How odd that Pennsylvania got set apart in time from all the other primaries. What luck for Clinton. All this time for something to go wrong for Obama and for exploiting it — like that awful quote everyone's talking about. From the article at the first link:
[D]uring a private meeting with California donors, [Obama said] that economic bitterness had driven some working class people to "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."That's an excellent rephrasing of a damaging statement. But I must say that the original statement sounded like a typical law-school-liberal remark. I think it was quite sincere, and I'm rather sure he believed he was being admirably intellectual and raising politics to a new, higher level. Within a liberal law school environment, that statement would be heard as a thoughtful, compassionate insight. Some of your colleagues might think you were excessively, squishily tolerant of what they see as ignorant, bigoted people, but I don't think they'd push you to be more understanding of the alien culture you were observing.
Obama modulated that assessment Friday night before an audience in Terre Haute:
"People end up voting on issues like guns and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. They take refuge in their faith and their community, and their family, and the things they can count on. But they don't believe they can count on Washington."
He added: "People are fed up, they are angry, they're frustrated and they're bitter. And they want to see a change in Washington."
ADDED: John Hinderacker says:
Barack Obama's arrogance has been evident for some time, and it's no shock, perhaps, to learn that that he shares this bigoted opinion, common among urban liberals, of people who live in "small towns." But to actually express it, in public, at a campaign event, is stunningly stupid.Ed Morrissey says:
The matter-of-fact style in which he spoke this shows the unthinking contempt he has for people he has never engaged — an acceptance of stereotypes without questioning them that shows his own bigotry, not to mention foolishness and poor judgment.
...Obama only really performs well with a script. Once he has to speak extemporaneously, not only does he fare worse as an orator, but he tends to get lost and make unforced errors.
Morrissey seems to think the main problem is that Obama is young and unseasoned. So he'd be better if only he learned how to disguise his real thoughts. I mean look at Hillary here, exploiting Obama's gaffe:
Is that better? A hammy politician buttering you up?
MORE: Glenn Reynolds links to an old Onion piece with Al Gore campaigning in Pennsylvania like this:
"Over the past few days, I have traveled all over your state and met many of you. And what has impressed me most is that no matter where I have gone, my reaction has been the same: 'Oh, God, get me the fuck out of this dump,'" said Gore, who alternately referred to the Keystone State's 12 million residents as "animals" and "ghouls."Read the whole thing.
Glenn collects links here. I especially like Mickey Kaus:
I used to think working class voters had conservative values because they were bitter about their economic circumstances--welfare and immigrants were "scapegoats," part of the false consciousness that would disappear when everyone was guaranteed a good job at good wages. Then I left college. ...Obama is doomed if people come to see him as a leftist. Is he really one, or is he just used to circulating among people who casually say things like that to win favor with each other? If that's all it is, then it's not a Category II Kinsley Gaffe, and we get back to the more mundane concern about his inexperience — his lack of seasoning.
Because Obama's comments are clearly a Category II Kinsley Gaffe -- in which the candidate accidentally says what he really thinks -- it will be hard for Obama to explain away. [He could say he was tired and it was late at night?--ed But he was similarly condescending in his big, heartfelt, well-prepared "race speech" when he explained white anger over welfare and affirmative action as a displacement of the bitterness that comes when whitesare anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition ...Obama's new restatement confirms the Marxist Deskwork interpretation of the race speech, removing any honest doubt as to his actual attitude.
Rather than trying to spin his way out, wouldn't it be better for Obama to forthrightly admit his identity? Let's have a national dialogue about egghead condescension!]