared quality of the Left.
Commenting of the Jackson flap at the execrable Huffington Post, Dan Sweeney fondly reminisced:
A couple months ago, I wrote a blog entry here at HuffPo that ended by calling for the public castration of Grover Norquist. The comments that the good readers of the HuffingtonPost left at that blog entry were strongly approving, especially of the final line.
The truly unforgivable part of Rev. Jackson’s words is not what he said, but whom he said it about…Had Rev. Jackson said he wanted to cut the nuts off of Dick Cheney, we’d all be having a good laugh about it right now.
In fact, in November 2006, Huffington Post columnist Tony Hendra offered “A Thanksgiving Prayer for Dick Cheney’s Heart – and a Few Other Favorite Things.” The Left repeatedly gloated over Tony Snow’s progressively worsening cancer.
When no one is yet ill, the Left often openly vents its bloodlust. In October 2004, UK Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker asked, “John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. – where are you now that we need you?” While protesting the War on Terror, some leftists carried signs proclaiming, “Bush is the disease. Death is the cure.” Indeed, an entire film has been made – and favorably reviewed – imagining the assassination of President George W. Bush.
Nevertheless, Jackson’s comments, and their implicit revelation of the Left’s nature, will not be explained that way; a complicit media will see to that. Instead, the denunciation comes as a godsend to Barack Obama, diverting attention from his most recent gaffe, a pompous (and hypocritical) instruction, “You need to make sure your child can speak Spanish.” (What if we don’t want our children to have to speak Spanish in their own country?) Jackson’s threat aids the two-week-long, cosmetic-if-insincere reinvention of the nation’s most “liberal” senator as a centrist. In a grand turnabout, Sister Souljah repudiated him. Seeing the fallout, the DailyKos observed, “The whole thing looks set up and phony.”
On the contrary, there should be no doubt Rev. Jackson’s frustration, racialism and anger were all-too real.