Ken AshfordElection 2006Leave a Comment

I haven’t been paying attention to politics, but I can’t seem to get my head around this whole Obama ‘bitter" thing.

For those of you who (like me) don’t have a program to the latest controversy, apparently Obama was speaking at a San Fran fundraiser a few days ago, and opined that "bitterness" is the reason small town voters in Pennsylvania "cling" to their religion, guns, and anti-immigrant/anti-trade sentiments.

This caused both the Clinton and McCain campaigns to assert that Obama was being "elitist", and Clinton also took the opportunity to peddle her pro-gun bona fides (of which she has none).

I think Obama probably made a poor choice of words, something he readily admitted to the Winston-Salem Journal:

“What I meant was something that I don’t think any of us can argue with, which is that people feel abandoned, after 20 or 25 years of plants closing, jobs not coming back. People feel like Washington’s not listening to them, and as a consequence, they find that they can only rely on the traditions and the things that have been important to them for generation after generation. Faith. Family. Traditions like hunting. And they get frustrated.”

O.K.  Sounds right to me.  Don’t know how that is an insult, or even "elitist".  In fact, it’s been said before (just using better words).

Here’s Bill Clinton in his book.

"If [Republicans] could cut funding for Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment, middle-class Americans would see fewer benefits from their tax dollars, feel more resentful paying taxes, and become even more receptive to their appeals for tax cuts and their strategy of waging campaigns on divisive social and cultural issues like abortion, gay rights, and guns."

And here’s Jim Webb in the WSJ Op-Ed.

The politics of the Karl Rove era were designed to distract and divide the very people who would ordinarily be rebelling against the deterioration of their way of life. Working Americans have been repeatedly seduced at the polls by emotional issues such as the predictable mantra of "God, guns, gays, abortion and the flag" while their way of life shifted ineluctably beneath their feet.

What was Obama saying that was so different?