Sunday, April 13, 2008

'Bitter' Pill to Swallow

Boy oh boy did Barack step in it now. He told a group of dreaded Latte Liberals in San Francisco the following in response to a question on why he wasn't doing better in rural Pennsylvania:

"So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they 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."

See that! He's a latte-drinking liberal who thinks people in rural areas are hicks that don't care about the larger issues and stick to their guns and gays. He called rural voters dumb and he clearly doesn't understand middle America!

The fallout has been severe and constant in the chattering class and only 9 days from the Pennsylvania Primay. The Clinton camp has been hitting hard and relentlessly on this. The McCain/GOP camp is loaded for bear and is likely to keep these statements on loop till November.

Obama and his team are on spin control of the highest order.

Its much ado about nothing. Take another look at the quote. If you remove the word bitter he accurately described the statistical voting trends of rural america for the last two decades. These voter dynamics were explicitly taken advantage of by "the architect" Karl Rove during both Bush campaigns. Obama spoke to a truth among our electorate and now he is getting hammered for it. Why? Well there are a few reasons, he was speaking in San Francisco (otherwise known as the liberal-mecca), and his "they become bitter" sentiment infers that rather than use their head these voters choose specific things to "cling" to. It can be read as insulting, and even if at first blush voters saw the statement and weren't offended Obama's opponents from both sides are right there to explain to voters exactly how they had been insulted.

I find it troubling that a candidate openly and accurately describes a voting trend and proceeds to get hammered not just by his opponents (to be expected) but in the media. Don't believe the voting trend? Take a look at this Transcript from a recent episode of PBS's program NOW. Interviewing a couple angry about their economic lot in life, but voting against their economic interest because of moral and religious conviction. Being called a single-issue voter or a "values voter" may have an insulting connotation, but there is political truth in these voting trends.

So what's my recommendation to Camp Obama? He should now simply camp out in rural Pennsylvania and spend days on end in town hall meetings, answering questions and giving responses, taking it right between the eyes from the folks he supposedly insulted, and explaining himself. Much the way he did after the Wright scandal.

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