James makes a good point about this Newsweek article (the same one that seems to have bothered Philip Klein so much) that voters are not going to see Obama as “the Other” and most people aren’t going to think of the negative campaign against Obama as an exercise in “othering.”  What some of us in the ivory tower call othering and identity construction, more would simply call “not being able to identify with” such and such a candidate, or they would say that “he doesn’t share my values.”  Put in a less weaselly way, people will simply say, “He’s not one of us” or “he doesn’t belong.”  The irony is that most of the people whom we feel compelled to “other” are those who are, in some way, actually “one of us,” but who must for one reason or another be recast as an interloper or an alien.  What some people dismiss as the “narcissism of small differences” is actually the policing of very fine lines of identity; intra-party and internecine fights are more intense because more is at stake in the competition, namely the definition and direction of the group in the future, while a group can recover from, may even benefit from, a defeat at the hands of diametrically opposed foes.

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